Barcelona’s dining scene is as vibrant and bohemian as the city itself. If you are struggling to secure a table at Tickets or scrape together the funds for a menú de degustación, you won’t be disappointed by the bustling and bountiful markets which offer a budget-friendly alternative. Let ShBarcelona share some of the city’s markets with you.
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Mercat de la Boqueria
Most famous of all is the Mercat de la Boqueria, located behind the Grand Teatre del Liceu just off La Rambla. Spilling over with an abundance of the finest Catalan produce, Boqueria is a true culinary cornucopia. If you’re not familiar with Catalan cuisine, take a seat at one of the many bars specialising in tapas cooked to order straight from the stalls: king prawns and oysters washed down with cava make for the perfect inexpensive indulgence. If you prefer takeaway, the stalls offering Catalan delicacies ‘to go’ such as Arròs Negre (black rice flavoured with squid ink) or Fideuà (paella made with noodles) are not to be missed.
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Mercat de Santa Caterina
If you wish to taste more of the rainbow, head to the Santa Caterina in La Ribera. Look for the brightly-coloured, Gaudí-inspired roof, under which you will find produce every bit as good as that of Boqueria in a far less frenetic environment. Take home the day’s catch fresh from one of the many seafood stalls, or delve into the barrels of fragrant herbs and spices – peppercorns, pimentòn and saffron, bright with the primary colours of Spain and Catalonia. There are fresh fruits and vegetables aplenty, and the local market traders will be happy to help you negotiate your culinary wish list. Though you are certain to be understood in Spanish or English, if you can manage a smattering of Catalan when talking to traders, this will be received most warmly.
There are many other fine markets scattered throughout the city. The further you stray from the tourist trail, the less crowded and better value you will find them, though not lacking in quality. It is, therefore, worth making the effort to discover and sample these markets for yourself. They encapsulate all that is great about Barcelona: fresh and flavoursome produce; colour and light; architecture and sound; but most of all, the city’s best asset: its people.
Have you visited one of the markets yet?