Kiosko Universal


November 24th 2011

In spite of all the drinking last night, the idea of going shopping at the Boqueria got me excited and out of bed without too much trouble. We were making British tapas for the Homage to Cataluña shoot on Saturday and needed big help from Alfredo on the day, plus the meat cuts in Spain are different to the UK, so choosing a good piece of roasting beef demanded Argentinian support.

universal bar

Shopping done, it was time for lunch. We ate at Universal – a reasonably large restaurant bar inside the Boqueria (food market) – you sit around the kitchen and eat at the bar. I estimate that Universal can seat about 40 or 50 people at a time and can probably do 300 – 400 covers during a busy lunchtime. We were lucky and only had to wait about 10 minutes for seats – to improve the wait, they serve you drinks while you stand.

aceite de oliva

Once seated, Alfredo pulled out a miniature bottle of top quality olive oil, from his bag,

pa amb oli

to drizzle onto bread with a pinch of salt (pa amb oli) – I was seriously impressed, all bars and restaurants have olive oil to hand, but only a gourmand takes his own!


I’d always wanted to eat at Universal – it’s very busy, you get the hustle and bustle of the market around you and the food looks amazing. I expected it to be expensive, but they do a cheap lunchtime menu – I think it was €14 for 3 courses. Going with a chef who eats there regularly and teases the staff constantly (which they take in very good humour), was fantastic! Alfredo suggested we order everything to share – that suited me, I got to try more things. First came a plate of mixed setas (mushrooms) cooked with garlic, olive oil and parsley – the market is full of different mushroom varieties at this time of year. I’ve no idea which ones were on the plate, but I’ve never had better!

huevos revueltos

Hot on the tail of the mushrooms came huevos revueltos (scrambled eggs) with prawns, sliced asparagus and mushrooms.


Our final stater was a plate of almejas (clams), again with garlic, olive oil and parsley – all the starters were fantastic.


The first main course to arrive was sepia (squid) with asparagus, carrots, red pepper and more garlic and parsley oil. These were the most tender squid I have ever eaten – very soft and not rubbery at all.


A sweet and succulent dorada (Gilt-Head Bream) followed, with Universal’s crispy hand made chips.


Bacalao (salt cod) came last, fried in a light batter in what I think was a, melt in the mouth, caramelised onion sauce and more chips.

tarta de santiago

For pudding we had Tarta de Santiago the famous almond cake from Santiago de Compostela in Galicia,


flan, also know as Crème Caramel (which apparently has its origins in France and Spain)

cheese cake

and finally cheese cake (which, much to my surprise, probably comes from the Greek island of Samos circa 2,000 BC).

Without a doubt, that was one of the best lunches I’ve ever had in Barcelona – it’s in the atmosphere as well as the food. I almost felt like Montalbán’s famous Barcelona detective, Pepe Carvalho, who cooks and eats his way through each novel. I can easily picture him eating at Universal…

Kiosko Universal is in: Mercat de la Boqueria, La Rambla, 91 08002 Barcelona

About Mad Dog
This entry was posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Recipes, Restaurants, Shopping, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Kiosko Universal

  1. IamSimplyTia says:

    Amazing photos. I love beautiful food. Yum.

  2. What a great place – you ate lots of my favourite things…and those mushrooms DID look amazing, you lucky thing. Love that Alfredo took his oil along – my mum often whips out chillis from her handbag when we´re out 😉

  3. ceciliag says:

    This is a very good post, a lot of work went into this, and all that FOOD! how did you eat it all! Eating with a local (chef to boot) makes such a difference doesn’t it, you learn so much more. Of course we all expect you to carry your own personal favourite olive oil now!! c

  4. What a wonderful place to eat, surrounded by all the other good food the market offers. All these dishes look so good, especially the almejas – I cook them simply like that at home. It’s all they need. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Alfredo!

  5. Rabina says:

    yum yum. It all looks so delicious. What a feast!

  6. Pingback: Roast Beef and Kedgeree | Mad Dog TV Dinners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.