It may very well be the most famous food market in the world today. It is large, vibrant and contains an incredible selection of both fresh and cooked foods, ranging from immaculate fresh seafood to a surfeit of meat and poultry to an amazing array of mushrooms to a kaleidoscope of vegetables, fruits, nuts and candies and more. What really sets Barcelona’s La Boqueria (aka Mercat de St Josep) apart, though, aside from its premiere tourist-friendly location just off Las Ramblas, is the quality of its small kiosk restaurants, which provides some of the best breakfast and lunch bites in the city. While my son, L.J. and I were in Barcelona to experience the restaurants of Albert Adriá, we met some friends from home, who were visiting the city and took them on a tour of this famous market.
Our first stop was the always wonderful Bar Pinotxo, where Juanito Bayen and the Asín family have regaled visitors with a positive attitude and delicious food for decades. We scored seats at the bar right in front of Juanito and started with coffee and xixos, their delicious donut like pastries and graduated to bocadillos of tortilla con verduras. We were off to a flying start!
We meandered down the aisles to our next stop, the equally loved, Bar Quim de La Boqueria, where, this being late January, we were once again able to snag four seats right at the bar. Here, we sampled a few savory bites of albondigas, croquetas and chanquetes over Spanish fried eggs from the staff of Chef/owner Quim Marquez Duran. We were on a roll!
Our next and final stop for sampling was the nearby Kiosko Universal, known for its seafood, in particular it’s seafood a la plancha. We ordered some cigalas and navajas a la plancha and an octopus salad. It was a satisfying end to a fine Friday brunch.
We continued to wander the market to see all its visual splendor. The best way to stay in Barcelona, if one enjoys cooking, is to rent an apartment with a good kitchen and shop the markets like the Boqueria or other neighborhood markets, which, in some respects, are even better, when seriously shopping to cook. I particularly like the Mercat de Sta. Caterina in the Barrio Gotico section of Barcelona. See here for all of the photos in the Flick’r Photoset from the Boqueria and here for those from a stop at Sta. Caterina.