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 opened about nine months ago. 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 Mercado Del Rio, 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 the 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 Mercado Del Rio 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 Mercado Del Rio 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 at Mercado Del Rio

Sinko Market on second floor at Mercado Del Rio

At Mercado Del Rio 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 at Mercado Del Rio

Parmessano on second floor at Mercado Del Rio

My most recent trip to Mercado Del Rio 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 at Mercado Del Rio

Hotwings Express at Mercado Del Rio

Competition?

There isn’t a place like Mercado Del Rio in any other cities in Colombia that I’m aware of.  The closest competition in Medellín would be Contenedores Food Place in Envigado and the newer Manila Food Market in the Manila barrio of El Poblado.  And the newest competition is Mercado Del Tranvía that opened in late 2017.

But Contenedores has sit down restaurants and isn’t located in a big open space. In addition, Contenedores is much smaller, as it has less then 10 restaurants. Manila Food Market is also much smaller than Mercado Del Rio.  Also, Mercado Del Tranvía is smaller with only 21 restaurants.

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. Mercado Del Rio 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”.

Mercado Del Rio in Medellín

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.