Near Plaza España and hidden in the Calle de la Mascota you will find the emblematic ‘Mercado de la Imprenta.’ It was once a printing house but has now been converted into a marketplace, which has become the largest gastronomic market in Valencia!
At first sight, the market appears slightly obscured and concealed between buildings, with the architecture giving a rustic, 19th century feel, adorned with beautiful red and white flowers. The market is in fact unknown amongst most Valencians, yet one could argue that its obscurity simply adds to the allure and mystery of the building. Upon entering the market, the space opens up to reveal a massive room with very high ceilings unveiling oversized pipework. The space has more than 1,800 square metres distributed over the two floors of the main building.
The designers have done remarkably well to maintain and restore the essence of the old printing house, with the intricate black vintage hand rails encompassing the room on the second floor. Additionally, huge calligraphic signs surround the walls at the top of the building, numbered and labelled with words such as ‘ferias y mercados’ (festivals and markets), ‘cárceles’ (prison), ‘sindicatos’ (trade unions), ‘sociedades’ (companies) etc., to portray the different newspaper categories of the printing house in the 20th century. In fact, the ‘Old Imprenta Vila’, as it was formerly named, was built at the beginning of the last century by José Vila, the graphic arts industrialist who gave his name to this family printing house, and who entrusted the construction of the complex to the master builder Vicente Cerdá. The printing house is therefore steeped in history, and now the public also can witness the evolution of this building which has existed for over a century, from 1908-2023.
Presenting a dichotomy between past and present, the designers have added some more contemporary features such as artificial foliage and palm trees, black domed hanging lamps with a golden undertone, and a few interactive digital menu boards dotted around the room, where one can order alcoholic and soft drinks. One might think that the contemporary elements would detract from the historical value of the building but, in fact, it only serves to add to the aesthetic and rustic quality of the interior design. Hence, Mercado de la Imprenta has successfully bridged the gap between contemporary Spanish cuisine and an unforgettable resemblance of Spanish history. This contemporaneity is mirrored in the many gastronomical delights distributed over 21 stalls.
Immediately, the visitor is bombarded with the visual of a wide selection of beautifully presented, high quality Spanish food within the market’s many stalls. You will not be disappointed by the variety of food found in here, including an olive stall, fish canapés, traditional Spanish hams & cheeses, chocolate truffles, handmade pizzas, paella, seafood, baos, burgers, appetisers, loaded toast, savouries, and beautifully created cakes and desserts, which all look utterly mouth-watering, by the way. If you come here with any remnant of an appetite then I can confidently declare that you will not be able to resist the temptation of purchasing one of the many ravishing food items on offer. I personally sampled a variety of olive combinations and the chorizo, potato, and fried egg dish, and my taste-buds were not disappointed; packed with flavour, I was impressed by the traditional Spanish cuisine.
Moreover, there is a large variety of drinks on offer, including beer, soft drinks, kombucha, and even a wine stall. In the centre of the market you can discover a stunningly executed bar, with multi-coloured glass alcoholic bottles and hanging drinking glasses set in a perfect array. Sufficient seating, designed to match the dark colour scheme of the building, snakes through the stalls, including a prominent seating section.
Overall, visiting this gastronomic temple of Valencia is not only worth visiting for those foodies out there, but is also a delightful place to experience some of Spain’s finest cuisine from across the country, an excuse to visit somewhere new as a tourist, and a great opportunity to have an enjoyable day out or evening out with friends or family.
Report by Melissa McCrow
All photos ‘Mercado de la imprenta’ copyright Emily Bray / ’24/7 Valencia’
Mercado de la Imprenta
Carrer de la Mascota, 17 (near Plaza España)
Monday and Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday and Thursday: from 12pm – 12am
Friday: 12pm – 12:30am
Saturday: 10am – 12:30am
Sunday: 10am – 12am
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