Barcelona is a vibrant Spanish city known for its eclectic, fresh cuisine—a defining part of Catalan culture. However, it is in Barcelona’s famous food markets where the city’s food really shines; with almost 40 distinctive markets spread throughout the city, visitors can find everything from authentic Catalan cuisine to local delicacies and traditional favorites. Freshness is the way of the day at these unique markets that carry everything from local fruits and veggies to fresh meat and fish. Below are some of Barcelona’s most famous markets—and the best local delicacies to sample while you’re visiting.
Barcelona’s Most Famous Market: La Boquería
La Boquería is quite possibly the most famous market in Barcelona—since 1836 it has been a favorite spot for both locals and tourists alike who want to nosh on the region’s best cuisine. Situated on the bustling boulevard of La Rambla (one of the city’s most famous landmarks), this Central Barcelona spot is one of the best ways to experience the city’s cultural and food scenes.
What To Eat At La Boquería
- Barcelona is known for having some of the best paellas in the country, and Bar Central, one of the most popular spots in La Boqueria, is one of the best places to try it.
- Simple, yet delicious, escalivada is one of Spain’s most iconic dishes—made with fresh eggplant and peppers that are usually grilled over an open flame, the quality of the ingredients is what really makes this sandwich a star. Give it a try at El Quim de la Boquería, one of the market's most popular spots.
The Eclectic Offerings Of Mercat de Sant Antoni
Sant Antoni is a small, yet extremely trendy neighborhood in Barcelona known for its variety of restaurants and shops—and most notably, the San Antoni Market. Welcoming visitors since 1882, the market was recently renovated in 2018 and is the home to everything under the sun—clothes, books, clothing, home goods, and, of course, fresh produce, fish, and meat. The perfect spot to explore Barcelona’s bohemian side, this lovely market is also a great place to find a delicious meal.
What To Eat At Mercat de San Antoni
- The San Antoni Market is known for its plethora of produce stands, fishmongers, and charcuteries—making it the perfect spot to try local favorites like mató cheese and Spanish cured Iberian ham (Jamón Iberico).
- If browsing the stalls isn’t for you, then settle in at the market’s most popular restaurant Casa Blanca to try local favorites like Homey Cannelloni (canelones caseros hechos con paciencia).
The Colorful Mercat de Santa Caterina
Another well-known market in Barcelona is the Mercat de Santa Caterina—located in the Born neighborhood, this market stands out from the crown due to its vibrant, multi-colored roof that can be seen from afar. With a lively atmosphere and a myriad of deliciously fresh options, Santa Caterina is a great spot to grab a bite.
What To Eat At Mercat de Santa Caterina
- Belly up to the counter at the popular Bar Joan and taste some traditional Catalan faves like Capipota (pork-based stew), or a homemade dessert like Crema Catalana
- Barestaurant L’Univers is a great spot for tapas—be sure to keep your eyes peeled for Barcelona faves like Chipiriones Fritos (fried squid), Esquixada (salt cod salad served with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and olives), and Sepia (Grilled Cuttlefish).
An Architectural Gem: Mercat de Sants
Located in the neighborhood of Sants, Mercat de Sants, like Mercat de Caterina, is known for its distinctive Modernista architecture that includes classic details and a charming, spacious modern feel. Chock full of produce stands and delish counters where visitors can grab a ready-made bite, this neighborhood fave is a Barcelona must-visit.
What To Eat At Mercat de Sants
- Be on the lookout for popular favorites—such as the tapas bar stars croquetas. Though the fillings in these croquettes vary, Iberian ham is a local fave.
- Arrom is a well-known charcuterie in Mercat de Sants—but they also offer delish sandwich offerings. Be on the lookout for traditional Catalan fillings like Oxtail (rabo de buey) and porchetta on coca.
Other Barcelona Delicacies To Try
Barcelona is known for having some of the best traditional Catalan dishes out there—and most can be found at any one of their amazing markets. Below are some more Spanish delicacies to keep a lookout for when strolling through these vibrant marketplaces.
- Fideua is similar to paella—though instead of rice, it’s made with pasta. Crispy and delicious, this dish is a great way to showcase the seafood Barcelona is famous for.
- A simple and delicious staple, the tortilla española is made by cooking potato, onions, and eggs into a delicious omelet-esque treat that is often filled with a variety of ingredients.
- Traditional Bombas are a work of art—stuffed mashed potatoes filled with a variety of fillings (try spiced octopus), then breaded and fried to perfection.
There is no shortage of famous markets to explore in Barcelona—and if you’re looking to try the best local delicacies, these eclectic, vibrant marketplaces are the way to go. Full of everything from uber-fresh produce and seafood to restaurants and food counters that wow, these mainstays of Barcelona cuisine are a must-visit for anyone looking to explore this Spanish city’s world-renowned food scene.