Markets, can be said to be the most basic and common representation of the country or city culture. It is also the easiest way for the tourists and visitors to have a glimpse of the local lifestyle. Such as the “pa sat” we have in Singapore, markets is actually great and fun to explore! I would say that markets overseas can be separated in selling fresh produce or those with a combination with food stalls. Personally I will recommend going touring the market with a empty tummy, especially when visiting place such as Borough Market in London or La Boqueria! Beside these two, there are many famous markets in the world, such as Mercando San Miguel in Madrid, Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo or even Camden Market. Some of them may be just a wholeseller market like Tsukiji, but even that, there are usually good food nearby! Another market that is high on my mind would be Mercato Centrale in Florence.
La Boqueria in Barcelona, absolute gorgeous and well located, just wall along the most famous street in Barcelona, La Rambla and you will never miss it! Tapas, Fruits, Spices, Fresh Produce, Cured Meat, anything Spanish, I am sure you will be able to find it here. Before you even enter the market, the fragrance from the Jammon will definitely welcome you first together with the vibrant display of fresh fruits and vegetables will surely catch your eye! Started in the 12th Century with a couple of tables selling meat to the current metal roof constructed in 1914, it still remains today. La Boqueria have seen through many historical events, with now being recognised world wide. To say that these place is a culinary standing for Tapas would never ever be objected! If you are ever in La Boqueria, there are these two stalls that you definitely have to visit would be El Quim and of course Pinotxo Bar!
Sadly El Quim isn’t open on my day of visit but nevertheless I had a great Tapas brunch at Pinotxo. Tapas, freshly squeeze orange juice and Cava, best way to get your day started. With the influx of tourists, La Boqueria gets awfully crowded everyday, especially after 11am.
Being a local favourites too, Pinotxo is crowded and the seats are really limited, around 15 or so, that’s why it is always good to come early since the meals aren’t short too! Sipping wine and having tapas is a luxury and deserve to be appreciated slowly, enjoying the relaxing lifestyle. Even if you can’t get a seat at first, I will definitely recommend you to wait as the experience are impeccable. No menus are provided here, you practically see what is on the day at the bar and you order, you are able to ask the cooks for recommendation too! Here you can get the freshest seafood cooked using the most primitive and simplest way. The high quality ingredient and simple cooking method maximise the original flavours of the food.
Sweet Sea Prawns, Clams, Lobster, Sausages, Baked Cod, Tripe Stews, Croquettes and the classics favourites are all available here! My Mum had a delicious blood orange juice to start while my dad had a espresso, me? Cava of course, personally I would recommend you to get the Cava, really goes well with the seafood. Upon recommendation from the cook, we ordered the Baked Cod, Spinach and Jammon Croquettes and Clams. You definitely have to get some freshly baked Baguette from the staff!
The Cod was delicious, better than the one I had yesterday! Well flavoured with Garlic and yet infused with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, with each bite you could taste the punch of the Garlic and the fruitness of the olive, each accompanied by the flaky cod! This is when the bread come in, soaking up all of the garlic infused olive oil. Washed down with a sip of Sparkling Cava, C’est La Vie!
Next, I am most impressed with the Clams, they literally grab a handful out of the bag, threw it on to the smoking grill pan, squirting some water and on a transparent cover. We could see the clams moving and opening up once its cooked. A reason for this is that the clams are so fresh and it cook in its own juice, this is why the dish is so delicious yet so simple. Once plated, a drizzle of high quality olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt, it doesn’t get any simpler and more delicious. The meat are cooked well to the point when they are barely sticking to the shells. Awesomely delicious! Mouthful and mouthful of freshness you could taste together with the stunning “sauce”!
A Spanish Tapas classic favourite, Croquette is up next, as mentioned, in case you guys forget, there isn’t any fixed menu at Pinotxo but rather in accordance to the daily freshest ingredients they have. For this special day they have Spinach and Jammon Croquette. Which based on his recommendation we gone for one each for all of us. The Jammon one was delicious, but ordinary, packed with Jammon and cheese, it is lovely and the flavours busting out once in the mouth. Creamy and lovely. The spinach was a little more unique, it seems new to me as I hadn’t taste this combination before, incorporating it into a vegetable mash is actually a well combination and tasty too. If I have to say something, the Croquette is a little on the salty side. It is also pretty costly, costing 1.50 Euros per piece. Did I mentioned that the food aren’t cheap here?
Poping some Tapas, sipping cava and watching the people chatting and the world goes around you, life is pretty perfect. At last, before I left, one of the chef was wipping some octopus up and looking at how great it is, I couldn’t help myself but ordered it. Fried Baby Octopus with White Bean! The octopus was well cooked to perfection, to the point of succulent and not leathery, generous drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped parsley, the whole dish gave me a very homely feeling, especially the beans, creamy and warmly. To give it a finishing touch the chef drizzle it with balsamic vinegar, balancing the savoury richness of the octopus with the vinegar sweetness and a little tartness! In case you guys didn’t know, balsamic vinegar is like wine, the more aged the more expensive and also the sweeter it is.
If you are ever in Barcelona, you may skip the shopping, the beach, the harbour or even gaudi works but you should never ever skip visiting La Boqueria and especially Pinotxo Bar. Although pricey, the meal cost me around 50 Euros, but it is definitely worth the freshest tapas you can ever find! Have you ever been to Pinotxo? Let me know how you feel! Drop me a email or comment to share your travel with me!