El Ninot Cuina (the doll market in Catalan) is situated inside the Mercat del Ninot in the Esquerra de l’Eixample neighborhood. The market dates back to 1892 and was recently renovated. Unlike La Boqueria and the Mercat de Santa Caterina the location is somewhat outside the typical tourist trail.
The restaurant is owned by Tomás Tarruella, who co-founded of Grupo Tragaluz and founded En Compañia de Lobos, which runs El Ninot Cuina, Gallito and Palmito restaurants. Designed by architect Dani Freixa, the interior is minimalistic, modern and defined by a large white marble bar around which guests can eat and drink.
El Ninot Cuina specializes in Catalan cuisine with international touches and chef Miki Calzado has designed a menu with an emphasis on fresh seasonal produce from the market. The €14 three-course menú del día is popular among the local business people and offers great value for money. À la carte, there is a choice of tapas, starters, egg dishes, rice dishes, fish and meat.
Try the the Almejas al carbón con tomate, albahaca y guindilla (clams cooked over coal with tomato, basil and pepper), the Huevos estrellados con chipirones (scrambled eggs with squid) and the Merluza asada con hinojo gratinado (Hake roasted with fennel gratin).