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Can Fabes & El Cellar de Can Roca


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I am flying to Girona on Saturday April 9 to have lunch at El Celler de Can Roca. The next day I am having lunch at El Raco de Can Fabes. What's 'extra special, not to miss'? I would love to read about your experiences, and could use some help to make the right choices from the menu (including suggestions on wine!)

Thanx in advance ..

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As far as wine suggestions go, follow this one at Can Roca: ask for Josep Roca aka Pitu Roca and follow his advice. And while we're at Can Roca, I believe that in their menu they have a section where they feature their signature dishes. A carpaccio of pork trotters and crayfish immediately comes to my mind, as also does a dish inspired in the traditional escudella i carn d'olla which replaces the traditional ingredients with cod fish in different preparations.

At Can Fabes, there are a number of wonderful dishes. The best kid that I've ever had, roasted with sage, the luscious pork jowl with caviar over the lightest parmentier you can have, the ravioli of shrimp and porcini (boletus edulis), spiny lobster with just a hint of curry, . . .

Let us know of your final choices!

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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I am flying to Girona on Saturday April 9 to have lunch at El Celler de Can Roca. The next day I am having lunch at El Raco de Can Fabes. What's 'extra special, not to miss'? I would love to read about your experiences, and could use some help to make the right choices from the menu (including suggestions on wine!)

At Can Roca -- pretty much everything is excellent. Particular standouts on my recent visit included the "Gelat de Ceps", "Fideua sense Fideus" and the Apple and Foie Gras Savarin (which is justifiably famous). The Rocas are some of the best chefs in Spain right now in my opinion. You may need to call ahead and ask them to include the Gelat de Ceps the day before you go. They don't always serve it as it requires some pre-preparation and they can sometimes run out.

At Can Fabes -- you can see my previous post on this, which was mixed. The one dish which definitely did stand out, and to which I still think about fondly, was the Pops (baby octopus) with Miniature Gnocchi. Outstanding. If Santi has them on the current menu I would definitely order them, or ask them to include it on the tasting menu if you aren't doing the a la carte.

Enjoy your meals!

J.

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I have already jotted down your suggestions in my little black book! Very inspiring! And of course I will share my final choices with you. Last year one of my editors-in-chief visited Berasategui (San Sebastian), and in Catalunya Adrià, Santemaria and the brothers Roca. Culinary heaven, he told me. He came back very much impressed by their professionalism and their kind personalities. Said they were all awesome. Santi has the most beautiful kitchen he had ever seen (a 'passe' where ten chefs can work at a time, unbelievable) ..

--B

Edited by Bonita de Voogd (log)
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There's some healthy criticism in your comment .. My expectations of both Can Roca and Can Fabes are high, but it's not necessary to worship the ground Santemaria and the brothers Roca tread on :wink: .. I will keep you posted!

--B

Edited by Bonita de Voogd (log)
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I found Can Fabes quite disappointing around 18 months ago but 2 dishes that do stick in my mind were the ravioli of langoustines with the casing made from wafer thin langoustine and a fine lobster in a curry emulsion. Petit fours were great but again they brought the bill without being asked and we were dining fairly early. i found the sommelier extremely stiff and unforgiving.

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I found Can Fabes quite disappointing around 18 months ago but 2 dishes that do stick in my mind were the ravioli of langoustines with the casing made from wafer thin langoustine and a fine lobster in a curry emulsion.

. . . . .

Nimzo, you and I are talking about the same dishes at Can Fabes, I'd say. I was in Can Fabes late in July 04 and I experienced the same high level I've always enjoyed there.

