Mercado Del Rio is a large gastronomic market in Medellín, which has a collection of over 50 trendy restaurants in a sizable warehouse space located next to the Bancolombia Headquarters building.

This trendy food market reportedly opened in October 2016. And it has become very popular. Mercado Del Rio has over 50 restaurants  with a big variety of cuisines available. Food options include traditional Colombian, hamburgers, Italian, Mexican, Peruvian, pizza, sandwiches, seafood, steaks, sushi, waffles, wings and so much more.

There are also several bars, a coffee bistro and desserts at several kiosks on the first floor. And on the second floor are located a couple sit-down restaurants along with the Sinko Market, which is a bar that serves food. There are also plenty of TVs, which show the local football (soccer) games when playing.

At this gastronomic market, food is purchased at the small format restaurants and eaten at the many bar-height tables, which are cleaned quickly and efficiently by staff. They also have free Wifi.

It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. It’s an outstanding place to have lunch or dinner and hang out with friends. It has a good atmosphere and a very wide variety of food and drinks as well as desserts. And it’s also a good place to take out-of-town guests.

The front of Mercado Del Rio

The front of Mercado Del Rio

History of Mercado Del Rio

Planning for this large gastronomic market in Medellín reportedly started about six years ago. The large warehouse building was previously being used to store lights for Medellín’s famous El Alumbrado Christmas lights prior to becoming Mercado del Rio.

Construction started in January 2016 and Mercado Del Rio opened its doors on October 25, 2016. Armada S.A.S, the company behind Medellín’s large gastronomic market, claims they modeled their idea after food markets in other parts of the world like Chelsea Market in New York, the Borough Market in London and Mercados Roma in Mexico.

Armanda is a real estate development company with more than 20 years of experience in developing commercial and mixed-use buildings.

Peru Mix at Mercado Del Rio

Peru Mix at Mercado Del Rio

Food Options at Mercado Del Rio

There currently is a total of over 50 food and drink places at Mercado Del Rio. A map with all the food and drink places listed can be found here.

Many of the restaurants in this gastronomic market can be found in other parts of the city. Some familiar names that can be found in other parts of the city include Al Alma Coffee Roasters, Carbone e Pasta, El Rancherito, Happy Tomate, Jabalí, Juicy Lucy, Le Coq, Monsieur Waffle, Parmessano, Peru Mix, Sinko and several others.

There is a range of prices for meals at the restaurants in this food market from about 15,000 to over 40,000 pesos. A few places also have “menú del día” lunch specials.

Juicy Lucy at Mercado Del Rio

Juicy Lucy at Mercado Del Rio

My Experiences at Mercado Del Rio

I have been to Mercado Del Rio over 10 times since it opened and I had good food from several of the restaurants. The first time I went I was impressed by the huge variety. But I was in a rush at lunch and had a great burger at Juicy Lucy.

Juicy Lucy is a chain with three locations in Medellín. They have 14 different burgers on the menu with prices ranging from 17,900 to 24,900 pesos.  The price includes a side of French fries, onion rings or fried yucca. I like their Juicy Lucy burger, which is a beef hamburger cooked to order with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion rings, tomatoes, mayonnaise, lettuce and barbecue sauce.

Sinko Market on second floor

Sinko Market on second floor

At this food market I also have eaten good Peruvian food from Peru Mix, phenomenal rotisserie chicken from Le Coq, good Italian food at Carbone e Pasta, good chicken wings from Hotwings Express and good seafood at Vitamar. In addition, I had good cocktails at Sinko Market on the second floor and several good bottles of wine from Enoteca del Rio on the first floor.

Parmessano on second floor

Parmessano on second floor

My most recent trip to this food market I ate at Parmessano. Parmessano is a popular chain of Italian restaurants in Medellín with nine locations that I have gone to for several years. Parmessano has an extensive menu with several pastas which choice of sauces, combo plates, sandwiches, soups, salads, house specials, appetizers and desserts.

They have many different types of pasta to choose from including spaghetti, fettuccine, ravioli and tortellini. The pastas range in price from 13,900 pesos for a half order to 19,500 pesos for the highest priced full order. I also like Parmessano’s beef lasagna that costs 21,300 pesos.

