It’s been called ‘the greatest market in the world’ and in many ways it is. Barcelona’s Boqueria market is the largest in Europe and the best in the city. Located right on Las Ramblas, La Boqueria goes beyond a place to do your weekly food shopping in Barcelona; it is a showcase for the Spain’s vast array of seasonal produce, an inspiration for local chefs, a stage for local community events and increasingly a top tourist attraction in Barcelona.
Traders of all sorts have been peddling their wares at La Boqueria’s site since the 17th century when the city was still walled, though the soaring glass and iron structure you see today dates from the mid-19th century. Inside, there is logic to the market’s layout; in the centre you’ll find the ‘illa de peix’ (island of fish) where pearly-white cuttlefish, bucket-loads of prawns and scary-looking monkfish glisten on seas of ice. Around the edges you’ll find fruit and veg, with exotic fresh fruit juices sold at the Rambla-facing stalls.
In between you’ll wander through everything in-between, from tiny paradas selling only eggs or bananas and another with every sort of fungi under the sun (Petras, Nº 867, they also specialise in edible insects). Perhaps logically the offal and game stalls are tucked away on the outer wings and if you happen to be in need of horse or bull meat check out Carnes Serrano (stalls 142-143) one of the few butchers left in Barcelona who stock it.
Even if during your Barcelona holiday you don’t have the urge to whip up a local Catalan speciality, such as pa amb tomàquet, you can eat at one of La Boqueria’s handful of bars— a quintessential Barcelona experience that should not be missed.
The most famous is Pinotxo (stall 466) where you’ll be rubbing shoulders with market workers and top chefs who have stopped off for a glass of cava and a tapa on their rounds. Organic (stall 972) is pure veggo fare, whilst Symposion (Stall 923-924) sells the best giros in town.