Barcelona’s Best Markets: Where to Eat at La Boqueria and More
Barcelona’s markets draw crowds. There’s something irresistible about silvery sardines twitching on beds of ice, garlands of deep-red charcuterie slung across the tops of stalls, and wooden crates overflowing with vegetables still clad in the dirt from where they were grown. And then there are the vendors. Most stalls are run by families with deep knowledge about their products — products that are the foundation of the “market cuisine” sold at the many bars and small restaurants. From prepared family specialties passed through generations to kilometer-zero produce grown in the Catalan countryside, Barcelona’s markets are stocked with visually stunning (not to mention delicious) food at every price.
But over the last decade or so, shopping at the city’s best-known market, La Boqueria, has become synonymous with fighting your way through hordes of tourists who stop without warning to get a better angle on a pile of fruit or fish. Even so, La Boqueria lives up to its hype in one very specific way: It’s one of only a few locales in Barcelona’s admittedly overcrowded center where it’s easy to find quality bar food for a quick bite as well as an exquisite tasting menu for a sit-down meal. And despite the crowded aisles, La Boqueria isn’t just a tourist attraction. Barcelona’s markets, this one included, are busy epicenters where neighbors connect and stock their kitchens, making them a key part of the cultura de barri that makes the city so vibrant.
Barcelona can support a food market in pretty much every neighborhood — there are nearly 40 here. With so many markets, it can be hard to decide which are worth adding to your already-crammed itinerary. Crowds and all, La Boqueria is a must, but it’s not the only one. From Santa Caterina to El Ninot, these eight Barcelona markets stand out for their fresh ingredients, ready-made meals for takeaway, and bars and restaurants. Markets have fed this city for centuries. It’s no surprise they’ve become some of the best places to eat.
Cones of fried seafood at a Barcelona market stall.
Mercat de la Boqueria
La Rambla 91, 08001 (Metro Liceu or Catalunya)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
There’s a reason Barcelona’s Sant Josep de la Boqueria, popularly known as La Boqueria, is a can’t-miss in all the guides. Not only is it the biggest food market in town with the widest variety, it’s also home to a few of the only places on La Rambla, the crowded tourist drag, to eat good-quality, skillfully prepared local dishes made with fresh ingredients.
Dating back to at least 1217 (when it was an open-air street market), La Boqueria is still the go-to for locals in search of unusual fruits or hard-to-find traditional products. But beyond all of the cheese, olives, and wine you’ll be tempted to smuggle back in your luggage, there are seemingly endless bars and restaurants. While most of the establishments are significant improvements over the tourist traps lining La Rambla, some are better than others. Bar Clemen’s serves tapas and plates of seafood. Nearby, along the edge of the market, Direkte serves tasting menus of at least seven dishes and two desserts to just eight seats. If you’re up for braving the crowds, head to the centrally located Kiosko Universal for grilled seafood and vegetables, or to El Quim, a local legend made internationally famous by Anthony Bourdain for its fried eggs and mushrooms. And if you must eat paella near La Rambla, your best bet is Paella Bar Boqueria, just steps from El Quim (again, no relation) on the Passatge dels Coloms side of the market.
Mercat de Sant Antoni
Carrer del Comte d’Urgell 1, 08011 (Metro Poble Sec or Sant Antoni)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday
This recently restored turn-of-the-century market in the San Antoni neighborhood is smaller and less crowded than Boqueria. While there are far fewer bars to choose from, what’s on offer is solid and reasonably priced. Wash down jamón ibérico or pork botifarra sausages with beer at Casa Sendra, or grab a slice of potato or eggplant tortilla at Bar-Cafeteria Mariana. For fresh seafood (deep-fried or grilled), stick with Casa Blanca.
What Sant Antoni lacks in bars it makes up for in takeout options — stalls like Vitavida and Llegums Moliné offer everything from precut and washed fruit to seasonal local dishes like espinacs amb panses i pinyons (spinach cooked with raisins and pine nuts). Note that while food stands are closed on Sundays, there’s a neat outdoor second-hand book market, and you can always head to nearby Calle Parlament in search of something good to eat.
