Mercado de San Francisco
Mercado de San Francisco, Velez’s new gastro market and cultural space, threw its doors open in September 2018. The centrepiece of the old town, it’s an extremely exciting and ambitious project.
First and foremost, it’s a beautiful space. Housed in a former food market, it’s an open, high-ceilinged area that’s been stylishly and sympathetically renovated with exposed brickwork and interiors-led wooden decorative elements running throughout.
What is the Mercado de San Francisco?
It’s a space for people to spend time in and enjoy – whether it be for a coffee and cake, tapas, a meal, drinks, craft shopping or learning.
Up front there are casual tapas eateries, a formal dining restaurant, a wine bar and a craft beer bar. To the rear there are artisan shops – a graphic designer, furniture restorer, glass artist and an art gallery – and a coffee shop and small children’s play area.
There are also lecture spaces for events and workshops, with everything from Mini Master Chef to printing workshops planned. Watch out for crafty children’s birthday parties, adult courses and language exchanges.
There’s a strong emphasis on local produce from the Axarquia but not to the detriment of quality – so you’ll see sherry from Sanlucar, beer from Barcelona (Estrella Damm – the oldest manufacturer in Spain) and craft beers from the UK (Brewdog), amongst other manufacturers.
Bars & Restaurants
El Restaurante de Mangoa – Formal Restaurant
With a comfortable indoor dining space and terrace area to the outside of the market, as well as a seasonal menu by executive chef Juan Quintanilla this is a serious contender for the best restaurant in the Axarquia.
The food is very good and represents the area very well indeed. Families are very welcome, too, with highchairs, colouring menus and separate food choices (if they wish). Open for lunch and dinner.
Bodega – Vinos de la Tierra
Hiding in the corner with wine barrels outside welcoming you in is the bodega of the market. Great care has been taken in the selection of wine from Malaga province to the rest of Spain.
The owner is only too happy to give recommendations, along with local cheese and nuts to accompany each glass or bottle of wine, from fine Sherries to full reds. It’s a great place to go with friends, share a bottle or two and learn a bit more about Spanish wine.
El Almacen – Vinoteca/Cerveceria
With its sexy, shiny black bar, living wall, honeycomb shelves and Edison lightbulbs, as well as a fabulous, sunny terrace, El Almacen is a cracking addition to the Velez bar scene.
It’s far from a case of style over substance, though, as it also has an excellent range of craft beers on tap as well as mixers and wine. We’re looking forward to some signature El Almacen cocktails to while away many a sunny afternoon.
As you enter the market at the front to the right there’s a row of tapas-style eateries. The idea is you grab a table in the middle of the market, then pick and choose which food you’d like. There’s something for all tastes.
Dulces – 180 Grados Pasteleria Artesanal
Wow. This cake shop is incredible. Carrot cake, apple pie, red velvet cake, chocolate cake – you name it, they have it. As well as cakes they offer crepes of all varieties, too.
Vegetarian – Vidain
A shop solely dedicated to vegetarian food. This is pretty exciting for us Velenos – no pork products at all. Expect vegetable-filled crepes, falafels, veggie balls, different burgers (mushroom, beetroot, lentil) in wholegrain buns, as well as salads with nuts and quinoa.
Bite-sized dishes – from traditional fare like croquetas and spicy chorizo, to Asian flavours (Thai-style mussels) and Cajun pork.
Fried fish is the order of the day here. Everything a chiringuito (beachside bar/restaurant) offers, Pescaito does.
Cuchareo – Taberna la Choza de Jarazmin
One pot traditional Andaucian cooking is what you’ll find at the Cuchareo. Meaty hearty stews and seasonal soups are the speciality.
The blackboard menu changes regularly and the cheery staff are very helpful in recommending what’s great that day. This is the place for meat lovers. These dishes are more often than not much more than a tapas in size, great for sharing or filling hungry tummies. Highlights include ham hock, pig’s cheeks and burgers.
Artisan Shops – La Placita
This collection of local art for sale from artists in the area is curated by Fernando Gil. He stocks paintings, sculptures and jewellery and is the ideal pit-stop if you want original artwork for your home.
A skilled graphic designer who’s also passionate about printing. She can do any type of design work such as logo design, wedding invitations/table settings and branding.
In her workshop she sells t-shirts, dresses, organic printed bags, prints and cushions as well as offering bespoke design work onto any of these products. Look out for printing workshops that will be held for all ages.
El Desvan de Hefeso
A furniture restorer and lover of antique objets, Alma upcycles, breathing new air into lacklustre pieces of furniture and lovingly restoring antique furniture. She also sells on any wonderful antiques and furniture she finds. Watch out for upcoming chalk paint classes.
Sol de Tiffany
A glass workshop selling stain-glass products as well as glass jewellery. Commissions are taken for bespoke stain-glass projects of any size. Children’s workshops will be held on the art of painting on glass.
Baba Budan Coffee Shop
Ideally situated next to the shops and the children’s play area is the cafe. They offer light bites like sandwiches and cake, while hazelnut, oat milk and different types of bread cater for allergies and food intolerances.
On Tuesdays they do a language exchange from 18.00-20.00hrs.
The opening times are still settling down, but as a rule of thumb they’re as follows:
- Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 1200-1900 (except the cafe which will open at 0730, and the cake shop which will open at 0800).
- Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 1200-0000 (except the cafe which will open from 0730-1900 and the cake shop which will open from 0800-1900)
- Restaurants and tapas bars are closed on Tuesdays.
There’s parking directly underneath the market – accessed from Calle Arroyo San Sebastian. It’s open:
- Monday-Wednesday: 7.00 – 22.00hrs
- Thursday-Friday: 7.00 – 00.00hrs
- Saturday: 9.00 – 00.00hrs
- Sunday: 9.00 – 19.00hrs
Workshops & Events
Every Thursday evening during November there’s live music – for free – from around 21.00hrs.
Learn something new, practice your Spanish and get involved with the craft workshops that are on offer in La Placita (the artisan area at the back of the market). Some of the lessons are just a few hours; others are a full course.