There are several Mexican restaurants in Madrid (lucky for me) and some honorable mentions are Rosa Negra for their delicious (and crisis-friendly) margaritas and gigantic portions, Taquería Mi Ciudad for a large variety tacos including rajas con queso. Chirrión does a wonderful buffet and the Chef truly does know his stuff: the salsas and variety of dishes are incredible. If you’re in the mood for a plate of nachos large enough to feed a small army, Maria Bonita Taco Bar is the place to go. Okay, I’ll let you in on one more find, and then I’ll digress. Promise. Takos al Pastor, there’s a post about them on our site, is a wonderfully casual spot in the city center where you can kick back with a few friends and indulge in finger-licking-good tacos, quesadillas and ice cold drinks to wash it all down with. The prices will make this night out not only fun, but also guilt free. Cheers to that! My wallet thanks you in advance.
What an intro! If you can’t already tell, I like Mexican food a teeny, weeny bit. Can you blame me? I’m from Chicago! I grew up eating elote and homemade pozole and menudo. My palate craves the spicy, savory goodness at least twice a month; so naturally, I’ve covered a lot of ground on the Tex-Mex scene in Madrid. I’ll let you in on a little secret: there is an untapped gold mine of foodie heaven that seemingly gets overlooked in this city: mercados. Mercado San Miguel makes it into almost every guidebook; however, it’s simply the tip of the iceberg! These markets are so much more than grocery stores, they’re neighborhood staples and meeting places, and as of recent, they’re full blown restaurants. What a genius concept!
I’ll take three bottles of wine, and I’ll have one right now… yes, right here. Then turn 30 degrees and by the perfect accompanying cheese and olives from the neighboring vendor. Mercado San Ildefonso, Mercado San Antón, Mercado, Mercado de Motores and one of my personal favorite, Mercado Antón Martín.
Alright Danni, how do Mexican restaurants and Mercado Antón Martín relate? Well, my friends, a new puesto or booth opened and it’s a keeper! Cutzamala is a Mexican restaurant with dishes that make my heart smile such as chilaquiles, tacos al pastor and aguas frescas like hibiscus infused drinks and nachos to snack on. What makes this place different? Um, who else used to take advantage of family trips to Sam’s Club to eat all the samples? Raise those hands, people! There’s something wonderfully exciting and soothing about eating dinner in a market. I feel like my food didn’t have to travel too far to get to my plate. Each day the owner and chef buy their ingredients from their neighbors working the stands to the left and right. They literally start from scratch daily in order to bring the freshest ingredients to your plate. There is without a doubt, a sense of solidarity because they’re supporting local vendors. If that’s not enough, the people watching is (read: creeping) wonderful. Since Mercado Antón Martín is more a mercado del barrio, which means, not a tourist hot spot, while you sip your agua de jamaica and munch on your cochinita, you can get lost in that electric energy of men, women and families doing their shopping and the vendors, yipping and yapping, ever so proud of their produce, vying for their attention and patronage. It’s magnetic.
So mom, you were wrong, people do in fact come to the market to have dinner!
Danni, Community Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.