So you’re in Barcelona and you love food – we’re off to a good start.
It might not be front and centre of the average itinerary, but the great foodie pilgrimage the city has laid at our feet with La Boqueria Market can’t be missed.
The only problem is it’s a bit of a jerk – it wants your money.
So how do we go in guns blazing?
With my guide of course. Let’s get sat at the best restaurants in the market, find the best quality stuff at stalls, and leave like locals without getting swindled… vamos!
La Boqueria Market Barcelona Info
- Barcelona’s biggest food market with 40,000 visitors a day.
- Dates back to a 1217 meat market on the same spot.
- Named after boc (‘goat’ in Catalan) meaning ‘place where goat is sold’.
- Voted best food market in the world by CNN.
- Home to a huge range of food products, handicrafts, and farmer’s shops.
- Most stalls owned by fourth and fifth generation heirs.
- Popular for seafood tapas, ham, and fruit smoothies.
Best La Boqueria Restaurants
For this reason your best bet is to go early as possible for breakfast.
There are no reservations. If you want to sit down there’s some skill to it. You’ll need to lurk around people who look about to finish eating then pounce on the chairs when they pay.
Expect to wait about 25-30 minutes.
El Quim de La Boqueria
At stall 606 you look up and see the yellow metal sheeting and the distinctive ‘egg Q’ logo.
This Boqueria restaurant that every local raves about started as a tiny 5 stool bar in 1987. It’s now a 16 meter counter that’s plugged with people from dusk till dawn. Most of the traditional Spanish dishes here work for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The house specialty that you need to try? Fried eggs with baby squid.
Other favourites include the grilled garlic shrimp, foie gras with caramelized onion and wild mushroom, and oxtail risotto. Get them all and gorge! With wine/sangria expect to pay about 25 euros per person.
Hours: Mon 12:00-16:00, Tues-Thurs 07:00-16:00, Fri-Sat 07:00-17:00 (Sunday closed).
More info at El Quim de La Boqueria.
Forget restaurants at La Boqueria. I’ve had people tell me that stalls 466-470 are home to the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona period.
This small family-run business is a relief from the showboating, loudmouthed staff of other bars trying to angle tourists. Here they let their food do the talking. If you want a no frills flavour explosion this is your place.
Nobody leaves this restaurant without getting garbanzo beans with blood sausage. You also can’t go wrong with the beef cheek stew or eggplant omelette. Look to pay 20-25 a person with coffee/wine.
Hours: Mon-Sat 06:30-16:00 (Sunday closed).
More info at Bar Pinotxo.
Starting at stall 691 is a restaurant that’s no slouch in the tapas department.
This counter specializes in grilled seafood directly from the market. There’s a freshness here you won’t find anywhere else. If you love cooking it’s fascinating to watch the cooks at work. There are decent portions here so 2-3 tapas should do it for two people.
Here the specialties are the grilled sardines, Galician octopus, and calamari. If you’re feeling gluttonous then go for the grilled seafood platter to sample a bit of everything. Expect to pay about 20-25 euros per person.
There’s no need to lurk around this restaurant: they take your name and put you in a queue.
Hours: Mon-Sat 08:00-17:00 (Sunday closed).
Food Shopping at La Boqueria Barcelona
It’s never a bad idea to cook if you’re staying in a holiday apartment with a kitchen – and there’s no better place to grab some top notch ingredients than La Boqueria Market.
So how do I know which stalls are the best?
I did a food market tour with the famous chef Iker Erauzkin, who for years was head of La Boqueria’s famous culinary school. If he doesn’t know the best stalls then nobody does.
Spain produces an astonishing 40 million hams a year and some of the best ones end up here.
Here we’re not concerned as much about stalls as we are ensuring we get a good quality cut of jamon. If you’re in it to win it you’re going to skip the cheapo ham-filled cones you see being sold and go for the goods.
We’re looking for Jamon Iberico de Bellota.
These pata negra (black-hooved) pigs raised on the Spain-Portugal border roam free range through old growth forests and dine on herbs, grass, and most importantly bellotas (acorns). The result is a nutty and beautifully marbled melt-in-your-mouth slice of cured meat.
It’s unlikely you’ll get it for much cheaper at other Barcelona markets, but an elite brand to keep an eye out for is called Cinco Jotas – just be prepared to pay €10.00+ for 100 grams 😉
Fruit and Vegetables
The fruit and vegetable stalls are without a doubt the most colorful and fascinating of all the market. You’ll find everything from exotic fruits to different types of chili peppers to edible flowers!
