Market Meccas for Foodies in Barcelona
Barcelona, along with San Sebastian and Madrid, is a gourmet hotspot for food and wine loving travelers with its array of Michelin starred restaurants, cozy wine bars, specialty olive oil and chocolate shops and some of the best food markets in Spain (there are over 40 markets in Barcelona, all run by the local municipality). Two picture perfect gourmet markets for visitors to check out right downtown are La Boqueria and Santa Caterina, both built in the 1800´s.
Mercat de La Boqueria
The Boqueria is definitely the most photogenic and spectacular covered market in Spain, if not Europe. Stall after tantalizing stall offer shoppers a never ending selection of goodies from: exotic fruits from around the world, particularly Asia and South America; prepared half coconuts with spoons ” to go”, candies and nuts in every color; countless sea creatures and fish from the Mediterranean, Atlantic and further afield; cured Spanish hams (Iberico, Bellota, etc) and artisan charcuterie; Foie from Girona; dozens of wild mushrooms, ceps, boletus and trufles from Spain, France, Italy; high end Spanish olive oils from Extremadura, Catalunya, Andalusia and Rioja; and butchers selling literally EVERY part of the pig, sheep, rabbit and cow from pigs feet to sheep´s balls to… you get the picture. Apart from the food stalls, there are wine shops and bookshops specializing in gastronomy books within the market. While visiting the Boqueria, it´s fun to have a Catalan breakfast or brunch and our 2 favorite bars are the mythical Pinotxo and El Quim de la Boqueria. Start with a glass of Cava from the nearby wine region of Penedès, then enjoy tapas such as Garbanzos with pinenuts and “Morcilla” black pudding, and salt cod marinated in olive oil on country bread.
Open Mondays to Saturdays 8AM to 8:30PM. Location- La Rambla, 89 in Barcelona
Mercat de Santa Caterina
The Santa Caterina market was built in 1848 in the “Ciutat Vella” (old town) on top of the remains of a convent, which is the origin of the name (Saint Catherine). Recently renovated (by husband-wife architect team Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue) and now included even in the Barcelona Tourist Office’s gourmet walking tours, this market is a treat. Pick up goodies such as succulent figs; small production cheese from a farmer in the Pyrenees; delicate hake cheeks; Arbequina olive oil; spicy piquillo peppers; Bottarga (tuna roe); paper thinly sliced Guijuelo ham… and if you want to stay for a market lunch, check out the beautiful vaulted Restaurant Cuines de Santa Caterina with its Asian infused Catalan cuisine.