Food Shopping in Madrid #2 – El Corte Inglés

How To's / Where To's, Shopping in Madrid

by Amy Menchhofer

Classy food shopping in Madrid

As a general rule and as Julie suggests, when grocery shopping frequent the small shops, after all they’re part of what gives a big city its charm. However, sometimes, especially when trying to assuage the occasional bout of home sickness with a tried and true home-cooked meal, you need ingredients that go beyond the shelves of the neighborhood stores. In that case I recommend you cross over to the “dark side” and patronize that behemoth of Spanish department stores – El Corte Ingles. What the store lacks in personal touch and neighborly interaction it more than makes up for with the plethora of products found in the store’s international and vegetarian food sections.

Classy food shopping in MadridFeeling like Indian food? The international aisle offers pre-made masala and korma sauces in addition to ready-to-eat naan. What about Japanese? Stop by to pick up wasabi paste, rice wine vinegar, sushi rice, and tempura mix. Craving Grandma’s homemade sweets? At El Corte Ingles you’ll find ground vanilla, pecans, and maple syrup. Entertaining a vegetarian friend? The comprehensive “healthy” section (usually located near the special-needs foods) offers soy burgers, flavored tofu, soy chicken nuggets, and even soy croquetas.

There are surely a number of specialty stores throughout Madrid that offer these same products; the beauty of El Corte Ingles being that you’ll find them all in one place and in a convenient location. You’ll pay a bit more for these products, but when you want a lunch of chicken curry followed by pecan pie for dessert only a stop at El Corte Ingles will do.

A full list of store locations is available here. Do you ever shop cross over to the “dark side” and shop at El Corte Ingles?


Pingback from Wine Database » Food Shopping in Madrid #2 – El Corte Ingles
Date: October 18, 2007, 1:09 pm

[...] Notes from Madrid wrote a fantastic post today on “Food Shopping in Madrid #2 – El Corte Ingles”Here’s ONLY a quick extract-to-eat naan. What about Japanese? Stop by to pick up wasabi paste, rice wine vinegar, sushi rice [...]

Comment from Katie
Date: October 18, 2007, 3:12 pm

Good call. As much as I dislike this overpriced we-sell-everything store, the supermarket is high quality and I’ve found things there that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere (like creme fraiche, which I’ve substituted for sour cream). But just don’t do your regular shopping there! Every time I go in I see the same products as at my local supermarkets but with incredibly marked up prices.

Comment from Jonk
Date: October 19, 2007, 10:42 am


The products in the first two pictures are in the supermarket 5 mins from me. And I live in Australia…

Comment from Graeme
Date: October 19, 2007, 3:49 pm

I cross over to the dark side because of a weakness for German wheat beer and because sometimes it’s the only place where you can reliably find things like fresh milk. On the Asian side, I am sure there are better places. On the “short” part of San Bernardo, between the Gran Via and Santo Domingo, there is a run down shopping centre which has a shop selling Indian, Chinese, Thai and Japanese foods and sauces. The Chinese guy who runs it is very nice and it’s a better alternative to putting more money into the Corte Inglés.

Pingback from Avoid: El Corte Inglés – Service with a Scowl – Notes from Madrid
Date: October 21, 2007, 1:17 pm

[...] Amy has some good things to say about the specialty food – but personally, I’d rather go hungry. [...]

Comment from Dean Hunt
Date: October 21, 2007, 3:00 pm

I confess that I am a fan of their food section… that said, I am pretty sure that you could find all of these products elsewere in Madrid. But the convenience of having them all under one roof must be appreciated.

Comment from marina
Date: October 24, 2007, 1:37 pm

I do visit El Corte Inglés supermarket every now and then to find coconut milk, fragant Thai rice, or my favourite, the little Thai yellow mangos which I haven’t been able to find elsewhere in Madrid. However, to get oriental food and fresh herbs at a better price I recommend visiting any Chinese or Indian shop in Lavapies district.

Pingback from The Things You Miss: Expat Goods in Madrid – Notes from Madrid
Date: April 3, 2008, 9:38 am

[...] We may have lived here years, but some memories never leave us. Is it Marmite, Horlicks or HP Sauce you suddenly get the urge to taste again? How about some Branston Pickle? PG Tips? Maynards Wine gums? But you will search the shelves of El Cortes Inglés in vain. There are just some things you miss. [...]