Spain's most famous indoor food market is there Boqueria of Barcelona!
Let's find out everything about this lively, colorful but above all appetizing place.
It is one of the oldest markets in Spain, also called San Josep Market: born in the early seventeenth century at the gates of Barcelona, it changed headquarters in 1836, positioning itself approximately in the middle of Las Ramblas, where it still stands today (between the Palazzo della Virreina and the Liceu Theater).
It occupies more than 2500 square meters e it has over 300 stalls selling fruit, vegetables, fish and meat - often organized according to the shade of colors - and are super-photographed by tourists! There is no shortage of refreshment points, which are a real temptation for the palate: from bars to restaurants to fry shops.
There are always people and a carefree shouting in the Boqueria. The vendors are friendly and their looks are also cheery; for example, when you go there, notice the lacy aprons of the meat and fish traders.
But be careful because there are some pickpockets out there: in addition to looking at the food, therefore, watch your back!
Cosa means Boqueria
There are several hypotheses on the etymology of the term "Boqueria".
According to someone it would derive from carn de boc, that is mutton, the type of meat most sold in the Boqueria.
Others associate the word to the French term boucherie, which means butchery.
The nicest explanation of all - so it's the one it's nice to believe - instead connects the name to the word badoqueria, which means "open mouth": given that the market was accessed from the city, it is said that its beauty left everyone speechless.
For many reasons:
- To live an aesthetic (and olfactory!) Gratifying experience;
- To go shopping, grabbing excellent ingredients with which to prepare your own holiday meals!
In fact, especially if you are staying in apartments or in an aparthotel with a kitchen or kitchenette, cooking will allow you to save money and it will be a pleasure, because it will make you feel at home while away from home.
And if, in general, in life you love to put yourself in the kitchen, consider that many bars and restaurants in Barcelona stock up right at the Boqueria: if you wish, you will therefore have the opportunity to try your hand at gourmet gastronomic preparations on "equal terms", that is, using the same ingredients used by illustrious chefs.
On the contrary, if the idea of cooking does not appeal to you, fall back on the other thousand possibilities that the city offers: paella, bocadillos, tapas, or whatever you prefer. Barcelona with its many dining options will certainly not leave you hungry.
- To indulge in delicious tastings (sellers will offer you many);
- To make real meals in the bars and restaurants of the Boqueria: in a following paragraph we will give you our suggestions.
What to see in the Ramblas Go to the complete guide
What to buy
Making a generic list talking about meat, fish, bread, fruit and fresh fruit juices, cheeses, would sound aseptic and not give a good idea.
At the Boqueria, in fact, you can buy everything and more: this market is a real kingdom of food, and its appearance looks like a work created by an eccentric artist!
You will see “classic” fruit (sold at bargain prices) and colorful exotic fruit alternating with throbbing live fish, molluscs, crustaceans. And, again, nuts, seeds, cheeses, common vegetables and strange, sometimes disturbing vegetables, to conclude with meats of all kinds: from game, to red meats, to organically raised chicken.
Choose according to your personal tastes, possibly also trying some unusual food, and don't give up on eating something even on site, in one of the many refreshment points.
Those who want to stay lighter can fall back on buying cut fruit or a nice fruit centrifuge.
Where to eat
It's hard to eat badly at La Boqueria!
However, in our opinion, four restaurants represent the top.
The Quim of La Boqueria
A typical restaurant with an equally typical atmosphere, offering an extensive menu.
Fresh fish and meat dishes (you will see it displayed on the counter), eggs, shrimps, vegetables, croquettes… To start making your mouth water, take a look at the extensive menu.
The staff is kind but also skilled! The space is in fact small, yet everyone manages to juggle the small spaces available, including pots, pans and hot plates, creating (involuntarily!) A pleasant spectacle for the patrons.
The prices are medium-high and you will have to have the patience to queue up a bit, since it is a renowned place and which - unfortunately - does not accept reservations, but it will certainly be worth it, also because the service is fast.
The booth number is 582.
How welcoming and quaint this is bar-restaurant which is located right at the entrance to the Boqueria: there are many stools lined up near the counter ready to attract customers.
Behind a hospitable appearance, the substance is there: the ingredients are treated with minimal manipulation so as not to lose their essence, and the choice is wide.
You can enjoy meat, from chicken to veal, to Iberian pork sausage, or omelettes, cheeses, tapas; the flagship is certainly represented by fresh fish, molluscs and crustaceans.
Prawns, oysters, mussels, clams, tuna steaks, fresh grilled or fried fish… Deciding what to order will be a difficult task.
The service is fast, the prices average, the portions large and the staff nice.
Booth number: 550.
Modern Kiosk Bar
Not a bad kiosk: in fact, you often have to queue.
They propose very fresh fish on display: the customer can choose it and the very kind and tireless staff cook it on the spot, fried or grilled.
There is also Galician octopus, meat (including lamb), appetizing ham croquettes and various tapas that you will not forget.
You can accompany it all with an excellent sangria or with a very fresh beer.
The quality-price ratio is also good.
The stand is number 364.
This bar is an old place - in the market since 1940! - that offers Catalan cuisine made with market products, with absolute preference for seasonal ones.
They offer simple tapas of meat and fish, of excellent quality and their specialties are fresh fish, Cap i pota (made with veal head and legs) and calamari with beans from Santa Pau.
We also recommend it for breakfast: they can make an excellent cappuccino and, please, do yourself harm (or good?) With the cream donut.
The booth is number 465.
Here is a map of Boqueria for you in which we have highlighted the best restaurants we have told you about: so you can find them more easily.
Where to eat in the Ramblas See the complete guide
Where is it and how to get there
Address: Rambla, 91
Stop of the metro: LICEU, on the L3 green line
bus public: lines 59, V13
For those arriving in auto, there is a car park near La Rambla in the Barrio Gotico.
Open Monday to Saturday from 8.00 to 20.30
Cost of entry
Alternative: Santa Caterina Market
Once you've visited the Boqueria, the huge and emblematic food market, doesn't it make sense to see others in Barcelona? Not at all.
In particular, the Santa Caterina Market, the result of the redevelopment of an old local market in 1845, carried out by illustrious architects and completed in 2005.
This market has magnificent Barcelona-style architecture, all to be admired and photographed: in particular, its roof is striking, made of multicolored wavy ceramic on wood. And the colors are inspired by those of fruit and vegetables!
This place in a short time has become a city icon and has revived an entire district of Barcelona, the Ribera.
The market is located on Av. De Francesc Cambó, and here too you will find quality regional products: fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, cold cuts and flowers.
There are also some excellent restaurants, less crowded than those in the Boqueria.