Photo by Tara Stevens
Kiosco de la Rambla
Three best stalls for snacking in Barcelona's Boqueria market: Kiosco de la Rambla
The words Barcelona and the Boqueria are almost synonymous yet how often do any of us use it for actual eating?
"Where shall I go for lunch?" you ponder, forgetting that some of the best food in the city is in the market itself. It is after all the veritable belly of Barcelona, the place that has sustained the good folk of the city for centuries. I have led gastronomic tours around the stalls here for years, introducing visitors to the wonders of boquerones and mojama, different types of olives and jamón, a cheeky glass of cava and some seafood, and what never fails to impress is that there’s always something new to uncover.
Kiosko La Ramba: Blink and you’d miss it, but this little puesto (market stall) remains a popular place for a cold beer, or a vermut and an anchovy filet (priced €1 each). It’s not the kind of place you find many tourists, granted, and last time I was there I was actually applauded for my "learned" choice of this most Catalan of aperitifs although I got the hour wrong; 5pm is too late to be having a snack that traditionally is more suited to noon, I was told. Still, what I also learned from Pedro—said applauder—is that Kiosko La Rambla is also the only remaining stall in the Boqueria where you can buy your ingredients from elsewhere and they’ll cook them up for you here on the plancha (grill) for a small fee.
Bacallaneries Gomá: Carmen takes more pride in her bacalao than anyone I know and if you’re after a hunk of this glossy, pearly-fleshed salt cod for supper—try it topped with sobrassada (the Mallorcan pork sausage spread), a drizzle of honey and grilled—this is the place to get it, along with hunks of mojama (air-cured tuna from the south) and L’Escala anchovies. She also does a nice line in take-away Catalan-style ‘fish and chips’ and pintxos (skewers) of feather-light bunyols or buñuelos (salt cod fritters), which she whips up using egg whites and beer and never, ever mashes the cod. "It has to be torn into small pieces," she says "to retain the texture." Make sure they’re fresh from the fryer for crunch.
El Quim de la Boqueria: For a proper sit-down breakfast or lunch look no further than the chef’s favourite, El Quim de la Boqueria. He boasts more than 50 regular dishes (a number set to increase now that his 19-year-old son has joined the ranks behind the stoves), all of it honest-to-goodness scran. Describing himself and his team as "defenders of the egg", try his huevos estrellados con chipirones (broken eggs with baby squid) or his signature dish: five different kinds of mushrooms cooked with confit onions and port and topped with a fried egg and a caramelised slab of duck liver. It all goes perfectly with a crisp, cool glass of cava.