Hotwings Express

Hotwings Express

Gastronomic Market Competition?

There are eight gastronomic markets in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley, each with collections of many restaurants in one location:

  1. Contenedores Food Place – reportedly opened in January 2014
  2. Mercado Del Rio – opened in October 2016
  3. Mercado Del Tranvía – reportedly opened in October 2017
  4. Mercado Del Rio La Strada – opened in July 2018
  5. Mercado Del Parque – opened in September 2018
  6. Mercado Del Tranvía Envigado – opened in November 2018
  7. Mercado Del Norte in Bello – opened in January 2019
  8. Mercade de Sabaneta – opened in July 2019

Mercado de Sabaneta is the newest gastronomic market in the Medellín metro area that opened in July 2019.

Some expats I talked to recently thought the first gastronomic market in Medellín was Mercado Del Rio. But actually, the first gastronomic market was Contenedores Food Place in Envigado, which opened in 2014.

But Contenedores is a somewhat different format with several sit-down restaurants located in containers and not a big open warehouse space. In addition, Contenedores is smaller, as it has less than 10 restaurants. However, these are larger restaurants with separate sitting areas.

The second food market to open was the large Mercado Del Rio that opened in October 2016 near the large Bancolombia office. And the third food market was Mercado Del Tranvía, which reportedly opened in October 2017.

Also, Mercado Del Rio La Strada opened last year in July 2018 and Mercado Del Parque in Laureles opened in September 2018. And the sixth, Mercado Del Tranvía Envigado, opened in November 2018 followed by Mercado Del Norte in Bello that opened in January 2019 and Mercade de Sabaneta in July 2019.

In addition, Medellín used to have another food market that is now closed. Manila Food Market opened in April 2017 in the Manila barrio of El Poblado in the Los Patios Hostel. But Manila Food Market was small with less than 10 restaurants. Also, it reportedly failed due to a lack of customers in this location and closed in less than a year.

Bancolombia Headquarters, Mercado Del Rio is directly south, photo by Juan Camilo Trujillo

Bancolombia Headquarters, Mercado Del Rio is directly south, photo by Juan Camilo Trujillo

How to Get to Mercado Del Rio

Mercado Del Rio is located directly south of the large Bancolombia Headquarters building, which is located next to the Industriales metro station on Line A.

In my experience, it’s only about a seven-minute walk from the Industriales metro station. This food market has parking available but not enough parking spaces. I wouldn’t recommend parking, as they can run out of spaces on busy days. And parking is fairly expensive for Medellín at 10,000 pesos. So take the metro or a taxi.

Furthermore, any taxi driver in the city will know where the Bancolombia building is, as this is a major landmark in the city. So, you could simply tell a taxi driver “edificio Bancolombia”.

Address: Calle 24 #48-28, El Poblado

Websitehttps://mercadodelrio.com/

Phone: +57 4 261 1584

Hours: 7 am to 9 pm, opens at 8 am on Sunday and can stay open later on the weekends

Crowd watching a game, photo courtesy of Mercado Del Rio

Crowd watching a game, photo courtesy of Mercado Del Rio

The Bottom Line – Mercado Del Rio

Mercado Del Rio has only been open since October 2016. And in that time, it has become a very popular location for lunch and dinner and also is popular on the weekends.

It’s particularly popular for lunch during the week with the huge Bancolombia Headquarters building next door. In addition, there are many apartments nearby in Ciudad del Rio. So, sometimes it can be hard to find a place to sit with the lunch and weekend crowds.

But it’s a unique place in Medellín that is definitely worth going to. And if you go with a big group everyone can get food from whichever restaurant they want and still sit together.

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Editors note: updated on March 17, 2018 to add Mercado Del Tranvía under the competition section.

Editors note: updated on August 11, 2018 to add Mercado Del Rio La Strada as a competitor.

Editors note: updated on March 8, 2019 to add Mercado Del Tranvía Envigado.

Editors note: updated on March 14, 2019 to add Mercado Del Norte in Bello, which is the newest gastronomic market in the Aburrá Valley.

Editors note: updated on April 20, 2019 to add Mercado Del Parque in Laureles.

Editors note: updated on July 6, 2019 to add Mercado de Sabaneta in Sabaneta.