A perfect sized group of 8 of us went on a trip for lunch at the indoor market in El Ejido yesterday. This is following a recommendation from one of our readers, Shaun P.
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A while ago Shaun P was taken to lunch at the El Ejido indoor market by his neighbours. We followed suit yesterday and had a wonderful time. Thanks Shaun.
We found that a perfect size group is 8 people. We could just squeeze around one of the barrel tables while using a second table to hold empty bottles, open wine bottles etc.
If you decide to go it is worth booking a table. Also, do not go on Mondays as the fish counters are closed. When we made our booking we were told the best time to book the table/barrel was around 1:30pm. A lot of the stalls start closing around this time so you need to arrive a little earlier than this to do your shopping in the market.
We took the bus from the Velas Blancas roundabout in Almerimar. The Sitúame android app told us the bus would arrive at 11:58 and it was bang on time.
We got off at the El Ejido bus station and walked to the market. It is around a 5-10 minute walk away. A couple of streets up from the town hall square on the same side of the road. If you look down the side road you can see a place called the Bodega de Jamon. Take the right hand turn there and the market is just round the corner on the right.
When we arrived we had a stroll around looking at all of the stalls. There were lots of stalls for meat, fish and vegetables. All of the people there were very friendly.
We then went took our reserved table at the bar a little early. We had a first drink and planned out our purchases. We then sent one person to buy the fish, one person to buy the meat and one person to buy the vegetables.
There were signs saying when you purchase tell the stall holder that you are buying for things to be cooked in the bar in the market. There were also signs showing the proposed re-design of the currently unused upper floor of the market. The fish counters, a plant counter and the toilets are downstairs. The vegetable and meat counters plus the bar are on the ground floor. The upper floor is planned to be a "Gastro Market". I am not sure when work will start on this.
When you have purchased all the food you wish to eat you take it to the man in the bar. You also tell him that you are now ready to eat (I forgot to do this so our meal was delayed a little until I remembered).
He brings the food out as raciones, one plate at a time. By default he provides a fork per person. If you ask nicely you can also get a small plate and some knifes.
Note that everything is grilled (a la plancha) if not in a salad. Also they add salt to everything they grill. I guess you could ask them to use a little less salt if you wish. Do not hand them mushrooms, lettuce or lemons. They will just give you these back as the do not use the mushrooms or lettuce. Also, they supply their own lemons.
In total we spent approximately 40 euros between 8 of us (5 euros a head) purchasing food. There was tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions for a salad. Grilled aubergines, courgettes and red peppers came next. We then had fish (lubina and salmonettas). Then we had chicken kebabs, lamb chops, sausages and pork loin. All were fantastic.
While there we also saw people eating clams, grilled salmon and lots of other dishes as well. Also, one guy came in and had his stuff cooked for a takeaway.
Drinks are not cheap but are reasonably priced. There is no beer on tap. It is supplied by the bottle costing 2.50 euros a bottle. Glasses of wine are 3 euros and standard bottles of wine are 15 euros. You can pay more for some types of wine if you wish. We had a white rueda and a red ribero del duero each costing 15 euros a bottle. Both were very nice to drink. Large bottles of still water are available. I think they were 1 euro a bottle. A few of us also had coffee after the meal.
If I remember rightly there was a service charge of 6 euros for the cooking. So less than a euro a person which seems like good value to me.
A few of our party wanted some dessert. They do not grill fruit in the bar in the market so we strolled back towards the bus station and found somewhere else for dessert. We all had bowls of ice-cream and shared a bottle of water before catching the bus home.
I think we managed to spend quite a few euros on drink between the 8 of us. That made up for the cheapness of the food and service. Plus 1.33 euros each way per person on the bus. Or I understand that you can take a taxi home to Almerimar from the bus station for 12 euros.
It was a fantastic experience and one I will probably be having on a regular basis in the future.
You can see more photos from the day in the Gallery.