Tucked into the uppermost corner of the impressive Mercat del Encants flea market is a great, yet little-known food stop off. It’s combination of fresh, varied and generally healthy food, plus an outpost of one of Barcelona’s best loved cava bars makes it the perfect place to meet up with friends, grab a quick lunch if you work around the Glories area or like me, gather your colleagues for an end of week, post-work drink.
Comprising of six stalls plus an outdoor (but covered and sheltered) eating area, the food hall means you can sample food from one or more of the outlets without moving more than 20 metres. The stalls are best visited on a Saturday morning or around lunchtime to see them piled high with colour and choice, not towards the end of the day as we did, my photos here do not do the stalls the justice they deserve.
Stop & Mos offers pinchos and other small bites such as mini burgers, vegetables wrapped in filo pastry, empanadas (better known as ‘pasties’ where I come from), a variety of croquettes and even portions of British classics like Shepherd’s Pie.
Moving along, Gallen Cantant has great lunchtime options with pasta salads, quiche, stuffed potatoes, again various croquettes and empanadas and fluffy potato bombas. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a slice of their homemade cakes or other tempting goodies.
For lovers of Barceloneta’s long-standing but rather crammed Can Paixano Xampanyeria that want a little more room to manoeuvre, they can come here to enjoy the deliciously greasy hot sausage, bacon and other meat combo ‘butties’ the port side location is famous for, as well as plates of cheese, olives and other pica pica.
We all know though that’s all just for lining the stomach for the copious amounts of cava you are going to drink, whether you intend to or not. At just over 1€ a glass and around 6€ for the bottle, you’ll never go there for “just the one”.
Peixet als Encants is a fried fish fan’s paradise. Lightly battered whitebait, baby squids and cuttlefish pieces sit alongside fresh fish, green peppers and local artichoke waiting for your choice of the fryer or grill.
Not everything gets dunked in hot oil though, they also do wonderful seasonal dishes such as this stew of baby broad beans, artichokes and baby squid cooked in their ink.
For those of a more traditional fast food persuasion, they are well catered for with deep pan pizza ‘whole or by the slice’ at Mucho Gusto or a heaving plate of Chinese food from Menjar Fu.
Armed with a bottle of cava, we chose our snacks and took a seat, all of my colleagues on their first visit marveling how “we never even knew this existed”. Now make sure you acquaint yourself with it too.
Note: Encants market and the food hall are NOT open every day. The market is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturdays from 09:00 – 20:00, although in reality you’ll find many of the stalls starting to close earlier than that.
Mercat dels Encants, C/ de los Castillejos 158, Glories