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Mercato Ballaró

Mercato Ballaró

Rollitos de berenjena y calabacín rellenos de queso ahumado con mozzarella en Mercato Ballaró

Mercato Ballaró is an Italian restaurant that doesn’t look anything like your typical Italian restaurant.

How? Well, don’t expect to find a jovial Italian waiter speaking half-Spanish half-Italian nor the typical red and white checked tablecloths! You won’t find that here.

The restaurant:

Mercato Ballaró is a restaurant for everyone. It has two levels. There’s the ‘Mercato Abajo’ for the more adventurous, the downstairs market, which has a bar, high tables with stools and some low tables.

And for those who prefer a chiller atmosphere, there’s the ‘Mercato Arriba’, the upstairs market.

Our advice for both: make a reservation. They’re usually pretty full, especially on the weekends.

In addition to the two levels, Mercato Ballaró has two menus. One is more affordable, including the infamous spaghetti meatballs (one of their star dishes) for little more than five euros. Mmm… reminds us of that scene from The Godfather when Peter Clemenza explains to Michael Corleone how to make the same.

The upstairs menu offers more elaborate fare, mostly seafood.

What’s more, Mercato Ballarò varies its menu depending on what’s in season. You can see those dishes on the huge blackboard in the downstairs market, where we were sitting.

What we ordered:

Rollitos de berenjena y calabacín rellenos de queso ahumado con mozarella

Rollitos de berenjena y calabacín rellenos de queso ahumado con mozzarella en Mercato Ballaró

Photo source: Mercato Ballaró

Smoked mozzarella stuffed eggplant and zucchini rolls

This was a great choice to start the meal – not super light but not at all a heavy dish. The flavour, with its deliciously homemade tomato sauce, was definitely much better than the presentation, which admittedly could have been a bit better.

Parpadelle con ragú de jabalí

Parpadelle con ragú de jabalí en Mercato Ballaró

Photo source: Mercato Ballaró

Parpadelle with wild boar ragú

This ragú sauce tasted just like stew, you know that stew, the one that cooks all morning or day over low heat, filling your house with the most appetizing aroma… such great memories!

Linguini a la carbonara con espárragos trigueros, papada de cerdo de cerdo negro y crema de trufa negra

Linguini a la carbonara con espárragos trigueros, papada de cerdo de cerdo negro y crema de trufa negra en Mercato Ballaró

Photo source: Mercato Ballaró

Linguine carbonara with wild asparagus, pork jowl and a black truffle cream

Everyone at the table agreed: that this was, by far, the best dish we ordered. It wasn’t even close to the typical carbonara – with its egg, pancetta and parmesan (the cream and mushrooms one invented by the Spaniards is such a sacrilege for the Italians that we won’t even mention it) – the crunch of the asparagus and the scent of the truffle was so perfect that this plate alone makes us want to return.

Tarta de queso con salsa de tomate dulce

Tarta de queso con salsa de tomate dulce en Mercato Ballaró

Cheesecake with a sweet tomato sauce

Sadly, the sweet tomato sauce didn’t convince anyone. In fact, we left some cake on the plate. And we all know that this just doesn’t happen with a truly delicious dessert.

at-a-glance-mercato-ballaro

Check out our Fooding Map for more great places to eat in Madrid!


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