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Relying on the Boqueria for meals - Smart?

Afternoon all,

I'm visiting Barcelona for a couple days in June with my parents. I've reserved one dinner (paella at Can Majo), but intend on having the other two lunches/one dinner at the Boqueria. In my mind, I imagine it as a gigantic building with hundreds of food stalls, where we can browse around and pick-and-choose what to try. Is this notion correct? Or should I be looking to reserve actual meals at sit-down restaurants?

I've tried searching Boqueria on the boards but the Chowhound search engine has been down for a couple days for me. Any suggestions/tips are much appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. I enjoyed some fantastic fresh juices when I was there, but I didn't see it as a place I could gather a meal. But maybe I was overwhelmed.

    I wouldn't depend on the market, but I also wouldn't bother reserving every meal. I remember there was this sunny plaza very close to Las Ramblas that had several restaurants, and Lonely Planet suggested one that was nice but not too much. It was good and I never would have found it without the guidebook.

    1. Sort of... ther are lots of shops, but they are not food stalls per se. You could put together a sort of picnic box but there is nowhere at the market to sit and eat. There are, of course, some nice kiosks selling prepared food, coffee etc like universal etc but these are sit down at the bar cafes.

      The market is to all intents and purposes closed on an evening though there are tapas places on the edge..

      1. You can certainly have lunch for the two days that you'll be in Barcelona at the Boqueria. Just to add a couple of comments to an earlier post on the few kiosks(I think there are 6 serving very similar type of food) that are in the Boqueria. They have only counter seatings each with no more than 12 seats (no tables) and can be very crowded during lunch time. If you are thinking about a food court where one buys food from different kiosks and bring to a central seating area to eat, this is not the set up. The boqueria is mostly retail with fish, produce, deli and various other stalls. Also having lunch both days might not be so convenient as one might be taking in sights in another part of the city. And the Boqueria closes around 7pm and the kiosks will be shut down even before that.

        1. I agree with PBSF. The only places where you can actually grab a meal are at a few 'bars'. The set-up is that you basically sit at the counter (if you can grab a stool) or eat counterside standing. Bar Pinoxto and El Quim de Boqueria serve what's fresh for the day at Boqueria Market. But yes, it is an actual 'market' selling fresh produce. I would highly recommend either reserving at some restaurants (though paella is not one of Barcelona's strengths) or having tapas at a variety of places. Just invade the bar..no reservations required for tapas.

          1. Thanks for the advice, very helpful! I think I'm going to go with the following plan:

            Thursday 6/11 - Arrive at hotel around 4pm, wander down to Boqueria, snack around, dinner at Can Majo at 8:15.
            Friday 6/12 - Restaurant San Joan, visit Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, wander around, dinner at Paco Meralgo

            I'm also looking at Cinc Sentits, but not sure how to work it in. I might drop Can Majo in favor of Cinc, but having a paella on an outside terrace near the beach sounds like a nice way to kick off the vacation!

            2 Replies
            1. re: CGengomics

              Also please keep in mind that the actual dinners in Spain start at 10-11pm. Lunch at 3pm.

              1. re: trvlcrzy

                go to "el quim" in la boqueria. (the stall had wooden paneling) get the baby squid with eggs. hands down, best food in la boqueria.

            2. Aaaaargh! Just back from Barcelona! Ate twice in the market. Think that there are lots of options and the amount of locals indulging is always a good indication of quality. Prices excellent and if you want to have an authentically rustic experience, then I would definitely go for it.

              When you head up to L'Eixample, for Sagrada Famillia, la Pedresa etc, then there is an excellent place on Carrer Mallorca, called Cerveceria Catalana. Gets busy later but ate all sorts of terrific stuff there.

              1. I think you can surely eat a meal at the Boqueria (as mentioned below, there are various "restaurants" inside but seating is very limited. I wouldn't say it's a great idea to eat there for every meal as you aren't going to always want to be on La Rambla or nearby. Bar Pinotxo (Pinocho) is the best in my opinion.

                Dinner is from 9-11 (depending on the night of the week) and lunch is 2-4 (if you get to Sant Joan at 2 or 2:30 on a Saturday, you will wait for a table) - weekdays it depends. If you dont' want to wait, arrive on the earlier side (1:45). Eating dinner at 8:15 isn't a big deal but you very well might be there alone (or with other tourists, but no real Catalans eat that early).

                Except for trendy/touristy places (Cinc Sentits, for example), no reservations should be necessary - plus it's more fun that way!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Barcelonian

                  Is Sant Joan open on saturdays then?

                  1. re: mr_gimlet

                    yes, it is. M-Sat, lunch only. If it's a holiday, they will be closed. I also believe they are closed all of August.

                2. For me, that's the beauty of Barcelona (and Spain) -- just walk around and try different things, especially if you haven't been there.

                  1. Yes smart idea.

                    Pinotxo is my favourite kiosko within the market, justifies the hype, try their garbanzos (with butifarra or chipirones), any of their seafood items (almejas, tallerines etc), their revueltos and other egg dishes, their heartier meat options, everything really, interact with other customers to the extent possible, its all part of the fun and theatre.

                    Great shop towards the back of the market is called La Masia de la Boqueria where you can find excellent deli and picnic items - cheeses (try Nevat, a Catalan goat's cheese), cold cuts, pates (excellent Spanish foie gras), relishes and jams (try a jar of confitura/mermelda de tomate, excellent with cheese).

                    There's a decent bread stall in the market, good bread is notoriously hard to find in Barcelona and in Spain more generally.

                    To the side of the market is a little square called Placa de Sant Galdric where you will find a much better than average tapas bar called Bar Papitu. Terrace seating where you can sit down, eat + drink and absorb some of the atmosphere of the nearby market.

                    Here's a link to a map of the market - http://www.boqueria.info/Eng/index.php - Pinotxo is #466, La Masia #965 and Papitu is behind # 51 - 57.