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Eating Our Way Through Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona

We enjoyed eating our way through Mercat del Ninot so much that we produced a video about our culinary experience at the bustling Barcelona market.

2foodtrippers at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain
2foodtrippers at the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

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When we first visited Barcelona in 2007 (gulp) during our honeymoon, we hit all of the typical tourist attractions. We marveled at Gaudi’s masterpieces including the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell and Casa Battló. We strolled around the Gothic Quarter and ogled at the beautiful architecture. And, of course, we ate lots of beautiful food and visited the city’s most famous market, La Boqueria.

Barcelona has changed quite a bit in the past decade. Catalunya’s largest city is an even more popular destination with international visitors streaming through the city’s expansive, well-planned streets as the amazing Sagrada Familia inches closer to its eventual completion.

But interestingly, we have changed as well. After traveling around the world, most recently for three weeks in nearby Girona, we found that the Boqueria market no longer excites us with its hectic atmosphere and central Las Ramblas location.

Don’t get us wrong – the Boqueria is absolutely worth a visit for tourists new to the city. There’s a reason that visiting this market is one of the most popular things to do in Barcelona. But for us, as more seasoned travelers and repeat Barcelona visitors, we wanted to visit an intimate market that caters more to locals than to tourists.

We love markets where we can graze our way through the stalls and buy seasonal food to cook at home, and we gravitate to markets where shopkeepers take pride in their products over generations and know their customers’ names. Plus, we hate waiting in long lines, especially when there’s food involved.

Luckily for us, we had the opportunity to eat our way through the Eixample neighborhood’s Mercat del Ninot, one of the best Barcelona markets. This market is one of a network of 39 Barcelona markets selling products that rival those sold in the Boqueria while offering a neighborhood shopping experience that made us feel like locals.

Hotel Recommendation
We stayed at the comfortable, conveniently located Silver Aparthotel Barcelona during our time in Barcelona. Click here to find the best rates for this 2foodtrippers approved hotel.

Mercat del Ninot

Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
Everything old is new again at the Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona where the newly renovated market features fresh, local food in a bright, spacious neighborhood setting.

Dating back to the late 19th century, Mercat Ninot feels refreshingly new after a massive five-year renovation. The market’s current iteration is perfect for modern shoppers who appreciate Ninot’s wide aisles, bright lighting, long hours and available Wi-Fi. Most important though, the market has some of the city’s best food vendors selling some of the world’s tastiest food.

We’re talking ruby-red tomatoes just begging to be part of the evening’s Pan Con Tomate and super fresh fish with eyes as clear as the bright morning sky. Oh, we can’t forget the fresh mushrooms that spilled out from their baskets in full autumnal glory, yet another reason that we loved visiting the market that Barcelona locals call the Mercado del Ninot.

Opening Bites

Monfort Barril and Isaura Monfort Porta at Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
Ricardo Monfort Barril and Isaura Monfort Porta guided us through the aisles of Mercat del Ninot, sharing samples and stories along the way.

Within moments of our arrival at Mercat del Ninot, the father/daughter team of Ricardo Monfort Barril and Isaura Monfort Porta warmly greeted us and ushered us to Peixeteria Osteria for our first bites at the freshly renovated market.

Peixeteria Osteria at Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
The food at tapas bar, Peixeteria Osteria, is literally fresh from the sea.

We were skeptical as to how this market’s offerings would compare to the wonderful seafood we ate at Costa Brava’s seafood market in Palamòs, but the dishes at Peixeteria Osteria impressed us with every bite. We feasted on seafood like jumbo octopus, crispy squid and massive Galician oysters, washing it all down with glasses of local white wine.

We could have happily nibbled and sipped at this market tapas bar all day, but our guides were anxious to show us more of the mercado Ninot.

Market Tour

Seafood at Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
The seafood offerings at Mercat del Ninot do not disappoint. Pictured here are shrimp variations from nearby Costa Brava.

Over the next two hours, we strolled around the market, stopping at various stalls where Barril introduced us to the extended family of vendors and their wares. We checked out delicacies like fresh fish at Peixateria Mary and creative chicken at El Pagès.

We learned that salt cod was for the poor back in the day when the market was new but is now more of a luxury item, and we heard stories about how the same families have been shopping for generations at Porta Novau, the lentil shop owned by our enthusiastic guides.

Porta Novau at Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
The shopkeepers at Porta Novau have been selling beans and lentils in the Mercat del Ninot for three generations.

Sampling anchovies and prepared fish delicacies at BacaLalo was a particular highlight of our market tour. Not only did we love all of the generous samples, but we also savored the glasses of Cava that magically appeared and fell into our open hands. Seriously, folks, this is the way to shop!

Baca Lalo at Mercat del Ninot in Barcelona Spain
In addition to selling fresh and dried fish, Baca Lalo also sells a colorful selection of prepared foods. Want to eat your purchase in the market? Then be sure to get a glass of Cava as well.

With so many stops and snacks built into the tour, we unfortunately missed eating lunch at Ninot Cuina, the market’s most fashionable restaurant. When we return to Barcelona, we know where we’re eating lunch.

Coffee

Not wanting our Mercat del Ninot experience to end too quickly, we continued the fun at nearby La Parada Bar Restaurant where we drank coffees and chatted with Porta about the market and her Barcelona life. Porta proved to be a charming coffee companion, open to sharing her thoughts with the two of us. Even better, she let us video the conversation. What a sport!

Mercat del Ninot is located at Carrer de Mallorca, 133, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.

Mercat del Ninot Video

Watch our YouTube video for the inside scoop about our experience at Mercat del Ninot.

Research Barcelona Hotels

We stayed at the comfortable, conveniently located Silver Aparthotel Barcelona during our time in Barcelona. Click here to find the best rates for this 2foodtrippers approved hotel. Or, if you want a kitchen to cook up your market purchases, click here to find an Airbnb apartment.

Hungry for more?
Check out our tips on how to spend a culinary weekend in Barcelona.

We thank Barcelona Turisme and their partners for supporting our visit to Barcelona.

About the Authors
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Affiliate Disclosures
(1) As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
(2) As an Airbnb Associate, we earn when you book through any Airbnb links.

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Jessalyn

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

I absolutely love the Spanish markets! I was only able to visit Barcelona for a few weeks, but want to go back again someday- such an awesome place to see and visit.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 18th of February 2017

We want to go back to Barcelona too. Maybe we'll see you there.

Claire

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

I've only been to Barcelona with family so no experimenting with local foods :( but when I go back to Barcelona I def wanna check out the markets. I love having fresh seafood from Spain

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Thursday 16th of February 2017

Hopefully you'll get back to Barcelona sooner than later and eat all the seafood!

melody pittman

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Yum!! I visited Mercat del Ninot on my trip to Barcelona many years ago. It was my first international market and I took about a hundred photos. ;) I love the food in those little cones.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

We love that you have this memory from your first international trip. Hopefully you'll return soon to make new Barcelona memories.

Sutee Dee

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

I always go to the hectic famous, market just to check it off. Markets like Mercat del Ninot are always the best. I'm so surprised at how much organized that market looks compared to the ones I've been on this trip.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

We always go to the famous markets at least once too, but it's the markets like Mercat del Ninot that we return to again and again.

Erin Klema

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

All that fresh seafood looks amazing. I think I could easily spend a couple hours eating my way around this market. I'll have to keep it in mind for whenever I may return to Barcelona because, like you guys, I've already done most of the touristy things in the city.

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Tuesday 14th of February 2017

Barcelona is definitely worth a return visit. The different neighborhoods have so much to offer away from the tourist sites.