El Mercat del Ninot
Carrer de Mallorca 133-157, 08036 (Metro Hospital Clínic)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. Monday through Saturday
There’s ample room to shop (and eat) at El Ninot. This recently renovated historic market in a less-touristy part of the central Eixample neighborhood boasts high ceilings made of steel and glass that let the sunlight filter down to shining, immaculate floors. El Ninot’s straightforward thoroughfares are far easier to navigate than the labyrinth at La Boqueria, and it’s packed with casual, inviting places to get a snack or sit down to a meal.
For a quick bite, hop on a barstool at La Bikineria. Known as a “mixto” in Madrid, a bikini is a toasted deli ham and cheese sandwich. At La Bikineria, they’re made with surprising ingredients like pigs’ feet. Or, for lunch, find your way to El Pagès Creative Chicken, an old-fashioned chicken shop that also has an eat-in area where you can feast on croquetes, chicken that’s fried and doused in your sauce of choice, or rotisserie chicken that’s much better than the stuff from the grocery store.
Avinguda de Francesc Cambó 16, 08003 (Metro Urquinaona or Jaume I)
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday; 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday
A short walk from Barcelona Cathedral, this market compensates for its reduced size (70 stands to La Boqueria’s 300-plus) with serious charm. Its wavy roof, covered in brightly colored tiles that are supposed to represent the colors of the fruits and vegetables sold inside, has made it a popular place to pose for pictures, but it’s Bar Joan that’s made it a popular place to eat. With its very respectable fixed-price lunch menu populated with local dishes like cap i pota (beef head and foot stew) and bacalao a la llauna (salt cod fried, then baked in the oven with plenty of olive oil and garlic), along with house-made desserts for under 15 euros ($18), it’s no shock that Bar Joan is always full. Go for an early lunch (in Barcelona that means around 1 p.m.) to snag a seat.
Mercat de la Llibertat
Plaça de la Llibertat 27, 08012 (Metro Fontana)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
Gràcia’s 120-year-old Freedom Market has a small-town feel, which makes sense given the history; Gràcia was an independent village before Barcelona annexed it in 1897. A smallish market in Barcelona’s smallest district by area, there’s plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and more seafood than seems possible for its approximately 40,000 square feet. A few stands sell Catalan dishes, like mongetes (white beans) amb botifarra and mandonguilles (meatballs) amb salsa, by weight. Its modest size means there’s really only one bar worth visiting here — El Tast de Joan Noi, a seafood grill serving cuttlefish, razor clams, shrimp, and fresh tuna.
If there’s no room at Joan’s, vie for a table around the corner at La Pubilla, a cramped but worthy locale specializing in Catalan cooking. Though it’s not technically in the market, goods go into specials like locally harvested mushrooms and wild rice prepared in a coconut curry sauce, and botifarra d’ou (yellow sausages made with egg), served with creamy leeks and potato foam.
Sausages at La Boqueria.Dried fish and bacalla at Santa Caterina market.
Mercat de la Barceloneta
Plaça Poeta Boscà 1, 08003 (Metro La Barceloneta)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
If you’re looking for a market near the beach, this is as close as it gets. Situated in Barceloneta, formerly home to the city’s fishermen (many of whom can no longer afford to live there), the building is modern and covered in solar panels. The market was initially formed to keep the fishermen and their families supplied with fruit, vegetables, and the catch of the day. Perhaps because of its origins, it’s the most budget-friendly on this list.
At Mercat de la Barceloneta, the menús del día at bars and restaurants start at 12 euros ($14). Nosh on bombas (deep-fried mashed potato balls stuffed with spicy sauce and meat) that are almost as good as the ones from La Cova Fumada, the Barceloneta bar where the bomba is said to have been invented. Or, nibble oxtail croquetes and smoked anchovies in fresh tomato and olive oil sauce on the terrace at Marisma.
