Mercat de la Boqueria, the most impressive market in Barcelona
If you come to visit Barcelona, even if you spend only one weekend, one of the places you can’t miss is the Mercat de la Boqueria or Mercado de la Boqueria, if you pronounce it in Spanish. It is one of the most traditional food markets of the city and is located next to the Ramblas, in the heart of the Ciutat Vella.
In today’s Barcelona City Tellers post we are going to share with you the Mercat de la Boqueria, venturing a little bit in its history and its tradition, and, we will show you some of the most delicious restaurants in this market.
History of the Mercat de la Boqueria
The Mercat de la Boqueria is one of the best-known markets in Barcelona, if not the most. The original name of this space is “Mercat de Sant Josep de Barcelona” but popularly has been renamed “La Boqueria”, which is the name everyone calls it.
It is one of the best-known food and fresh products markets in Barcelona and one of the most popular markets in Europe. In fact, the media, such as the popular CNN network, pointed out that La Boqueria was one of the best markets in the world. Why? Because it is a space that has remained almost intact over time and, inside of it, you can still perceive the aroma of old markets, while offering top quality products.
Its popularity around the world makes it difficult to go to the Mercat de la Boqueria in a quiet visit since, for most of the day, you will find yourself surrounded by tourists who are going to visit this emblem of Barcelona. In fact, in this food market, as La Boqueria is supposed to be, there are more tourists than Barcelona local people shopping.
The history of the Mercat de la Boqueria begins in the year 1840 when the place we know today was first inaugurated. Some sources indicate that, in the same area, there was already a food market in which trade was made in the outdoors. It was in 1840 when the impressive building was built that, still today, continues to safeguard this market. Therefore, La Boqueria stands as one of the oldest markets in the world and is completely operational.
The origins of La Boqueria must be sought in the old street markets that were installed on Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Due to the increasing demand for food and goods, eventually, the number of sellers and buyers grew, something that caused them to look for a fixed location that allowed them to carry out their commercial tasks.
What does the name “Boqueria” mean?
We continue getting deeper into the history of the Mercat de la Boqueria to understand the name with which this market was entitled. There are different theories about this, but among them, the most plausible one is the one defended by the UB (University of Barcelona) in saying that the name is related to the kid meat that was sold abundantly in this market. The word “goatling” in Catalan is “boc” and, from there, it changed to La Boqueria, that is to say, the market where kid is sold.
Restaurants in the Mercat de la Boqueria
Currently, the Mercat de la Boqueria has many food stalls, but since it is a tourist attraction, you can also enjoy tapas, have a meal, or have a soda. There are restaurants and bars built that are perfect to take a break from the sightseeing day and enjoy the culinary delicacies of the city.
Now, let’s check some of the best restaurants in the Mercat de la Boqueria that are worth knowing:
El Quim, a delicious restaurant in La Boqueria.
In this restaurant, you will enjoy succulent tapas that, additionally, are made of first quality products. In El Quim, you can try dishes such as fried eggs with mushrooms, elaborated local meat dishes, or 100% Mediterranean-inspired recipes.
Another outstanding restaurant in La Boqueria is the Pinotxo Bar, a place where you can try from light dishes, such as simple and fast tapas, to more elaborate dishes such as a delicious rabbit stew with mushrooms or a traditional “butifarra amb mongetes “.
But if you are more into fish, in the Mercat de la Boqueria you will find this bar that offers the biggest fish grilled in the city. Here, you can choose your preferred types of fish and decide the accompaniment for each one. An authentic feast that is especially suitable for lovers of fish and seafood.
Our tips for visiting the Mercat de la Boqueria
Although the Mercat de la Boqueria is a must-see place, the truth is that if you want to enjoy this experience greatly, we recommend that you pay close attention to our advice for, only this way, avoiding overwhelming and feeling suffocated by so many people.
- Avoid rush hours: going to this market at 12 pm or at 6 pm is a real torture. The best thing you can do when visiting La Boqueria is to get up early in the morning or, better yet, late in the afternoon. Although, if you go during the sunset you will find many spaces closed and you will hardly find food.
- Watch your belongings: Barcelona is not a dangerous city, as many people believe, but in places with large crowds of tourists, as in La Boqueria, pickpockets are often present. So, keep your bag or backpack well controlled at all times and you will avoid a displeasure.
- Lose yourself in the Barcelona downtown: the Ciutat Vella area is one of the most spectacular places in the city because walking through it means to stroll through the history of Barcelona and enjoy old alleys, impressive buildings, and lifetime shops. So, take advantage of being in the Barcelona downtown to explore the narrow streets and discover a fascinating Barcelona.
Another place that you cannot miss of our city is its exquisite gastronomy, so we recommend that if you want to take a deep tour of the tapas of Barcelona, you sign up for our Tapas Tour, a guided tour in which we will visit three traditional spaces that depict the gastronomic culture of the city.
Marvel at one of the most classic markets in the world by visiting our Mercat de la Boqueria, where tradition meets modernity.