One of my favorite things about Spain is the number of local food markets in the cities. When you want a change from the restaurant/café scene, a visit to a local market is perfect. I truly believe that one of the best ways to experience a local food culture is by going to the local markets.
Of course, the famous La Boqueria food market is on everyone’s list, including ours, but for a truly local version (read: way less touristy), visit the Mercat Santa Caterina. Set in the beautiful and trendy El born district of Barcelona, it is only a short 15 minute walk from the Las Ramblas neighborhood.
The market itself is known for its modern architecture, with its colorful, wave like roof made of bits of ceramic pieces. But what lies underneath is truly spectacular! There are over 100 food stalls – with fresh fruit and vegetables, beautiful displays of ham, cheese, olives, tapas, seafood and meats, baked goods, and a whole bunch of other goodies. Basically, heaven!
When we visited in the morning, we saw locals stocking up for the day on fresh produce, meats, and seafood, stopping to have a cup of coffee and chatting up the vendors, and having a bite to eat. It’s a lively scene, and made for fabulous people watching, without being overwhelmed with tourists.
The market has a wide selection of food stalls to eat in, get a drink, and even a few restaurants. You can have everything from a fresh juice, to a slew of tapas, a glass of cava or beer. A treat for the eyes and for the taste buds! We ended up having coffee, breakfast, and a delicious fresh squeezed juice. You can sample a number of different stalls and items, all for a low price – we typically saw prices between 1-3 Euros, and had a full breakfast for under 10 Euros.
Pro Tip: Even if you are not going to be cooking, pick up food for a picnic on the beach or a park! Don’t miss trying the olives!
When you are in Barcelona, I highly suggest a visit to the Santa Caterina market – you will be full, happy, and have saved a few bucks along the way!