Mercat Sagrada Família
Carrer de Padilla 225, 08013 (Metro Sagrada Família)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday
The most traditional market in town when it comes to schedules — they actually close for lunch — this market is a stone’s throw from Antoni Gaudí’s cathedral. Established in 1944 to meet the needs of the population that sprang up in the once-rural area known as El Poblet surrounding the basilica, the current market, constructed in 1993, houses about 60 stands. If you’re just shopping for fruit or a quick bite, drop by in the afternoon, but if you want a hot, hearty meal, come first thing for breakfast at El Racó del Mercat. Here, you can start your day with meatballs with cuttlefish, one of the many Catalan versions of surf and turf, or callos (stewed tripe and chickpeas). If you’re merely feeling peckish, the wine selection is limited but reasonably good (try a Penedès white or Ribera red), and there are six kinds of olives to choose from.
Mercat de Sants
Carrer de Sant Jordi 6, 08028 (Metro Plaça de Sants)
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
A 15-minute walk from Barcelona’s main train station in the working-class neighborhood of Sants-Montjuïc, Mercat de Sants offers the typical fresh produce that Barcelonans have come to expect, inside a structure in the modernista, or Catalan modernist, style made famous by Gaudí at the turn of the 20th century. For an excellent sandwich, head to the counter at Arrom for crusty bread layered with paper-thin slices of Iberian ham, charcuterie, or cheese. There are also ready-made meals and snacks of fideuá, stewed beans, croquetes, and empanadas. There’s not a lot in the way of restaurants and bars, but if you’re headed out of the city on a train — to the airport or beyond — and need a meal on the go, this is your market.
Spanish charcuterie is sold in paper cones for tourist snacking at various markets.
Originally from the Midwest, Chris Ciolli has lived in Barcelona since 2005. A writer and translator, she’s contributed to local and international publications such as BUST magazine, Afar, Miniguide, and Fathom. Gerard Moral is a Barcelona born and based photographer specializing in portrait, travel, and lifestyle photography.
10 of the best market restaurants in Barcelona | Barcelona holidays
You’ve not really done Barcelona until you’ve ticked off a Gaudí or two, had some average tapas, watched stag and hen parties messily collide in the early hours – and visited a locals’ market where you will fall in love with the city. There are nearly 40 food markets here; almost every barrio (neighbourhood) has one. There are also loads of non-food markets. Each has its own character, reflecting its community, so a market trip is an excellent way of exploring the city beyond the Ramblas. La Boqueria (the city’s most famous market, on the Ramblas) is not in this list because it’s sold its soul to the devil, who leads a Segway tour of the Gothic Quarter on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. If you insist, google La Quim and Bar Pinotxo.
Mercat de Santa Caterina, La Ribera, Ciutat Vella
For every tourist in La Boqueria, there’s a local in Santa Caterina, a couple of minutes’ walk from the cathedral, getting on with their shopping. Santa Caterina has a seriously cool multi-coloured undulating roof from its 2005 rebuild. It’s a fine example of the city’s ambitious programme of updating its markets to make them fit for the 21st century. Space has been made for a supermarket, but the fish, meat and vegetable stalls are the real stars. Order a pincho moruno (spicy meat skewer) for a couple of euros at Bar Joan and watch it all happening on the fish stands or sit down to a much more stylish affair at Cuines Santa Caterina. The menu is long, slightly baffling, and mostly modern Catalan, via a quick detour of Asia. Expect to pay around €30-40 a head.
Market (Avenida de Francesc Cambó 16, mercatsantacaterina.com) open Mon, Wed and Sat 7.30am-3.30pm, Tues, Thurs and Fri 7.30am-8.30pm. Cuines Santa Caterina (+34 932 689918) open Mon-Fri 1pm-4pm, Sat-Sun 1pm-4.30pm and Sun-Wed 8pm-midnight, Thurs-Sat 8pm-12.30am. Bar Joan (+34 933 106150, no website) open Mon-Sat 7.30am-3.30pm (8pm on Fri)
Mercat dels Encants, Glòries
Back in the day you’d come to Encants open-air flea market to find the bike that had been stolen from you a few days before. But it moved in 2013 to a new site and cleaned up its act. That’s not to say that you won’t find a bizarre range of stuff among its hundreds of stalls. Stuffed elephant’s foot anyone? Or how about a vintage flip-flop? Not a pair, just the left flip-flop. The giant mirrored canopy reflects the sky and trees bringing the outside in – but keeps the rain out. Walkways take you three storeys to the top and to a range of places to eat. I was tempted by a pastrami on rye at Stop & Mos for €7.95 but the wind was whistling and I retreated to El Mirall dels Encants restaurant on the ground floor. The menú del día (set lunch) at €10.50 is great quality and value, featuring ingredients not often seen on a menu, such as picantón (spring chicken) and cazón (dog fish).
