I love going to mercados. Especially when I'm going solo. And Mercado de San Anton, Mercado de San Miguel, Platea Madrid are among my favorites. Of the 3, I am more drawn to Mercado de San Anton for 2 reasons: it is more quiet/less crowded and there is a rooftop terrace (La Cocina de San Anton) should one be inclined to linger, nurse a drink and enjoy the breeze and the view.
Besides, I like the variety of tapas on offer here. One stall sells bacalao on tostada, cooked and plated in all imaginable ways. Another has olives and anchoas sourced from different areas. The same can be said of the many varieties of jamon, quezos and trufa! I just love it here.
And should you grow tired of this mercado or wish for a more crowded place, there's one just a few blocks away. A tad cramped I think, but it looks like it caters to a younger crowd. Mercado de San Ildelfonso is right along Calle Fuencarral, not too far from San Anton in Calle Figueroa off Calle Hortaleza.
The jamon, quezos, olives shouldn't vary much from one mercado to the next. However, the foie gras served with risotto and the pickled bacalao on toast in Mercado de San Anton are FTW tapas I won't mind having each time with my vino or cerveza. So there. You heard me. San Anton it is for moí. Minus the crowd 😄