No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to El Mercat de La Boqueria. La Boqueria is one of the reasons why Barcelona is my favorite city in Spain. If you enter the market in the early morning hours or just after the tourists have lunched, you can truly appreciate and understand Catalan life. At El Mercat de La Boquería, you can find some of the highest quality food in Barcelona. My favorite meal is always at Universal Kiosk.
If you enter el Mercat de La Boqueria via the main entrance and make your first left, you will find Universal Kiosk (Carrer la Rambla, Puesto 691). This is generally a crowded corner of the market. People are drawn to Universal Kiosk by their menu and their prices. Compared to other sit-down eateries in el Mercat de la Boqueria, Universal Kiosk is a steal. The dishes are fairly priced and the portion sizes are healthy. I have eaten at Universal Kiosk a few times now, and I have never been disappointed by a dish or the service. If I only had time for one meal in Barcelona, I would choose Universal Kiosk.
When you arrive at Universal Kiosk, it is most likely that there will be no seats available. Unless you choose a cold or rainy day. In that case, all the power to you! Instead of wandering around until a seat opens up, put your name in with one of the servers. The list moves quickly and you will be enjoying a deliciously classic Mediterranean meal before you know it.
Universal Kiosk serves local seafood and Mediterranean inspired cuisine. Each day they have different specials depending on the catch of the day or the seasonality of their produce. I could describe all of the dishes I have had in grave detail. Thereby causing your mouth to water and your stomach to rumble, but instead, I will share with you a few photos of my favorite dishes and only the most important mouth watering details.
What to order at Universal Kiosk
Baby squid Pulpitos
Pulpitos are my favorite Spanish dish. I order it pretty much whenever I see it on the menu. The ones at Universal Kiosk are my all time favorite. As far as their menu goes, the pulpitos are one of the pricier dishes but understandably so. The garlic and herb olive oil sauce that gently coats the pulpitos adds the perfect level of acidity, sweetness, and smoothness to the dish. The pulpito are anything but chewy and always cooked to perfection.
Seafood Spagetti Spaghetti Frutti de Mari
As far as Frutti de Mari goes, I typically prefer a white sauce to a red sauce. I just have this thing about fish and red sauce. Despite my normal preference, I love the spaghetti frutti de mari at Universal Kiosk. The pasta is cooked al dente and the plum tomato sauce is light and sweet. Only con is, the mussels and clams are about the size of my pinky finger. They could definitely add a few more.
Mixed Vegetables Surtido de Verduras
There is nothing negative to say about the surtido de verduras at Univeral Kiosk. I have ordered this at least twice and I am always craving more. I know, I know, why am I so excited about roasted vegetables? It seems crazy that vegetables can taste this great. Heavily coated in olive oil, the vegetables are pre-cooked and simply reheated and sprinkled with flakey sea salt when you order. Let’s just say, the eggplant is so tender you can eat it with a spoon or spread it on a warm piece of toast. I prefer option 2. This is the way vegetables are supposed to be eaten.
Mixed mushrooms Surtido de champiñones
The first time I ate at Universal Kiosk I was mesmerized by their wild mushroom display. I had no idea so many varieties of mushrooms are found in the Catalan region. The wild mushrooms are prepared mush like the mixed vegetables and doused in a garlicy olive oil. Whatever they put in that sauce, they are doing something right. The sauce brightens the flavors of the meaty and earthy mushrooms making for an outstanding combination.
The Catch of the Day
I don’t even know what kind of fish I ate but I do know it was delicious. Delicate, white and flakey. The bones do bother me a bit but receiving a whole fish on a plate is pretty typical for Spain. Their fries are sliced in-house and fried immediately before serving. I wouldn’t have minded if the portion were two times larger…
Ps The Mercat de la Boqueria is closed on Sundays. Make sure to visit any other day of the week between 8 am and 8:30 pm and keep in mind that the majority of the bars, including Universal Kiosk, close for a few hours in the middle of the day as does most of Barcelona. To see more on Barcelona check out my post: 10 Things You Can’t Miss in Barcelona.
Do you have a favorite stall at Barcelona’s most favorite food market, Mercat de La Boqueria?