Supermarkets in Spain

While I’ve been to Spain several times, I realized I know very little about the best brands of markets and what locals or people more informed than me think of them.

What are the higher regarded supermarket chains in Spain? I’m most interested in fresh seafood, meats, cheeses, and a decent wine selection (understand these will likely all be mass produced). Some in the area: Eroski, Aldi, Lidl, Mercadona, Spar. I’ve been to Aldi, Spar, and Carrefour’s but not super familiar with the others and what locals/more informed think of them. Thank you!

Mercadona is, I think, Spain’s largest supermarket chain. Usually an excellent selection of, well, pretty much everything. You’ll find it very similar to Carrefour (which I’ve only visited in France).

Eroski is a smaller chain and I’ve only experienced of it at a fairly small outlet in Mallorca. It’s where we shop when we’re staying in the Pollensa area.

You’ll find Lidl is similar to Aldi. I have both near home and prefer Lidl which we visit periodically for a “budget shop” (usually tinned products). I don’t drink alcohol but regularly read that both are quite well rated for budget wine.

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This is great, thank you.

The Corte Ingles department store at various locations in Madrid decades ago had a wonderful supermarket. Is that still true?

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Yes. I use the Serrano one a couple of times a week. The layout takes some getting used to (e.g. pasta sauce nowhere near the pasta) but it’s pretty good. Spanish version of UK’s Waitrose.

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It’s some years since I’ve been in a Corte Ingles but I always used to reckon the UK equivalent was more Marks & Spencer than Waitrose. A good selection of food items, like the former, but not a full range of products like the latter.

This one’s got the lot John. They’ve recently removed the live lobster tanks, but manned fishmonger, butcher, cheesemonger, deli, sushi station etc. are pretty good. Loose fresh fruit & veg. Petrus at a bargain 8k/bottle. They couldn’t identify their Stilton producer though!


All Corte Ingles now have a separate section (generally on the top floor) called “Club del Gourmet” where you will find more refined and specialized products, and a few top chefs restaurants. Worth a look for salmon, cheeses, spices, etc.


Good to know about Corte Ingles if I’m lucky enough to return to Spain! In the early to mid 1980s, the Serrano, Sol, and Castellana locations were a godsend to me when I needed to buy high-quality groceries between 2 and 4, when the excellent small food and produce vendors in my neighborhood near the Prado were closed. And on Sundays, as well.

And the wonderful exotic-to-me fruits…cherimoya, for example. My favorite Spanish cheese (well, I have many favorite Spanish cheeses) cabrales is hard to find now in the US, and some cheese vendors here in the US can’t identify Stilton producers either.

And the Corte Ingles optical department helped me during my first brief (2 months) in Madrid when I discovered my soft contact lens had a tear and I didn’t have a replacement. Small vendors are fantastic, but there are times when you need to go to the larger store.

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Including your bog rolls, Robin? :grinning:

Interesting they (and Madrid’s US vendors) can’t identify the Stilton producer. There’s only seven of them for goodness sake.

For me, the supermarket of El Corte Ingles would be the top of the bunch; I do not usually shop in the Club de Gourmets floor, as for the more upscale items, I would prefer to buy from local shops, such as (in Madrid) MANTEQUERIA BRAVO in Salamanca, and the shops of the wonderful MERCADO DE LA PAZ, a block or two away.
Of the others, I think CARREFOUR might neck and neck with MERCADONA, but as you know, these chains, and others also have “express” outlets which can be pretty small but convenient since they dot Madrid and other large cities. MERCADONA’S house label, HACENDADO, seems to me to be quite good, as do the Carrefour labeled items. The giant supers tend to be located in centros commerciales, often on or near the ring roads. Pretty sure these are referred to as “Hipermarkets” But again, I much prefer the smaller food places, many of which have been around for generations. Please forgive any error in this post; I am still learning!


El Corte Ingles Hyper Market - Located in:
Preciados - Sol
Nuevos Ministerios

In my opinion, they have the best wine selection including foreign wines, counter butchers, counter fish mongers, seasonal and international fresh vegetables and fruits and an amazing selection of worldwide cheeses from fresh to aged.