Market (Carrer de Castillejos 158) open Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat 9am-8pm. Stop & Mos (+34 647 424980, on Facebook) open Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat 8am-8pm. El Mirall dels Encants (+34 930 084080, on Facebook) open Mon-Fri 7am-midnight, Sat 7am-1am, Sun 9am-7pm
Mercat de Galvany, Sant Gervasi
This massive, stunning brick, iron and stained glass building from 1868 is one of the city’s best-kept food secrets; it is extraordinarily popular with the locals and little-known beyond. Sant Gervasi is one of the city’s posher areas but the market itself has no pretensions, just loads of proper stalls. It’s dominated by a roundabout of fish stalls – smaller than the famous one in the Boqueria, and without the tour groups. Café Galvany is a classic market bar: tiny, basic, busy and friendly. It serves up the usual suspects (bocadillos, tortillas etc) for a few euros but they are done really well. I had probably my best callos (beef tripe and chickpeas) ever there – stickily delicious.
Market (Carrer de Santaló 65, mercatgalvany.es) open Mon-Thurs 7am-2pm, Fri-Sat 7am-2.30pm. Café Galvany (+34 669 188972) open Mon 6am-3pm, Tues-Sat 5am-3pm
Mercat del Ninot, Esquerra de l’Eixample (the left side of the Eixample district)
Bacalao (salted cod) at Perelló 1898
The city’s markets evolve to meet residents’ changing needs as Ninot’s recent five-year overhaul demonstrates. There’s a big supermarket and lots of space and light, but the most dramatic development is the number of stalls which also double up as places to eat. Those fish and meat paradas with a menu, counter and a few stools are working their margins, which makes sense in this well-off part of town. Perelló 1898 is devoted to all things bacalao (cod, specifically salted cod), from thick pieces of belly to desalt and cook at home to takeaway meals. Pull up a stool for tapas (buñuelos de bacalao – cod fritters – were light and really tasty) costing a few euros, cod in a choice of sauces around €12, or specials such as cod cannelloni (€6.50). I loved this place. The 2015 reopening also brought a restaurant, El Ninot Cuina, to the market. It’s got an airy interior, open kitchen and a decent €14 menú del día.
Market (Carrer de Mallorca, 133, mercatdelninot.com) open Mon-Sat 8am-9.15pm. Perelló 1898 (+34 934 543220) open Mon-Sat 8am-5pm. El Ninot Cuina (+34 932 776884) open Tues-Sat 9am-4pm, Sun-Mon 9am-4pm
Mercat de la Barceloneta, Barceloneta
El Bar de Paco
Barceloneta has changed massively in the 10 years I’ve known it. The wider range of eating options good; the explosion of commercially owned Airbnb lettings bad. The large, open market square is very much the heart of the barrio. It’s the place where people can escape their notoriously cramped flats, get some air and gossip. The 19th-century market was rebuilt between 2005 and 2007, which added steel, glass and a spectacular swooping roof, but left most of the original ironwork intact. The market itself feels very different to Ninot; less polished, both the stalls and the punters. But it’s my local market, and I’m not very polished, so I love it. Take a stool at El Bar de Paco, order a mediana (bottle of beer) and watch market life. Paco’s menú del día is fine but I might go elsewhere to eat, perhaps the infamously unpolished La Cova Fumada in the square for seafood for not much money.
