7 Best Street Food Markets in Europe
Europe’s colorful array of food markets are some of the best places to take in local culture, language, and, of course, a whole lot of delicious food. These venues allow visitors to rub shoulders with locals, pick up locally-made goods, and taste regional flavors unlike anything they can get back home. Many of these markets are set in spaces that mirror local architecture trends in addition to hosting cultural programming and events. Before packing your itinerary with reservations at the city’s top restaurants, consider these markets for a unique dining experience that goes beyond what you’ll find at traditional establishments. Taste more of your destination’s food culture by visiting some of our favorite food markets.
MERCADO DE SAN MIGUEL
Mercado de San Miguel is perfectly situated in the heart of Madrid, surrounded by the city’s biggest tourist attractions such as the Plaza Madrid, the Royal Palace, and the beautiful Basilica de San Miguel. Consider this market as the focal point of your walking tour. After your history lesson, head over to this bustling market for a hearty sampling of the country’s best culinary traditions like decadent Iberian ham, daily caught fresh seafood from Galicia, and an assortment of tasty tapas from across the Basque country. The market features dishes from each of the country’s unique regions, making this capital city’s market a one stop shop for Spanish cuisine. Whether you’re starting off a journey around Spain or are just in Madrid for a quick holiday, a visit to this market is an absolute must in order to develop an understanding of the delicious range of flavors within Spanish gastronomy.
Torvehallerne is the culinary highlight of a city that has been at the forefront of New-Nordic cuisine over the past decade. Spend the day exploring the city’s astounding display of classic and contemporary architecture, then cycle over to Torvehallerne to sample from its whopping 60 food and beverage vendors. Here, you can find everything from hipster coffee stands to wine bars, chocolatiers, and exotic spices from around the world. A local favorite is a stall called the Hav (translates to “the sea” in Danish) where expert fishmongers prepare tasty seafood salads and offer patrons detailed recommendations for buying and cooking their freshly caught fish.
Lisbon’s vibrant Timeout Market has created a wave of stall-style eateries around the globe, but only in Lisbon can you find the culinary concepts of Spain’s Michelin star chefs alongside the freshest Pastel de Nata. In Portugal’s capital city, you don’t need to waste any of your trip running around to each of the best restaurants, save your taxi fare and head straight to the market that houses it all under one roof. This market is the only one in the world where each and every vendor has been chosen based by the city’s very own Timeout journalists. That means everything here is the best of what you can find in Portugal. From Italian to Japanese to French and of course Portuguese, here is where you’ll find the top culinary traditions of the country alongside the international flavors that make the country a multicultural gastronomic paradise. Aside from food and beverage vendors, the historic building is also home to concerts, cultural programming, and even a cooking school called Timeout Academy.
MERCAT DE LA BOQUERIA
This bustling hall is one of Europe’s oldest and largest food markets. You simply cannot visit Barcelona without spending at least a few meals at La Boqueria. The grandness of this space is unlike anything else you’ll find in Europe. You can’t miss the mountains of tropical fruit, rows of hanging dried hams, and endless counters of tapas. Here, you can find everything from fresh seafood and produce, to pizza by the slice, and the best paella you’ve ever tasted.
Prague, Czech Republic
The city’s trendiest addition to its blossoming restaurant scene is also one of the most innovative. Manifesto straddles the edge of Prague’s old town and trendy Karlin neighborhood, recently named one of the top 50 coolest neighborhoods in the world. Over 20 of the city’s best culinary vendors sell a variety of dishes and drinks out of repurposed shipping containers, making Manifesto one of the most architecturally unique spaces in the city. Most of the restaurant concepts here feature completely new and unique concepts by some of the city’s best chefs. That means, you can’t find anything like it elsewhere in Prague. The cashless venue also hosts a packed calendar of free cultural events, concerts, and workshops suitable for folks of most ages. This winter, the venue hosted the country’s first contemporary Christmas market curated by LeMarket, and sites are set on the Spring opening of Manifesto, scheduled to open March 2019.
In the heart of Berlin’s prime music, culture, and arts district of Kreuzberg, you’ll find the city’s most coveted food hall. This funky assortment of local food and beverage vendors, including one in-house brewery, is exemplary of Berlin’s explosive food scene. Don’t miss out on the market’s weekly festival called Street Food Thursday, where you can taste exotic dishes from around the world. After a night of heavy partying at one of the neighborhood’s underground music venues, the hall’s Breakfast Market held on the third Sunday of every month might be exactly what you are looking for.
London, United Kingdom
London’s Borough Market exudes a cosmopolitan zeal that is surprising for the 1,000 year old trading post. The mix of fresh produce purveyors, top tier restaurants, and artisanal shops features flavors and cultures as diverse as London itself. Many of the market’s vendors have earned the stamp of approval from Slow Food, a globally recognized institution that awards food businesses for their commitment to sustainability and locality. This is the perfect stop for lunch and people watching, or for a cocktail pick-me-up between sightseeing tours.
This post was originally written for Prague’s Manifesto Market.