The Freshest Fish in Spain: Cadiz Fish Market

Cadiz fish market
The Cadiz Fish Market is wonderful during tuna season.

I still remember the first time I visited the Boston Haymarket as a child– it was the first open air food market I’d seen. The fruit looked so fresh, the fish were so fascinating… Twenty some odd years later, I am lucky to say I have visited food markets in places like Bolivia, Morocco and France– as well as my fair share of markets here in Spain. I adore visiting food markets, slowly strolling through the aisles watching the interaction between stallholders and their customers. I love seeing what people order and how it is prepared. Will they taste the produce before buying, or do they simply trust their vendor? Will they have their fish gutted and cleaned, or do they prefer to bring it home and do it themselves? Each market is a little piece of a place’s culture and identity, and often an abundance of bright colors, shouts and smiles too.

I’ve been to many of Spain’s food markets, although I still have plenty more on the list. But one of my all-time favorites is the Cadiz Fish Market (technically called the Mercado Central de Abastos de Cádiz). It was built in 1838 and remodeled various times throughout the 20th century, always respecting its signature stone pillars.

Cadiz Market
Taking a stroll outside the Cadiz Fish Market.

In 2012 it was again renovated, and its current design has a variety of outer booths as well as the interior fish market. This leaves plenty of open air space where the market has introduced a Rincón Gastronómico, a food corner where the booths sell delicious food and drink that you can consume on premise. 

Cadiz Fish market
The bustling interior of the Cadiz Fish Market.

The market is truly a food lover’s dream, and a visit to Cadiz is not complete without slowly making (and eating) your way through its stalls.

Cadiz market
The heart and soul of the market is the fish section. It is stunning, and will make you wish you had a nearby kitchen.
Cadiz Crab
Crab legs by the kilo.
Cadiz fish market
These “clock” fish pop out at your among the other Gaditano varieties.
Cadiz market
Shrimp, prawns or langoustines?
Cadiz central market
Fresh cuttlefish eggs anyone?
fish market in Cadiz
Hard at work with long line to go!
Spanish eel
Long and slimy Spanish eel.
Cadiz tuna
But tuna will always be the star of the show.
Cadiz tuna belly
Better yet, tuna belly.
Chocos in Cadiz
Look at the size of those cuttlefish!
cigalas
Cigalas (langoustines) are a true delicacy.
Cazon Cadiz
Cazón (dogfish/sandshark) is delicious when marinated in cumin and lemon and then deep fried.
Cazon Cadiz
Fresh as can be!
Cadiz fruit market
Let’s not forget the fruit and veggies. I love how the name of each booth is the stallholder’s name!
Peaches in Cadiz
These little peaches are called bonbons, must be sweet!
Snails for sale at Cadiz market
Snails for sale!
gadisushi Cadiz
Gadisushi is one of the booths serving food. Raw tuna from Cadiz is our recommendation!
Oysters in Cadiz
On the market’s outskirts you’ll find people selling things like oysters and tiny shrimp.
Eating oysters in Cadiz market
I was nervous to try them, but decided to trust!
oysters in Cadiz
They were delicious!
shrimp in Cadiz
There were also baby shrimp for sale. Eaten whole!
shrimp cone in Cadiz
I couldn’t finish my cone, but at least I tried…

The Cadiz fish market is an absolute must for anyone visiting Cadiz. Make sure to stroll slowly through the fish booths, observing the locals daily routine. Then check out their gastronomic corner where you can try freshly prepared sushi from the market, organic juices, craft beers from Cadiz, wine and sherry… and so much more! We still have much more to taste on our next visit!

What’s your favorite food market?

Mercado Central de Abastos de Cádiz

Plaza Libertad

Tip: Don’t go on Mondays– there’s no fish!

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Comments

  1. Spain is not one of the first places that come to mind for a lot of people when they think about world travel, but it should be. The country of Spain not only has a warm and welcoming people but it has a rich history with many sites to explore. The food and atmosphere are also not to be missed when you visit this wonderful country full of spices and rich food.

  2. Pingback: Cadiz Gastro Guide

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