Friday, 11 November 2011

New Madrid Food Market

Main access to the food market
When I finish my KitchenVoyage blog, I know already that my next blog will be about Madrid, but by now I will stick with the food and travel subject and I am going to share our last experience in the brand new Chueca Fresh Food Market.  Its well known that in whole of  Spain the food markets are a culinary heaven. Madrid the capital have several of them, for me Las Ventas and Las Maravillas are the best. The old Market of San Miguel in the city centre is a tourist trap, with expensive fresh products (even though the quality is very good) and un-tasty tapas has moved away the locals so the market has lost  the atmosphere and the rhythm. San Miguel was a total failure of the local government to give a city and the tourists  a place like the worldwide famous market of La Boqueria in Barcelona.

Fruit & Vegetables in the Market
After a big delay finally the Market of San Anton located in the heart of the popular gay neighbourhood of Chueca has opened. All  these years that the market was closed due to the refurbishment the neighbours (including myself) were  afraid of the worst, first the new façade was just a awful brick wall. Then time to time we  heard just bad news. That they were going to build a lot of parking spaces bringing even more traffic to the tiny street of Chueca, a upper brand supermarket and not many food stalls. And after the opening of the mentioned San Miguel Market resignation was the mood between us.
But last month when I travelled to Madrid and with the Supermarket already open at it full capacity I have a great surprise, despite the exterior façade the interior is just a gem!
In the first level is the upper brand supermarket, now very welcome because at the same time the refurbishment was taking, another popular prices super- market has pop-up in the area, so now you have all the options where  5 years ago there weren´t  any.

Octavio spanish hams
In the second level are the food stalls or shops in this case. Few of the old shops have survived but the food display and the quality has really improved . Octavio, the ham shop always has offered great quality Spanish ham at very good price and I am very glad its still there. The fruit shops look fantastic and very appealing to consume fruit and vegetables. Special mention to the new beef burger shop with high Spanish and even Argentinian beef.  The fish shop offer live lobster and crabs with the best fish you can get in Spain like the rest fresh food market around the city.
Still in the same level you can find one of the best Sushi bars of the capital, fresh baked bread and stop in the wine bar with a short but very interesting wine menu and you must ask for some of the croquettes with several filling like a tapa.
Other gourmet shops are in the same level where you can have some snacks and tapas, even one was selling paella but don’t look very good. For good Paella in the area you can go to La Barraca or La Pella de la reina.

La Cocina de San Anton main room

Summer Salad

In the third level is the restaurant with terrace (on the terrace is allowed  smoking). We went twice and twice was full house,  you need to book for get a table, that for me is bit annoying and go against the market spirit.  The restaurant managed for the restaurant group 5 Jotas have a smart look, and great views from one side you have view over the Chueca tail roof, and for the interior to the whole market. The great thing is that you can choose your fish/meat or another product from the market and they cook for you. Also they offer to you an economic daily menu with starter, main and desert for 12 euros. The main menu have interesting ideas also, but unfortunately nothing taste really great, you can see they use some good product from the market but in the kitchen you can see is no much skills. For me the best dish was the summer salad, really fresh and a very good dressed. Then the croquettes were just bad, the steak totally ruined and the pork chop dry. Even worst was the dessert, the fruit salad I am 99% sure was canned.  Also we saw some another dishes rejected in another tables.  Is clear the management is not good and the waitress look  unhappy and with attitude (even this last thing is common in Madrid). I really hope that very soon they fix the issues because the 5 Jotas brand used to be good because at the moment a lot of people is coming in just for the restaurant location but I can see no other reason as to why the room was full.

Five things to do around the market.

Carlota Wine Shop (Above) La cabeza bien amueblada (Left)

1. Have a beer with snack in the Chueca Square.  Here is where the gay community meet to have a good time, but also is a space used by families and tourists.
2. Gourmet Shopping. If the market wasn’t enough for you, just in the corner Carlota a new wine shop has opened. In this tiny place you can find a good range of wine picked directly from exclusive winemakers, price and quality are guaranteed like good service. Also you can go to La Chinata oleoteca and buy the best olive oil you can get at the best prices for cooking or four yourself

Pomme Sucre

MagaSabd Sandwich Shop

3. Walking around the Chueca Street is a great way to have a good time.  Even you have plenty of places for where to walk maybe the easiest to not get lost but not less attractive is Barquillo Street. Once named the sound street for the quantity of  music sound shop and after a little dark era now is becoming a nice street to listen music, have a cocktail, buy one of my favourite t-shirt brand, going to the theatre, buy expensive clothes or have a coffee with delicious cakes at Pomme Sucre, desert designers. Yes all of that in 4 street long without mention the architecture.
4. Have lunch or dinner. Outside the market still plenty of option to have a good meal. In the area you will find a lot of Mexican restaurants with good quality, (Madrid is the European city with most Mexican restaurant in Europe). Then Bazaar has become a classic since they have opened. An attractive two level restaurant with Asian Mediterranean food a very good price. For wine with tapas the Vinoteca franchise still a good option.
5. Get a haircut. Yes! Chueca is a trendy upper neighbourhood and have plenty of very good hairdressers that really can change your style. I recommend La cabeza bien amueblada where Noe is a magician with the scissors and always going to get the more fashionable look, but also Ivan is going to help you with your home decoration and show you exclusive clothes from unique Spanish designers, here is everything for change or refresh your look. When you finish just ask them to point you to MagaSand a place where you can get the best sandwich in whole Madrid (I really mean it) at the same time you can read your favourite magazines.

Where to Stay.

Views from the Ada Palace Hotel
Oscar Hotel
Situated in Cheuca area of Madrid this is a relatively new contemporary hotel.
It has a cool funky lobby and the design carries through to the dining room and the bedrooms.
Bedrooms are uncluttered and minimalist but let down by the rather pokey bathrooms.
On the plus side the hotel has an amazing roof terrace with bar and swimming pool and is one of The places to be seen in Madrid

Ada Palace
Just off Gran Via at the Cheuca end this is a new 4 star hotel converted from a turn of the 20th century building.
The reception area  reached by a staircase from street level is on the small side as is the lift to the bedroom floors but this is due to the design of the original building..
However this is a well appointed hotel with a stunning dining room, bar and terrace looking out over Gran Via.
Some bedrooms at the front  have balconies but these rooms by virtue of the fact that they are on a busy  road can be noisy as was the air conditioning in our room but overall this is a pleasant and central and well priced venue.


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