La Ribera (venda a l’engròs)

la ribera

la ribera

We headed over to El Born for lunch at Llamber today. We had to wait 10 minutes for a table, so we did a little shopping to pass the time.

mercat del born

mercat del born

Both Llamber and La Ribera (top picture) are in the square that houses the Mercat del Born, once a public market and apparently the largest covered square in Europe. The commercial market closed in 1971. The building was scheduled for restoration in order to house the Biblioteca Provincial de Barcelona (the Barcelona provincial library), but when medieval remains of the city were found underneath, it was restored and turned into a museum.

la ribera counter

la ribera counter

La Ribera is a wholesale food company for restaurants, dating back to 1941. No doubt there were businesses like this all round the old market until a few years ago. Fortunately they are not exclusively wholesale and are happy to sell to the general public. Note that La Ribera is named after the area it’s in – Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera de Ciutat Vella, the lower part of which is referred to as El Born these days.



La Ribera sells more than 30 types of olive,



10 or so different cuts of bacalao and tinned fish,

herbs and spices

herbs and spices

large containers of herbs and spices (including curry powder from London), wines, hams, cured sausages, vinegars and olive oils.



I really loved the old fashioned shopping method of taking an item to the counter for  ticket, which one then takes to the cashier’s window (caixa) in order to pay. Oli bought some artichoke purée and a tub of herbs.

La Ribera S.A. is at: Plaça Comercial 11, 08003, Barcelona.


About Mad Dog
This entry was posted in Barcelona, Drink, Fish, Food, Meat, Shopping, Spanish and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to La Ribera (venda a l’engròs)

  1. Eha says:

    Mad: hate to say it but we are showing the passage of years 🙂 ! I also love the ‘old-fashioned’ way of shopping and paying!! Trying to earn ‘pin-money’ during high school and university holidays I oft worked as one of those cashiers – now, find time and look up what a ‘flying fox’ was/ is [couple still there as museum pieces in Oz!!]. Well, in some of Sydney’s poshest stores dozens would screamingly shoot on their wires to stop just short of my nose with a/c and money and ‘please expedite’!! Huge fun in hindsight . . .

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Eha – I remember shops in the UK, particularly butchers who had a cashier’s window right up to the late 70s. I’m not sure if it’s efficient, but there’s some nice nostalgia in seeing it still exists. I did notice from their website that La Ribera have a store in the new wholesale market (Mercabana) on the other side of Monjuïc – there are also some great pictures of this shop in 1941, on the same website:

  2. I just love markets of any kind. Those olives looked great. This way of paying is alive and well in some of the deli’s we went to in Melbourne. And always manned by the Mama! c

    • Eha says:

      Ooh – since Miss C has JUST been there I can’t quite be ‘telling tales’!!! Naturally matters are most ‘efficient’ NOW but isn’t it lovely to do it the old-fashioned way!! Am hugely ‘mad’ about to sign off on various HRM’s 90th birthday wishes with people making fun of her long career and the institution!! As to the way we used to shop methinks to the way many of us respect past values . . . I remember being a schoolgirl and curtseying to HRM and after that to her most delightful Mom when I was at uni – I am very sorry Mad, but ‘God save the Queen’ !! My apologies – but , in this instance – I AM Mad!!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia – I’m pleased to hear it and Mama knows best 😉

  3. Looks like a great use of your time! How can you go wrong there? Great history and photos. I think I may have been there before while wandering around. Love reading about your adventures.

  4. Food shopping heaven! Reminds me a lot of the Italian delis in soho back in the 1970s!

  5. Nadia says:

    Yesterday one of my local shops was having a Spanish festival and I bought several tins of tuna, anchovies, calamari, mussels and some delicious sunflower seed aperitif biscuits.

  6. Karen says:

    Isn’t it fun exploring and finding not only what “used to be” but what still survives. 🙂

    • Mad Dog says:

      Hi Karen – yes very much so, though it does bother me that a lot of what is different will soon disappear and be replaced by homogenised shops, bars and restaurants.

  7. Pingback: Llamber | Mad Dog TV Dinners

  8. Heaven – I would literally spend hours in there. Modern hypermarkets are all well very well, but I do like the old-fashioned shops with helpful and knowledgeable staff , something which sadly has disappeared in most countries I have been.

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