OUR HAND-PICKED RESTAURANTS IN LA BOQUERIA
When you visit the famous Market of la Boqueria, tapas should be in your to-do list. Seating on a stool in one of their amazing tapas bars, watching the cooks do magic in the tiny space of their bar kitchens, while eating spectacular local food and feeling the envious looks of the tourists walking behind you and trying to figure out what you ordered… Ah, that’s something you’ll never forget.
During my food tours we always visit the market, and I make sure to recommend to my guests my favorite Boqueria tapas bars, but eating there is such a treat I thought you shouldn’t miss it either. That’s why today I’m sharing with you where to go for a memorable market lunch.
These are our favorite La Boqueria restaurants:
Juanito, the owner of Pinotxo bar has been working there for over 50 years, and his nephew Jordi will take over when he retires (if he ever does: he loves his job and the market too much!). Juanito will always receive you with a wide smile, and will suggest his foamy coffee and a chucho (deep fried dough stuffed with cream) if you come on time for breakfast.
Or insist you try his world-famous chick peas with blood sausage (don’t be put away by the ingredients: just eat it and you’ll thank me later) and his beautiful white beans with baby calamari. The rest of his dishes are wonderful, too, but these two are just heavenly. You’ll find Pinotxo right at the entrance of the market.
I’ll never be able to make a final choice: is Pinotxo really my favorite Boqueria restaurant, or is it El Quim instead? Chosing one over the other would be disloyal (and I love both of them too much to do that). So let’s consider it a fair tie: you should try both! That’s what we recommend to do on our lunchtime Tapas Tours. Quim counts already a couple of decades serving meals in the market, and while his seafood is great, it’s his eggs what have made him famous: fried eggs with either baby calamari, or fried fish, or caramelized mushrooms are his flagship (with the permission of his array of veggie omelets).
In his dishes of the day he allows some flashier cooking techniques that add some color to his otherwise traditional recipes – make sure to ask what’s on for today! And if you are visiting in the winter, don’t miss his artichoke chips! They’ll make you melt of pleasure – they are my favorite Boqueria Tapas! Go down the central alley, then turn on the second alley to the left to find it.
Another favorite of mine, located in the left corner from the entrance, offers the freshest fish and seafood for a very affordable price. Make sure to accompany it with a serving of their wonderful green garlic and mixed mushrooms tapa. Their bar has one of the longest counters in the market plus several tall tables under the portico, so it’s usually easier to find seat here than in the other bars.
At the end of the central alley, right past the fish section, you’ll find another phenomenal bar that might not be as famous as the other three, but it’s not going to disappoint you either. The food displayed in their counter makes your mouth water: an enticing variety of meats, veggies and seafood, plus some beautiful Spanish omelette. It’s also usually less crowded than the other bars, as well.
Not many La Boqueria restaurants offer the opportunity to seat in a table rather than a stool by the counter, and La Gardunya offers you that plus the treat of being hidden from the tourist crowds.
Very close to Bar Central, but around the corner from the toilet staircase, this tapas bar is almost outside of the market and a favorite of local neighbors. Head here if you love seafood: you won’t be disappointed. If they don’t have what you ordered, they’ll just go to the market to buy it for you. That’s what they usually do if you order barnacles (“percebes“). Couldn’t be fresher!
AND BONUS! Is there any outdoor terrace at the market? YES!
In the right side of the Barcelona Mercado de la Boquería, opens a small plaza where farmers sell their own produce every morning. Right there you’ll find Papitu, another famous Boqueria restaurant with outdoor tables and a gorgeous list of tapas to try while you drink a local beer. Delightful!
Discover in this post where to go shopping in the market after eating your Boqueria tapas.
What’s your favorite Boqueria tapas bar?
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