Recently opened in the fall of 2015, the Mercado Merced in Malaga is another star in the constellation that is the city’s recently burgeoning foodie scene. The best known of the Malaga food markets is the Mercado de Atarazanas located in the old Moorish arsenal building close to the harbour. The Mercado Merced is a smaller and more curated affair. Based on the world-famous markets in Barcelona and Madrid, the Mercado Merced straddles the line between upscale deli, local convenience and tourist attraction.
The Mercado Merced is incredibly convenient for tourists because it is located just across the street from the birthplace of the city’s most famous son, Pablo Picasso. The Mercado Merced is also located off the Plaza de la Merced (market square) which is one of the city’s main squares. It is a short walk from the city’s pedestrianised centre which has attractions such as the old colosseum ruins, the Picasso museum and the Cathedral of Malaga.
The Plaza de la Merced was a public market place in the 15th century so it’s only fitting that the Mercado Merced is located nearby. In recent years though the Mercado had hit a slump in trade and was rejuvenated to attract local foodies. With a giant obelisk honouring some forgotten politician in the middle, the Plaza de la Merced is surrounded by cafes perfect for people watching. For good typical Spanish food though I suggest you hit the Mercado Merced itself.
The market has a mix of traditional vendors selling meat, fish and groceries as well as tapas-style places where you can sit to eat and to drink. The tall tables are arranged with high chairs so you can either stand around or sit down. We arrived during siesta time so we had no problem finding a table (and plenty of vendors that were open). I can imagine it is busy though during regular trading hours just by the quality of the food and the hipster ambience.
The tapas range from traditional favourites like tortilla to international fusion like Korean BBQ salmon. My daughter loved the chicken sate. Although delicious, it didn’t really taste like sate as I know it – not much peanut flavour and heavier on the white mayonnaise-type sauce.
There are many family-friendly choices from the croquettes at La Croqueteria Gourmet to the mini-burgers. You will find something that will make everyone happy (even the fussy ones!) as well as keeping the foodies in ecstasy.
This stall belongs to a local city bar, Antigua Casa de Guardia which sells the sweet wine that the area is known for. Established in the mid-19th century, the bar is the oldest in Malaga and produces its stock from its own vineyard. If you aren’t into sweet wine, fear not, there are lots of beer and wine sold at other stalls.
The Mercado Merced in Malaga is located at Calle Merced 1 on a corner off the Plaza de la Merced. It is open 6 days a week (closed Sundays) from 11AM. I highly recommend it as a good place to stop off for a bite to eat and to people-watch. It is a less intense setting also than the Central Market at Sao Paolo in Brasil. The Spanish laid-back attitude means no one is trying to sell you their wares while you are simply browsing.
The smaller more intimate setting also meant it did not turn off fussy-eaters like my daughter. She ran like a bat out of hell from the Boqueria in Barcelona (meat everywhere! the smell!!) and we all had to trudge grudgingly after her. At Mercado Merced in Malaga at least all of us were able to sit down and eat well.
This post is linked up with City Tripping.