Check their offers too.

Hi erica,
For us the large supermarkets, usually in the basement, of El Corte Inglés are our “go tos” for everyday, but now here in the Almagro barrio we have a huge Mercadona nearby on General Martínez Campos, with two floors, that has just about everything we want and need on a daily basis, even hand sliced bellota, paella to go, roast chicken, etc. It´s closer to us than the Goya ECI.

Our local Carrefour Express is too small to be useful and quite lackluster but good for picking up basics when our Mercadona is closed.

The supermarket we like best, now belonging to ECI, is the Sánchez Romero, but there aren’t that many of them. The one on Castelló in Salamanca is a delight.

We usually take a stroll through the ECI “Club de Gourmets” in every city but don’t often buy. We mostly gaze but it´s great window shopping especially at Christmas with all the beautiful Christmas gift baskets on display.

As you know so well, for speciality items and good prices on bellota and quesos we go to our favorite Mercado de la Paz in Recoletos and head straight to the La Boulette and Álvarez Selección stands. We even buy our Herpac canned atún rojo de almadraba at AS. (The “Shopping Almadraba” boutique on Ayala has closed.)

For special wines hard to find elsewhere we head to the jewel box of a gourmet deli, Mantequerías Bravo, as you know and love. We often find special bottles there that we can’t find at the large Lavinia on Ortega & Gasset.

The Vila Viniteca from Barcelona has an outlet of sorts in Salamanca at Gral. Díaz Porlier but it can be hit or miss as is the case of any outlet.

Lafuente on Ayala is also a nice shop for special wines and destilados.

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Today we did a little window shopping at the huge Gourmet Experience on the 3rd floor (planta 2) of El Corte Inglés up on the Castellana (metro: Nuevos Ministerios).
It’s a wow !! for gazing at the best speciality products made in Spain and a huge selection of fine wines, cheeses, hams, you name it. This ELC has really gone upscale.

This is where David Muñoz (“best chef in the world”) opened his noodle/pasta centric RAVIOXO (a really tough table to book).

There’s also a Huerta de Carabaña for vegetables, an Honest Greens for healthy and the Basque Imanol for txuletas. We stopped at Imanol for a txakolí and a pintxo (the pintxos here are huge and beautifully presented).

If you ever get up that far, it’s certainly worth the time–a feast for the eyes and senses.
We didn’t have time to shop the downstairs supermercado, but it’s one of the largest and best stocked.
At the Gourmet Experience they have the conservas from Güeyu Mar, Herpac atún rojo de almadraba, all the Navarran LC (La Catedral) canned vegetables and the largest selection of AOVE I’ve seen, even more than La Comunal on Mejía Lequerica in Salesas.

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Looks impressive in comparaison with the Clube del Gourmet in Lisbon’s ElC

It really is more impressive than most of the others I’ve seen in Spain. They pulled out all the stops here. For pastry fans there´s also a branch of Balbisiana (yum!–we have one here on Génova too) and for bread, Pandelirio.

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Extraordinarily vanguard interior design.

Impressive …

For erica1,
This article below, in Spanish. arrived in my inbox today about Maria Lopes’s Portuguese stand in the Mercado de La Paz, Maninha Sardinha.
It’s been open for 3 years now. and she does catering as well.
This is where we purchase our Serra da Estrela cheese, since La Boulette doesn’t carry it (but it does carry 300 different cheeses!).

What a wonderful municipal market La Paz is—52 stands of the best that Spain produces. The market received 2.2 million visitors last year, says a recent article in El País.

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I wouldn’t claim to know Spain or its supermarkets well.

However, a visit to a country without stepping in its supermarkets is tantamount to a slap in my face.

Ametller Origen is a Catalonian chain with a number of branches in Barcelona, among other regional cities. The stores aren’t supersized, but they don’t need to be. I was particularly taken by their tomatoes (try the “Mar Azul” variety), and cheeses.

Alcampo seemed to be a big supermarket chain. I could’ve spent an hour in their canned seafood section alone (Spain does some pretty damn good tinned seafood, particularly from Galicia).