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My favorite places to eat in La Boqueria in Barcelona (and one bucket-list place I still need to try

Going to La Boqueria in Barcelona can be a very intimidating thing, because it’s huge and most times during the day it will be extremely crowded, largely with tourists wielding cameras of all sizes. (Full disclosure: I’ve been one of them several times.) If you’re staying at a hotel, going there can make you feel a little sad that you can’t buy some of the amazing meats and produce and make a great meal out of them, but one way to alleviate this is to eat at one (or several!) of the food stands contained there.

My personal favorite is Bar Pinotxo, which is right inside the entrance and is beloved around the world. The main bartender Juanito Bayen is still as energetic as ever, and will offer his signature two-thumbs-up pose if you ask him for a picture. The food here is marvelous; a personal favorite is the chickpeas with morcilla sausage (that would be blood sausage), but be sure to ask for whatever looks particularly good. Be forewarned that this place is cash only and isn’t terribly cheap, but if you can grab a stool it’s well worth the effort.

If the bars up front are a madhouse, consider heading further into the market to try out Bar Central. We came here during our first trip to Barcelona, and for a Tuesday afternoon it was fairly quiet and the food was great. It’s not quite as well-known or popular as Bar Pinotxo, but the prices are a little better as a result.

Meanwhile, one place that is still on my bucket list is El Quim de la Boqueria. Like Bar Pinotxo, this place fills up quickly, and it’s advisable to get there early. Unlike most of the bars at La Boqueria, El Quim opens at noon, so be ready to get there before it opens. They are known for their gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic), and a reader of my food blog had reached out to the owners and requested the recipe, which she then shared with me--if you’re curious, you can check it out here. I’m absolutely dying to try the real thing--hopefully on our next trip there!

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Oleg Shak
Oleg Shak

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