Nearest metro: Liceu
La Boqueria is Barcelona’s most famous food market for a reason. It’s situated half way down Las Ramblas in a stunning building and although it has its fair share of explicit meat and fish stalls, there is a massive array of fruit, dried fruit, vegetables, fruit juices, nuts and sweets. The displays alone make it very photogenic bordering on pornographic if you – like me – get off on beautiful colourful displays of healthy fruits and vegetables. Its ability to be photographed has made it somewhat of a tourist attraction (read as: a pickety-pocketers delight so watch your wallets, bags, cameras, iphones, silverware, earthenware, earlobes and children. They will steal your tattoos if you give them half a chance).
Despite the risk of losing your earthenware or earlobes, La Boqueria is an experience, plus you can pick up some fruit juices, although I don’t reckon they are as virtuous as they would have you believe but they are just €1.50 a go. There are loads of different flavours but they are not the kind of juice bars that you get in NYC, California or London. There is no bee pollen, wheat grass or jolly green spirulina. It’s just kiwi juice or coconut juice or raspberry juice or coconut and mango, kiwi and strawberry etc. Nothing too complicated.
Having a very suspicious mind, I suspect they add sugar to them, although the vendors will tell you different, but they just taste a little bit too sweet. Half a dozen of those and I reckon you’ll have enough thrush to keep you fidgeting in your knickers for a week. Not that I’d know.
At the back of La Boqueria (on the right), if you don’t get robbed or a yeast infection, there is a lovely, albeit not that cheap counter called Organic – that serves a lovely bunch of healthy and really tasty vegetarian fodder. It costs ten euros for a tub of food but you could easily share the tub between two people and avoid having to sell your sex bits for cash in the lower end of El Raval (the quaint but dodgy area where the hookers ply their smelly trade during the long summer evenings).
Don’t be instantly seduced by all the stalls at the front of the market as they are generally more expensive than those at the rear. I wonder if the same can be said for the prostitutes.
There’s a great range of fruits and vegetables available, plus nuts, seeds and dried fruits and much less virtuous sweets and candies – all available by the kilo, half kilo, quarter kilo or whatever your smattering of bad Spanish will enable you to order.
You can pick up a map of La Boqueria as you go in which will help you navigate the narrow aisles and sidestep the graphic meat isles and pungent fish zone.
Enjoy La Boqueria but keep your valuables concealed and your wits about you, in order to avoid theft and thrush.
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