Mercato Metropolitano is south London’s awesome street food market.
Hiding away off a rather uneventful stretch of Borough High Street is Mercato Metropolitano – a surprisingly massive street food hall which is up there with the best. In fact, there’s so many good things about it, I think I’ll make a list…
1. There’s a ton of great street food to eat
You’re not short on choice at Mercato Metropolitano, with 26 different stalls to choose from. As the name suggests, they’ve got Italian cuisine sorted, with pizza, fresh pasta, arancini, fritto misto and even craft beers from Chiswick favourites The Italian Job. But that’s just the start – you can dive into some gooey melted cheese with raclette from Champagne & Fromage, try mouthwatering ribs from Prarie BBQ or sample vegan rice bowls from Really Rice. Turkish, Indian, Mexican, and Lebanese cuisines are all in the mix, too.
2. The drinks aren’t half-bad either
In need of refreshment? A slew of specialist bars can slake your thirst with anything from small-batch gin to biodynamic wines, Bavarian-style beers and high-falutin’ cocktails. (Or you can just order a cider, obvs.)
3. It’s fucking massive
There’s, like, one big room with loads of stalls, followed by – surprise! – another really big room with more stalls. But wait, around the corner there’s another massive bit, but keep going – it honestly seems like it goes on forever. (In fact, as I researched this article, I’ve also seen reference to a ‘second floor’ that I’ve NEVER seen, despite having visited several times?) What I’m saying is, there’s always somewhere to sit, which I think is an underrated criterion for rating venues. Talking of somewhere to sit…
4. There are loads of nice outdoor bits, too
The halls are surrounded by leafy courtyards, each appointed with bars and food stalls of their own. It’s lovely on a sunny day, and there are ample awnings to provide shade or shelter, depending on what the weather’s up to. (In the winter, these areas get a festive makeover.)
5 It’s open all. the. time.
Many of London’s street food markets are only open on select days; Hawker House in Canada Water, for example, is Friday-Saturday only. Not so at Mercato Metropolitano, which is open seven days a week. Plus, it starts up at 8am during the week, and stays open until 11pm every day except Sunday. You could probably low-key live here.
6. It’s got hidden talents (and a big heart)
There’s even more to Mercato Metropolitano than first meets the eye. In one corner you’ll find the brilliantly themed Backyard Cinema, currently screening classic sci-fi movies inside a fake spaceship. There’s a much-loved deli (temporarily closed at press time, re-opening in June) letting you take home some top-notch Italian goodies. There’s a yoga studio upstairs. A vintage market appears every month or so (next arrival is June 2).On a recent weekend evening, a band enthusiastically murdered cover versions from a gantry above some huge brewing tanks, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
In the courtyard, a double-decker bus has been transformed into a farm where you can pick your own strawberries. Mushrooms are grown for the kitchens on-site using old coffee grounds. There are upcoming workshops where you can craft miniature landscapes, make tortellini or brew kombucha. And they’re currently on the search for a new generation of female food founders from the local area.
It’s big, it’s bold. it’s clever, it’s sustainable – a cracking spot, all told. A visit to Mercato Metropolitano belongs on any foodie’s to-do list.
Location: 42 Newington Causeway. Nearest stations are Borough and Elephant & Castle. See it on Google Maps.
Opening hours: seven days a week. Mon-Fri, 8am – 11pm; Sat, 11am – 11pm; Sun, 11am – 10pm.
Price: Entry is free, food prices vary.
More information: visit their website.
Find other places to eat street food in London.
Also published on Medium.