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La Boqueria Review
Barcelona's most spectacular food market, also known as the Mercat de Sant Josep, is an explosion of life and color sprinkled with delicious little bar-restaurants. A solid polychrome wall of fruits, herbs, wild mushrooms, vegetables, nuts, candied fruits, cheeses, hams, fish, poultry, and provender of every imaginable genus and strain greets you as you turn in from La Rambla and breathe air alive with the aromas of fresh produce and reverberating with the din of commerce. Within this steel hangar the market occupies a neoclassical square built in 1840 by architect Francesc Daniel Molina. The Ionic columns visible around the edges of the market were part of the mid-19th-century neoclassical square constructed here after the Sant Josep convent was torn down. The columns were uncovered in 2001 after more than a century of being buried in the busy market. Highlights include the sunny greengrocer's market outside (to the right if you've come in from the Rambla), along with Pinotxo (Pinocchio), just inside to the right, which has won international acclaim as a food sanctuary. Owner Juanito Bayén and his family serve some of the best food in Barcelona. (The secret? "Fresh, fast, hot, salty, and garlicky.") Pinotxo—marked with a ceramic portrait of the wooden-nosed prevaricator himself—is typically overbooked. But take heart; the Kiosko Universal, over toward the port side of the market, or Quim de la Boqueria offer delicious alternatives. Don't miss the herb- and wild-mushroom stand at the back of the Boqueria, with its display of fruits del bosc (fruits of the forest): wild mushrooms, herbs, nuts, and berries.
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