Market (Plaça de Font i Sagué, mercatdelabarceloneta.com) open Mon-Thurs 7am-2pm, Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 7am-3pm. El Bar de Paco (+34 932 215016, no website) open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 7am-4. 30pm. La Cova Fumada (+34 932 214061, no website) opening hours unpredictable, but generally Mon-Sat 9am-lunchtime, closed Sundays
Mercat de la Llibertat, Gràcia
El Tast de Joan Noi
This is probably my favourite market in the city. It’s fairly small and in a lovely part of town. The little streets of Gràcia, so human-scaled, are packed with interesting bars, restaurants and shops. The market sits snugly in its square; just enough room around it for some big knicker stalls. It was built in 1888 and refurbished in 2009, but you wouldn’t know that from the outside – it’s all ironwork and brick, none of the modern tricks of Santa Caterina and Barceloneta. El Tast de Joan Noi is just a few stools alongside a fish stand. So far, so simple. But the chef, Paco González, used to work at Botafumeiro, one of Barcelona’s best-known seafood restaurants. The excellent menú del día is just €10 but the stand-out specials are baby scallops au gratin, cubed tuna with a soy sauce, sherry and walnut dressing and squid, clams and white beans.
Market (Plaça de la Llibertat 27) open Mon-Fri 8am-8.30pm, Sat 8am-3pm. El Tast de Joan Noi (+34 635 706429, on Facebook) open Tues-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-2.30pm
Palo Alto, Poblenou
In a city of historic markets this one stands out; it’s just celebrated its second birthday. And what a popular birthday boy/girl it is, despite the €4 entrance fee and the ludicrously long queues to get in (book online to skip them). This monthly market is held (or “curated”) in a former factory complex in a trendy barrio. We are talking handcrafted, vintage, retro – and that’s just the facial hair. But don’t worry, this place isn’t only popular with hipsters; families and young couples love it too. The market’s got a lovely feel. The site is industrial, but surprisingly green. You wander between jewellery, clothing and art stands set amongst trees, with plenty of shady places to stop and watch the tribes. DJs and live performers provide the soundtrack. And then there’s the food – all the players in Barcelona’s burgeoning street truck scene are here. Burgers, pulled pork, ceviche, you get the idea. There’s a good restaurant, La Cantina Palo Alto (menú del día €12), open during the week if you want to visit the complex without the beards.
Market (Carrer dels Pellaires 30, paloaltomarket.com) open two weekends in December, 3-4 and 17-18, 11am-9pm. La Cantina Palo Alto (+34 933 070974) open Mon-Fri 1pm-4pm
Mercat de Les Corts, Les Corts
Hundreds of thousands of tourists a year make the pilgrimage to Camp Nou, home of FC Barcelona for games and stadium tours. They’re missing a trick if they don’t explore the district in which it sits, Les Corts. Its quiet, solidly middle-class streets don’t have the charm of the Gothic Quarter, but neither do they have the tourists. Similarly, the 1960s market, a 10-minute walk from Camp Nou, doesn’t have the wow factor of older sites, but it’s bustling and boasts El Bisaura, a tiny place tucked away in a corner. All of its half a dozen tables were reserved but we snuck in by eating unfashionably early at 1pm. Spectacularly sweet clams and mussels, then griddled octopus and cuttlefish. The sting was in the bill, €65 for two. The clams were a hefty €18 – worth it but only just. Learn from our schoolboy error and ask the price before ordering.
Market (Travessera de les Corts 215, mercatdelescorts.cat) open Mon-Wed 7am-2.30pm, Thurs-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 7am-3pm. El Bisaura (+34 933 307001, no website) open Tues-Sat 6.30am-4.30pm
Mercat de Sant Antoni, Sant Antoni
This marvel of modernisme is finally emerging from the scaffolding after its much-delayed renovation. It is reopening in 2018. The food and clothing market’s temporary home is nearby and functional but charmless. My tip is to go to its Sunday sibling dedicated to books and collectibles. Its temporary home is the main road through this part of town which is closed to traffic for a few hours. Dozens of stalls appear selling everything from dusty classics and vintage postcards to pristine 1950s comics and well-thumbed 70s sex mags. Meanwhile, boys and their dads pack the street corners to swap football stickers. At one end of the market is Rekons, an Argentinian empanada place with a terrace that’s perfect for watching the market action as you wolf down its delicious pastries priced at a very moreish €2.10.
