50 years ago, at Santa Isabel number 5, opened the Antón Martín market. What began as a market for supplies has grown to accommodate two true gastronomical treasures (and the third one of the most emblematic flamenco schools in Madrid, love of God).
Through its corridors are the parishioners of life, looking for fresh produce, and lovers of gastronomy who come to the call of national and international food stands. We let ourselves be carried away by the second voice inside our heads and we travel through a market that preserves its charm over the years and the good taste of a well made kitchen.
We start sweeping through the house with the one they call “the bar of the market”. An authentic place where people eat breakfast first thing in the morning and stop for an appetizer, in which they are not missing a good tripe (specialty of the bar) or their variant tortilla. Competing with them is the potato alioli, the meatballs, the croquettes, the peppers stuffed with meat… A whole menu of dishes that honors the tradition even in the way of taking them: supported by the bar because it has no tables, that makes for its gypsy position.
Even without leaving our borders, we come across Donde Sánchez, a gourmet corner where connoisseurs will find the perfect appetizer. The selection of wines is well worth a good tasting. Written on a chalkboard, you will find small bottles of wines as special as those produced in Morocco. The wines, as well as the vermouth and the wine cellars, are accompanied by pork selected like the artichokes in olive oil, the cockles and mussels natural from Barbate. A plus: everything you try you can buy, it is also a gourmet shop.
Being a market, there had to be a pure product (although they all have this feature). This is El Tarantín, destination for oyster lovers and property of Lucía, an expert opener. It’s their king product, brought from Galicia and France and opens them like the one who opens a mussel. It also has other seafood such as Galician scallops, foie of cod, red tuna tartar… A small list of raw materials selected to eat with wine and champagne.
To recover the Austrian stews with a new point of view, that is the objective of La Gastro Chigre. Here you can find an Austrian pot stuffed with some gyozas, a poor rice with potato cream, wild boar sausage and fried cabbage; a vegetable cake with La Peral cheese and cider-roasted apple jam; and even a stew that Austria itself is missing, the pot of chestnuts and rabanal with chorizo, a typical dish made in Autumn when instead of buying potatoes, the people would use the chestnuts they collected in the field.
We left Spain to delve deep into Japan. This typical Japanese tavern is at the top of diners, many of them Asian, which is definitely a good sign. They have all the sushi you can imagine, ramen, yakisoba… But what is most striking is the chirashi, a bowl of sushi rice covered with tuna, salmon and school fish; of tuna, black truffle and ontama or flambé salmon with spicy mayonnaise and salmon roe. They also have a second dish for the take away option.
In Italy, we believe we know everything until they put us in front of their authentic products. Benito Aperitivos has proposed to bring the best of their land in the form of Italian antipasti (with Salami from Milan, authentic bologna, dry tomatoes, real buffalo mozzarella Caprese…) and Italian cheese tables, which mix varieties of hot and sweet Gorgonzola, truffled Pecorino and Roman and Sicilian Scamorza, among others, with peaks of Puglia (with capers and rosemary) and Sardinian bread. Everything bathed with wine and sparkling wine from different areas of Italy, sweet and fruity, perfect for open mouth.
After the appetizer, and without moving from Italy, we turn to the main dishes. In Fiaschetteria La Saletta they specialize in all types of pizzas, pizza and calzones, handmade from start to finish with authentic Italian products. But without doubt what draws attention is the Porchetta, a typical dish from the center of Italy consisting of a roll of pork covered in bacon, that is baked and served cut into fillets. They make it right there and it’s a show to see the whole piece (not to mention try).
We cross the pond with the destination Mexico, eating in Cutzamala. In this tavern that boasts the best guacamole in Madrid, they eat nachos and quesadillas that work well as a starter, but it’s imperative to try the tacos. They are made in a traditional way and with authentic Mexican tortillas. They have carnitas, cochineal pibil, al pastor, chicken ink, beef birria and even Acapulco fish. They are recommended for soaking a real Michelada and Margaritas.
Here the typical street food dishes are mixed with those of dim sum, a roast beef bagel and Thai chicken with other traditional ones like Cordoba Salmorejo, the black pudding, the mushroom risotto and even some Austrian fabes with clams. The Tragantúa market is the most eclectic place – all others have a kitchen bounded to the borders of its owner – although its base is certainly traditional.
In Majo’s Food one can get anything from crepes to some arejas, or a tower of eggplant, tomato, cheese and pesto. This is what happens when the owners are Italian and Colombian. But it certainly deserves the title of the sweet market. First of all for its sweet crepes stuffed with all kinds of chocolate, fruit, creams, marmalades… and secondly for some spectacular milkshakes (chocolate, Oreo, apple, brownie, cookies, banana) served in cold glass jars.
It is vegetarian ethnic, so it is defined, since it uses typical recipes of South America with native products in vegetarian format, with the option of vegan. They have vegetable creams with seaweed, cauliflower curry, chiribía cream, etc. But it also stands out for its desserts, a series of homemade vegetarian cakes that change each day. They make carrot, banana, chocolate… They triumph for dessert and a snack with their coffee from Nicaragua.
Text: María G. Aguado
Photos: Nacho Alcalde Ruiz