La Boquería I | © G0DeX

It’s often billed as the world’s best market. And while this is a bold claim indeed, when you’re sitting side-by-side with a companion at one of its long, convivial tapas bars, quaffing cava and watching chefs work wonders with phenomenally fresh produce, you might agree Barcelona’s La Boqueria is just that. But there’s only so much room in your belly and choosing what to fill it with can be difficult, with seemingly limitless options of great looking food at every turn and every bump into a punter. One of those good problems then, that we’re more than happy to help with. Read on, for our 5 IDEAL things to eat at La Boqueria food market, Barcelona.

BREAKFAST AT EL QUIM

Hair of the dog and hangover be damned; there’s no better way to start the day than with two fried eggs and a beer (well, you are on holiday, right?) and El Quim is famous for this true breakfast of champions. Their specialty is two fried eggs with baby squid or black pudding. Or both, if you’re greedy like us.

Huevos con chipirones | © El Quim de la Boqueria 

But why stop there? If the seating and stomach space allow you, why not see things through to lunch? Other plates on the menu to try are cigrons amb cloïsses (chickpeas with clams) and xipirons amb mongetes de Santa Pau (baby squid with white beans). According to those in the know (the place is populated by chefs from other restaurants) the ideal time to get to El Quim when its shutters go up and the first egg gets fried. So whether it’s hair of the dog or still up from the night before, it’s the best way to soak up Barcelona’s booze and start a new day. A touch bracing for breakfast? Well, you’ve come to the wrong place then.

TAPAS AT LA PINOTXO

Juanito, the head barman and owner of La Pinotxo for the last 50 years, exudes warmth and conviviality and is perhaps the greatest character of the market. Dressed to the nines, he is reason alone to visit this great little stool’n’stare joint. The food though, is not be sniffed at. This is a late morning and lunch time affair, so rock up too late and you’re going to be disappointed. Try their speciality baby lamb cutlets in a mushroom sauce or tripe stew. 

Pinotxo bar  | © Güldem Üstün
Rockfish at Pinotxo bar and Chickpeas Pinotxo bar  | © kerinin

SEAFOOD AT KIOSKO UNIVERSAL

Always busy, and not just because it’s the first place you can get a beer after passing through La Boqueria’s main entrance, Kiosko Universal specialises in seafood sourced straight from adjacent market stalls cooked ‘a la plancha’ – on the grill. It’s served simply, as it should be, with straightforward dressings and seasonings designed to let the fish shine. Sit here long enough and it’s likely you’ll be treated to a busking performance from local musicians which will have you scrambling for spare change to give.

JAMON AT JAMONISIO

Jamon iberico is possibly the nation’s favourite food, and it’s truly abundant in La Boqueria, with legs propped up on wooden plinths and shoulders hanging from just about anywhere you can fix a hook to. Best to defer to the experts, then, on the best purveyor of the good stuff. And this time, we don’t mean us. Ferran Adria, arguably the most influential living chef, swears by Jamonisio. ‘Nuff said.

FRUIT SMOOTHIES EVERYWHERE

We know we already mentioned that hangover, but it does seem to be a bit of an ever present when visiting Barcelona. The greatest cure we’ve been able to find is a refreshing, revitalising fruit smoothie from one of the many market stalls which specialise in them. Coming in all manner of flavour combinations, the common thread here is maximum freshness from superb produce. So, choose your poison; they’re everywhere.