Market (Carrer del Comte d’Urgell 1) open Sundays 8.30am-2.30pm. Rekons (Carrer del Comte d’Urgell 32, +34 934 246383) open Wed-Mon 10am-midnight
Mercat de Sants, Sants
Oh to have been a brickmaker in Catalonia in the early years of the 20th century. You would have made a packet as Gaudí and co piled millions of them into their designs. Sants market was designed by Pere Falqués and opened in 1913. It’s an impressive building; the soaring facade of brick and ceramics is solid but deeply pleasing and the roof simply magnificent. A 2014 renovation thankfully kept many of the original architectural features. It’s a busy market but the busiest part is around Montero, which specialises in menjars casolans (homemade meals) to take away. A a steady trade becomes a feeding frenzy here as lunchtime approaches. There are dozens of dishes to choose from for a few euros. I had roast artichoke with ham and green beans with baby squid. There are a few tables and they’ll heat your purchases up for you so you can tuck straight in. Worth the 20-minute walk from Plaça d’Espanya.
Market (Carrer de Sant Jordi 6, santsmercat.com) open Mon 8am-2.30pm, Tues-Fri 8am-8.30pm, Sat 8am-3pm. Montero (+34 934 912846) open same hours as market
Food halls and what they eat with
Restaurants, cafes, food courts, canteens, coffee houses…
It would seem that what’s new can be invented in the restaurant business? But suddenly food halls appeared, which rapidly gained mass popularity. Now they are talked about not only in the professional community, but also among the townsfolk.
What are food halls
For those who hear about this for the first time, I will explain. Food halls (or food malls) are large gastronomic spaces that combine a variety of food formats under one roof with a common seating area. Literally a couple of meters from each other there can be establishments of various concepts: Vietnamese, American, Korean, Indian, Russian, Italian and Thai cuisines, pastry shops, coffee shops and much more. In most cases, such spaces look stylish and Instagrammable.
There are no waiters here, and orders are most often taken at the counter. In the food mall, you can try Vietnamese soup, Thai noodles, a trendy American burger and almond milk coffee, but you will have to buy all this at different restaurant outlets.
Along with food halls, new concepts have come to us, for example, fast casual. This is the name of the food hall format — something between good fast food and a restaurant. Fast casual is distinguished from fast food by a healthier approach to food, original cuisine, the use of reusable dishes and a stylish interior. Similarity to fast food in a fast service format, lack of waiters and a small area of restaurant outlets.
How the food hall format was distributed
The distribution scheme of the format is traditional: Europe → Moscow → St. Petersburg → regions. We adopted the concept of food halls from Europeans, who were the first to reformat their markets into gastronomic spaces. Similar restaurant clusters can be found in Lisbon (Time Out Market Lisbon), Florence (Mercato Centrale Firenze), Barcelona (Mercat de la Boqueria) and many other European cities.
The reconstructed Danilovsky market in Moscow became the first Russian food hall. It was followed by a string of similar openings – the Depo food mall on the site of the Miussky tram depot, the strEAT gastronomic street, Eat Market and many others. Today, more than 30 such points operate in the capital.
St. Petersburg can boast of the recently launched City Food projects in the City Mall, the Eat Market in the Gallery, and the reconstructed Dolgoozerny and Vasileostrovskiy markets. Two more opening points have been announced – the greenhouses of the Tauride Garden and the premises of the former Vagonmash plant at 115 Moskovsky Prospekt.
Restaurant clusters are being prepared for opening in Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk and other million-plus cities. A few months after the launch of the Moscow Depo, when I realized the promise of this trend, I took all the key FUN24 dryers to Moscow to see how the format was implemented.
Why food halls have become popular
Food halls have occupied an intermediate niche between establishments for middle-class people and those who prefer haute cuisine and expensive restaurants. People who go to expensive restaurants saw a more affordable, trendy, but no less high-quality format in food halls. And those who visit food courts have found an opportunity to pay a little extra (and sometimes for the same money as in a food court) to get a higher quality and try something new.
The quality of the food is also worth mentioning. Due to the large flow of Guests in food halls, there is a high throughput of products, which means fresh ingredients, which affects the quality of dishes in general.
Another reason for its popularity is that food halls, like food courts, provide a choice – no matter what company people come with, everyone can find something for themselves.
