'El Quim’ elevates tapas to gastronomical heights

By ExtremeFoodies on September 8th, 2016



La Boqueria on Las Ramblas, one of Europe's largest and most famous food markets, is a mecca for foodies visiting Barcelona. One of its hidden gems is El Quim. A tiny kitchen surrounded by a counter and a small row of stools, don’t let its size fool you. The seats are occupied by people who really care about food.

They are there to taste the creations of Catalan chef Joaquin Marquez Duran, otherwise known as “El Quim.” His perfectly prepared plates range from the simplicity of grilled prawns to possibly the single greatest tapas ever created: mixed forest mushrooms tossed with parsley and garlic, topped with an organically farmed egg and crowned with foie gras, sea salt and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.



The bustling 29-year-old restaurant in the midst of the market serves breakfast, tapas and lunch to hungry shoppers and market vendors.

And Quim knows every inch of La Boqueria market. He long ago scoped out the vendors with the freshest eggs, fish and foie gras that underlie his daily changing menu of traditional Spanish and Catalan dishes.

Quim’s specialty is eggs, which he has elevated to a delicacy, particularly fried eggs with baby calamari. It’s an unexpected combination that fills your mouth with pleasure.

Eating at La Boqueria market, which Quim calls “a paradise of food,” is an experience no foodie should miss. There is nothing like eating at the counter, watching Quim work miracles with the fresh produce and a couple of burners and pans.

When Quim opened his first bar, with only five stools, inside the market, “it was not the best place in the market, but I had all the enthusiasm and hopes of the world. It’s an immense market that was, and is, a small town within the big city. The first four years were very hard working and fighting to win customers, serving breakfast from 7 a.m. and more than 100 lunches during peak work days.”

When the market was remodeled in 2000, Quim expanded to a slightly larger bar with 18 stools. And in 2010, his expansion continued when he opened "The Little Quim" right next to "El Quim de la Boqueria" with five more stools.

Today, Quim is one of the best known and most respected chefs in the city, having built his business on the thing he is most passionate about: his food.

“I have had the privilege to meet people from all over the world, from Barcelona to the distant visitor to the most prestigious chefs. I always want my modest local to be the meeting place for all kinds of cultures and tastes, but with a unique devotion to gastronomy, where you can sample authentic cuisine from La Boqueria Market,” Quim said.

“For those who do not know me yet, drop by to experience ‘the art of eating on a stool.’“

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