Make sure to grab yourself a fruit cup or smoothie for the walk around.
Among many options I find the best quality/price ratio at Fruites y Verdures Soley Roser in stall 509.
Mushroom lovers should head to Petras Fruits del Bosc at stall 867.
Of all the food markets in Barcelona this is the perfect place for top quality cuts but be careful: they have the prices to match!
For all your juicy meat entrees I recommend Carnisseria Soler Ferran Capella at stall 431. The specialty here is a cut of meat called cabeza de la reina (Queen’s head).
Poultry, Game, and Pate
At Boqueria Market you can also find good game meat and organically raised chickens.
A trick to recognize the organic chickens is that the skin of the flesh is yellow. Stay away from the whitish skin and keep your ecological conscience at ease.
To buy the best chicken and game head to Avinova at stall 703.
Lovers of good fish who have stuffed themselves silly with our list of best restaurants in Barcelona won’t be able to resist themselves in front of all the fresh tuna, salmon and shellfish!
Freshly caught crabs, shrimp, sea urchins, mussels, and clams of all sizes will move in front of your very eyes. We recommend Eva Peix Pepi at stall 801.
Tip: A dead giveaway for not-so-fresh fish is a grayish cloudiness in the eyes.
La Boqueria Market Hours
The market is open Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 8:30 pm (closed Sunday).
Some of the stalls shut as early as 2 pm so it’s best to get there beforehand. In general the best time to visit is between 10 am and 12 pm when the market is all set up but still not roaring busy.
For more visiting hours information consult the official website.
How to Get to La Boqueria
La Boqueria Market is at 91 La Rambla and is reached by Liceu metro on the green line (L3).
You’ll find it about half way down Barcelona’s most famous street.
From Plaça de Catalunya it’s about an 8 minute walk down hill and you’ll find it on your right hand side. Walking 5 minutes up hill from the Columbus Statue and cruise ship port you’ll find it on your left.
The two closest Bus Turistic stops are Plaça de Catalunya and Museu Maritim.
You can also reach the food market with buses 59, 91, and V13.
La Boqueria Guided Tours
Chef’s Tour + Paella Cooking Workshop
Wouldn’t it be a waste seeing all these ingredients without a chef to put them together?
During this informative small group tour you’ll learn the secrets of the market as you pick up ingredients to make a traditional Spanish lunch under the guidance of a trained local chef.
So roll up your sleeves and get in there! There’s plenty of wine for encouragement. By the time you leave you’ll know how to cook (and have eaten) Spanish classics like seafood paella, gazpacho, Spanish omelette, and crema catalana.
Price: €68.00 (children €50.00).
Duration: 4 hours (Tues, Thurs, Fri 10:30 am to 2:30 pm).
The Iker Erauzkin Tour
Famous Basque chef Iker Erauzkin can take you on a guided tour of La Boqueria Market then cook you a customized lunch or dinner to your tastes at his home/kitchen in Barcelona’s Sants neighbourhood.
This is a truly unique and relaxing experience where you’ll feel at home – you can even go into the kitchen, open his fridge and grab a cold one while he cooks for you.
Upon advanced request (with necessary compensation, of course) the chef can even cook in your apartment.
For more info contact him on his Facebook page.
La Boqueria Market Hacks
- Prices generally drop the deeper into the market you go.
- Sangria is for tourist suckers! The locals drink vermouth or tinto de verano (a cold wine drink).
- Tins of Spanish paprika are way cheaper at supermarkets.
- Around closing time (8:30 pm) you can find deals on almost anything.
- Don’t go too early! 10 am is when it really gets going.
- The fruit smoothies should be €1.50 or 2 for €2 (if they look separated they’ve sat out a while).
- The non-Rambla entrance has a massive square to relax in the sun.
- Bring cash as many vendors don’t have debit machines.
- Parents: just behind this square on the right is a playground for kids.
- Those delicious little tapas on bread are 50% cheaper on the famous Calle Blai.
- There’s a decent public toilet if you have 50 cents exact change.
- Try not to touch the products: ask for assistance first (most speak decent English).
Get More Boqueria Info in the Comments
If there’s something I’ve missed and you’ve got more questions about La Boqueria market then please don’t hesitate to write me in the comment section below.
And for those who visited – did it live up to all the hype or was it just overcooked? I am curious to hear 🙂
Also don’t be afraid to join the Boqueria Market discussion in my new Facebook group called I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, chat with fellow travelers, and more – anything goes!