Reasons why restaurateurs choose food halls:
- There are always guests. A large number of different establishments combined in one place attract more people in aggregate due to synergy. The check of each of the establishments increases, while the cost of personnel and equipment decreases.
- Small area of 16–18 sq.m. enough for a full cycle production. The equipment is equivalent, and more often even less than for a full-fledged restaurant. The number of staff per point is from two to eight people. As a result, costs are lower, turnover is higher.
- Reduced landing speed. We spend 1.5–2 hours in the restaurant and most of this time we are in waiting mode. We need to look at the menu, make a choice, wait for the dish to be prepared, wait for the waiter to pay, etc. And here everything is fast – I came, ordered, sat for 30-40 minutes and that’s it.
Market, mall or old factory – where to open a food hall?
In many respects, the requirements for a site for opening a food hall coincide with the requirements for the construction of large entertainment centers: a million-plus city, a floor area of 10,000 sq. m, transport accessibility, formed culture of recreation. For food halls and entertainment centers, it is more profitable to find ready-made premises than to build from scratch.
Markets and upper floors of shopping centers are being converted into food halls. Old industrial buildings and manufactories can also become space for sites. In St. Petersburg, two food halls have opened on the site of former children’s entertainment centers. Amusement parks were located on the upper floors of shopping centers and were closed due to the requirements of fire inspections or due to low profitability.
Yes, entertainment doesn’t pay as much as food, and it’s only natural that the format is being squeezed out. But I don’t think this trend will continue in the long run. People want not only to eat, but also to have fun. Amusement parks are a generator of guest flow for a long period, such tenants will remain in demand for shopping center owners. People who walk around the mall spend an average of 1.5–2 hours in it. Visitors to entertainment centers — 2.5–3 hours. Which is almost twice as high, therefore, people spend more money during this time.
Huge potential for renovation of old Soviet markets. In Europe, markets are a meeting place where people come to spend time, see friends, have breakfast and buy quality products at the same time. Cheeses and sausages are sold within the common space, and in the center there are cafes serving ready-made meals and wine. You can buy cheese, ham in the shop, take a glass of wine and have a snack.
Fresh seafood markets are popular in Asia. In the same market, they can be prepared for a small fee. I am sure that the markets will continue to develop the combined direction of the sale of products and ready-made food. There is where to disperse, because we have an abundance of markets that are morally obsolete and require renovation.
No one, like Russians, likes to adopt cuisines from different countries of the world. At one time, we had a boom in Italian restaurants, then Japanese cuisine, a couple of years ago, burger restaurants opened at every turn. Now there is a wave of Pan-Asian cuisine, which is presented in a wide range in food halls. People massively discovered the direction of Asia. We went, looked, tried; after six months of wintering, they got used to the local cuisine, and when they returned, they began to instill this culture with us. As practice shows, it takes root well here.
Moreover, we adopt experience and implement concepts even better than in the countries where they originally came from. Rolls, pasta, coffee in Russia can often be found of better quality than in the original.
The same story happened with hookahs. Culture did not originate with us, but in reality, Russia is now the most advanced country in the hookah direction. We produce a large number of tobaccos, we make coals and hookah equipment ourselves. I can say with confidence that we have the best hookahs. I have traveled all over the world and I have something to compare with.
How long will the food hall trend last? By and large, this is just the evolution of food courts. Departure from the standard set: pancakes, burgers, french fries for different formats of national cuisines.
At the same time, food halls have already appeared that combine fast food and fast casual. For example, in City Food formats were zoned. 12 points are given over to the usual fast food, which includes McDonald’s, KFC, Carl’s Jr and others. 17 venues are occupied by fast casual — all sorts of exotic concepts, authentic trendy cafes and signature restaurants. Combining audiences is definitely a winning option. The larger the target, the wider the spectrum, which means that the model is more effective.
The relevance of the trend will decrease over time, but not due to the number of people who visit food halls, but in the number of new discoveries. Food halls are now growing like mushrooms. Everyone saw that the format was working, bright, fashionable and moved in this direction, so in the next couple of years new food halls will open all over Russia.
