If Barcelona is a shopping-lover’s paradise thanks to its big-name high-street brands and designer boutiques, knowing where to buy traditional Spanish products can be a little tricky, especially if you want to avoid the kind of stores catering exclusively to the tourist market. Fear not, here’s our pick of some of the best places to buy genuine Spanish products where the locals like to shop.
Mercat de Sant Antoni
Market, Spanish, $$$
Nowhere near as famous as the Boquería market
and still more under the radar than the Santa Caterina market, the Mercat de Sant Antoni is a true locals’ market. Currently undergoing massive renovation work, the market stalls have relocated to a pre-fab building just across the road from the impressive Modernist building that historically houses the market. Here you’ll find an abundance of fresh produce but also Spanish-made condiments, spices and other dry goods you can easily take home.
La Caixa de Fang
Located just behind the cathedral in Barcelona’s ancient Gothic Quarter
, La Caixa de Fang is the place to shop for traditional ceramics and glasswork. They’re a relatively small business specialising in Spanish ceramics, with pieces from Catalonia as well as other pieces coming from further afield such as Granada or Almeria. They have all sizes of plates, bowls and other household earthenware, much of which is made in small-batch production.
This family-run business is a rather chic concept store located in the equally trendy El Born
neighbourhood. The store’s inspiration is the Mediterranean and the laid-back lifestyle associated with it. You’ll find artisan-made linens, crockery and silverware as well as soaps, creams and even a hand-picked selection of clothes. This is a great place to shop if you want Spanish products that are contemporary and stylish as well as authentic.
Grocery Store, Spanish, $$$
One of the oldest food stores still open in the city, Colmado Quilez is like a blast from the past with its old-fashioned façade, seemingly unchanged since it opened in 1906. Step inside and you’ll be greeted with wall-to-wall shelves piled high with fine Spanish and Catalan produce
. Here’s where you’ll find luxury preserves and tinned produce such as anchovies, clams, olives and even foie gras. There’s also a selection of fine local wines with over 3,500 references from which to choose.
Ice Cream Parlour, Candy Store, Spanish, $$$
This is an absolute must for anyone with a sweet tooth, whatever the time of year. Sirvent is one of the most well-regarded orxaterias
in Barcelona, meaning they make a sweet, creamy drink known as horchata
. While this is a little tricky to transport any long distance, they also make some of the best turrón
in town. This nut-based treat is also known as nougat abroad, but here in Spain it comes in two types: one soft and chewy, the other crunch and brittle. Both make excellent gifts and are especially popular around Christmas time.
A small store located just across from the MACBA
contemporary art museum, Bagana is an artisan jewellery shop run by a mother and son. Together they design the jewellery and make the pieces on-site in their workshop. The collections of rings, bracelets and necklaces are made from materials such as silver, copper and semi-precious stones, each unique and capturing something of the free-thinking Barcelona spirit.
La Manual Alpargatera
La Manual Alpargatera is a traditional shoemaking workshop and shop located in one of the main streets of the Gothic Quarter
– the Carrer d’Avinyó, which inspired Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
painting. Founded in 1940, the shops specialises in traditional Catalan shoes called espardenyes
, or espadrilles, and they have counted among their clients celebrities such as Jack Nicholson, Tyra Banks and even Salvador Dalí.