It is best known for its multicolored roof with 325,000 ceramic pieces in 60 different shades – representing the colors of the vegetables and fruits inside the market.
Mercat de Santa Caterina is also known for being less busy and touristic than La Boqueria, so if you’re looking for local fresh seafood, meat or cheese, this is the place for you.
It opened in 1848, which makes it the first covered market in Barcelona, and it is definitely worth a visit, not only for the market’s fresh food and restaurants but also for its beautiful building.
Cuines de Santa Caterina
Next to the stalls there is a series of bistros and restaurants, among which Cuines de Santa Caterina, a casual restaurant with a menu that reflects the variety of market products including Mediterranean, Asian, Italian and Vegetarian dishes. The Tapas Bar is open all day serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Santa Caterina Market was built in 1845 to provide the neighbourhood’s blue-collar community with foodstuffs. The spacious, modern market building was constructed on the former site of the Convent of Santa Caterina, from which it takes its name.
During the post-Civil War period, Santa Caterina became the main food supplier to the towns on the outskirts of Barcelona, so people from Sant Adrià, Santa Coloma and Mataró came on the tram to buy food in this market in times of shortage. Today, the market is still worth a visit: the modern exterior ushers us into a traditional market with food stalls and restaurants which serve outstanding-quality produce.
The refurbishment of Barcelona’s first covered food market by the architectural practice of Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue was completed in 2005. The old Santa Caterina food market revealed a gleaming and undulating roof, designed to be seen from the air, attached to the building by a wooden structure, and covered in a vast mosaic of hexagonal, brightly colored ceramic pieces.
Fresh seafood and fish. Cured fish. Meat and meat specialties. Cheese. Fresh veggies and fruits of the season. Spices and mixes. Sweets, including any kind of dry fruit, local honey and local specialties. There’s an entire kaleidoscope of colors and tastes, inside the market. Let’s choose just 3 short stories, for now.
Gordal olive is highly prized due to its large size and soft, meaty texture. Gordal means fat one in Spanish, and these are some big, proudly fat olives, with plenty of firm, meaty richness to match their imposing size. Grown in Andalucía, where tough Gordal trees thrive in the dry climate, these are beloved tapas olives.
Manzanilla is a brine-cured, crispy textured, almond-y flavor olive, grown mainly in the province of Seville, in southern Spain. Medium-sized with a good flesh-to-pit ratio, it is one of the most popular varieties.
Hojiblanca olive owes its name to the silvery appearance of the back of the olive leaf, which gives it its characteristic metallic glint. This olive is grown mainly in Andalucía, sold as table olives, and also used for olive oil. The flesh of these olives is firm and consistent, which makes them ideal for preparing as black olives.
Salted Cod Fish
All around the Iberic peninsula, one will always come across the dry cod fish (bacallà, in Catalan). Dry cod may be prepared as unsalted stock fish or as cured salt cod mix, including the traditional Catalan Esqueixada.
Dried Veggies & Spices
Each and every ingredient in the market is used to make traditional Iberic recipes, from the spices for a paella to the dried local porcini mushrooms (ciureny or cep) for side dishes or croquettes.
Market Opening Times:
Mondays 7.30 am – 2pm
Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday 7.30 am – 3.30 pm
Thursday and Friday 7.30 am – 8.30 pm