Photo: Nikolai Tsuguliev
life without hordes of tourists — edagoroda
Since my last visit to Barcelona, the city has changed a little:
- Messi left for PSG
- central premises are looking for new tenants
- Queues disappeared at the Sagrada Família
- covid reduced the flow of Chinese tourists and travelers in general.
At the same time, the swindlers both worked and continue to work: in popular stores they cut wallets, and on the streets they rip off the bags of a muddler.
UIA and Ryanair fly to Barca.
To enter the country, you need to fill out a simple form from the Spanish Ministry of Health.
After filling out, a QR code comes to the post office: it is checked by Spanish ladies in white right after the border control.
The certificate of vaccination was never asked: not at the hotel, not at the restaurant, not under strict control in the Sagrada Família. Only when checking in luggage in Boryspil.
The stained glass windows in the Sagrada are divinely beautiful.
I have written about the food in Barcelona many times, from roasted pigeons to paella over an open fire.
Sagrada is still under construction since 1882.
And since I escaped for only a couple of days and did not want to get burned on tasteless nonsense, I went to checked points.
The sum of all the numbers on the facade of the Sagrada is equal to the age of Christ.
Therefore, here you will find the most concise list of four establishments in which you will be fed either well or cool.
Breakfast in Barcelona is a challenge. The main morning meal is a bun with jamon, fresh orange juice and cortado (coffee with milk). There is no such diversity as in Kyiv “Eastman”, “Vino e Cucina”, “Honey” or “Thai greetings”. Nevertheless, non-trivial breakfasts are also available, you just have to look for them. You can go to Zenith (I ate in Madrid – this is one network), or you can look at B illy Brunch C/ de Bailèn, 115 ) .
In order not to wait for a free table inside, my wife and I settled on the street.
According to Barcelona standards, +14 is the January cold. But we were comfortable. Ordered:
- avocado toast with egg, chia seeds and pomegranate seeds (€7.50)
- mushrooms with cheese on tomato bread (€8.50)
- some kind of omelette (€5)
- pancakes with berries and syrup (€7.50).
It cannot be said that it is very tasty. When you’re spoiled by the amazing avocado toast in the mentioned Eastman, other analogues seem faceless.
But the Catalan toast looks beautiful, I do not argue.
It would seem, why compare? But this is involuntary: you just understand that the prices in an ordinary Barcelona cafe and in a classy Kiev restaurant are about the same, and the quality of breakfasts is far from in favor of Catalonia.
The bill is taken out in the egg tray.
Well, in terms of seafood, Barca is, of course, a favorite.
If you don’t feel like experimenting with breakfasts, take the classic ham bun (€5.95) at F arggi 1957 » .
It’s in the very center on Passeig de Gràcia, 2.
And for dessert – donut with chocolate (€3.70).
Homer Simpson would sell his own mother for this donat.
Because it’s very tasty! « V initus » ( Cent del Consell de 90 332 de 90 ) .
Cod with tomato bread is a song!
This is our favorite place. And when I see stories in which my friends and buddies conquer Barcelona, I immediately send them the address of this amazing cafe.
Hooked on an octopus with sweet potatoes.
It was chosen not only by tourists, but also by locals.
Always a busy queue. But moving fast.
Favorite food is:
- tomato bread with olive oil (€3.10)
- codfish with tomato salsa (€8.95)
- shrimp with chili and garlic (€8.55)
- vongole (€12.45)
- Navajas (€10. 80)
- three slices of bread with chocolate and salt (€2.95).
I want to come back here.
The city is getting ready for Christmas.
And when my friends thank me for the tip, I’m so happy, like I’m on a rollback in Vinitus. By the way, Vinitus is also in Madrid.
Take ice cream at Amorino!
Well, a few words about « E l Nacional » ( Pg. de Gràcia, 24 ) . This is a popular food hall.
It doesn’t look like “Kyiv Food Market” (“KFM”). KFM has dozens of outlets and an emphasis on fast food.
The balognese pasta costs €11.50.
And El Nacional has only a few restaurants (meat, fish and a couple more), where guests thoroughly sit under the tutelage of waiters.
At KFM, waiters flit only on the second floor at Wow Crabs.
In half an hour there will be 700 guests!
“El Nacional” comes alive in the evening.