Luxury Travel Blog + travel

Mobbing the Mercat

Barcelona, Spain - There's a sick gnarl in the pit of my stomach. I stood impatiently by the door, my toes curled in disgust while I counted down the minutes until my husband and young daughter slow-crawled their way out of the hotel room. When they sailed past me with mocking innocence, I let out a grunt that can only be a sign that my blood sugar is running lower than the Bay of Fundy tides. Unless they wanted me to unleash a wrath like no other, I suggested that we eat soon.


Without a moment's hesitation, the scramble to Barcelona's Mercat Sant Josep was on its way, at the god-indecent hour when most Catalans head out for their midday meal--2 pm. We wattled through crowds of snap-happy, wide-eyed tourists mingling with determined locals elbowing their way into the commotion.

We cruised past stalls loaded with sundries: nuts, candies, dried fruits, preserved fruits, fresh fruits, and even eggs. But we ignored the temptation to linger and made a beeline to the snack bars deep in the heart of the mercat.
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A hungry mob packed the counters of Bar Boqueria. The furor in the kitchen billowed with the smoke from the grill as heads bobbed, hands waved, bodies collided, plates clanked, and glasses clinked: it was another lunch rush at the Mercat Sant Josep (also known as Mercat de la Boqueria, which was built on a former monastery site dedicated to Saint Joseph).
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I felt bold, so I asked a local sitting beside me what he was eating. It was a dish lightly swathed in picada, a garlic and parsley sauce, and drizzled with a mantle of olive oil and lemon.
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" Pulpitos," he said. "It is very good!"

That was it! I wanted that dish!

And the crunchy grilled baby octupuses didn't disappoint! I had a favourite dish.
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After an amazing meal at Bar Boqueria, I knew I had a fatal crush on Mercat Sant Josep. Like a starry-eyed teenager, I obsessed about returning to the market every day and trying other specialties.
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Stellar seafood platters, snails, and lobsters ruled as main courses, while Catalan-style chickpeas became an adequate side dish.
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We even got to meet a Barcelona icon, Juanito!
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Afterwards, we would drown it all with a €1 cup of fresh fruit juice in a muzzy of varieties: kiwi, mango, papaya, orange, pomegranate, coconut, pineapple, watermelon.
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Trudging past strings of jamon Iberico, chourico, belotta and all sorts of cured meats, we waved goodbye to the mercat.
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Yet legions were still coming to mob this heavenly temple of food where a monastery once stood.

Where to eat in the market:
Pinotxo - Mercat Sant Josep, Tel. 93 317 1731
Bar Boqueria - Mercat Sant Josep, Tel. 93.412.64.62

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