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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We stayed in Girona from April 9th til April 12th. Breathtaking! We had lunch at El Celler de Can Roca, Taialà-Girona on the day of arrival, and were lucky to fall into the 25th Setmana Gastronòmica Gironina. Fortunately the Roca brothers participated and served a Menu Setmana Gastronòmica, which was absolutely amazing, especially in combination with the wines. We started with a set of delicious 'amuses' (i.e. cod crisps, black olive crisps, tiny crisp pestorolls, filled with a mousse of Parmiggiano) and tasty bread. Then came the plates: nougat of foie gras; soup of Comté with onion; scallops with fennel and salicornia; prawns with the vapour of cardamom and lemon; smoked cuttlefish with lemon preserve (served spectacularly with smoke caught within a glass bell!); egg yolk with sea urchins and a juice of black sausage and finally rack of lamb, lamb trothers cannelloni and peas. The deserts were brilliant, thanks to Jordi Roca: a sort of Irish Coffee, but totally different and made with PX instead of whisky and finally a Mandarina Napoleón. It's amazing that sommelier Josep managed tot serve 10(!) different wines to these dishes. For instance the soup was accompanied by a Jean Macle 1996 Château Chalon, Côtes du Jura (a very rare and expensive white wine that tastes a bit like sherry), whereas the egg was served with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape, V.V. Tardieu Laurent 2001, and the lamb with a Cascina Francia 98 Barolo! It takes guts to do so, and the combinations were surprisingly adequate. Price of this fabulous menu, including wines: 140 euro. It was worth every single cent! Table water (Vichy de Catalunya) and coffee were on the house, which we thought was a very sympathetic gesture.

Our waiter called Paco showed an outstanding performance. Very friendly, very professional with a lot of know-how and obviously proud of what he was serving. We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and it was clear to see that all the other guests were having a good time as well. The next day we had lunch at El Racó de Can Fabes. Tell you about that later on.

--B

Edited by Bonita de Voogd (log)
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  • 2 years later...

My boyfriend and I are currently in Barcelona, traveling up to Costa Brava tomorrow. We have an El Bulli reservation for Tuesday night, and an El Cellar de Can Roca reservation for lunch on Wednesday. We have heard great things about Can Fabes, but are wondering if it is crazy to do two big meals in one day. Would it be unreasonable to do lunch at Can Roca and then dinner at Can Fabes? If choosing only one, which should it be? We are hesitant to schedule anything else for the day of the El Bulli reservation.

Also, we have lunch and dinner still to schedule for Monday. We'll be leaving Barcelona in the late morning, and can either stop for lunch along the way to Girona or wait until we get there. We are staying at Mas de Torrent and will have a rental car. Any suggestions of where to eat either lunch or dinner? Many places appear to be closed on Monday.

Also, we both eat seafood but no meat/poultry, in case this influences recommendations. Thanks!

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I definitely do not recommend eating at both places on the same day. A disservice will be done to whichever is second.

Both are great. Can Fabes is more of a contrast to elBulli.

Enjoy!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My boyfriend and I are currently in Barcelona, traveling up to Costa Brava tomorrow.  We have an El Bulli reservation for Tuesday night, and an El Cellar de Can Roca reservation for lunch on Wednesday.  We have heard great things about Can Fabes, but are wondering if it is crazy to do two big meals in one day.  Would it be unreasonable to do lunch at Can Roca and then dinner at Can Fabes?  If choosing only one, which should it be?  We are hesitant to schedule anything else for the day of the El Bulli reservation.

Also, we have lunch and dinner still to schedule for Monday.  We'll be leaving Barcelona in the late morning, and can either stop for lunch along the way to Girona or wait until we get there.  We are staying at Mas de Torrent and will have a rental car.  Any suggestions of where to eat either lunch or dinner?  Many places appear to be closed on Monday. 

Also, we both eat seafood but no meat/poultry, in case this influences recommendations.  Thanks!

IM GOING BACK TO ROCAS THE DAY BEFORE MY MEAL AT BULLI AND AFTER EATING AT BOTH CAN FABES AND CAN ROCA,TAKING INTO ACCOUNT YOUR EATING PREFERENCE ROCA HAS STRONG FISH DISHES, WHERE AS ALREADY POSTED FOIE GRAS AND PIGEON ARE VERY STRONG AT FABES, THERE IS A PLACE DOC WENT TO ON THE WAY UP IF YOU LOOK ON THE MAIN PAGE

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My boyfriend and I are currently in Barcelona, traveling up to Costa Brava tomorrow.  We have an El Bulli reservation for Tuesday night, and an El Cellar de Can Roca reservation for lunch on Wednesday.  We have heard great things about Can Fabes, but are wondering if it is crazy to do two big meals in one day.  Would it be unreasonable to do lunch at Can Roca and then dinner at Can Fabes?  If choosing only one, which should it be?  We are hesitant to schedule anything else for the day of the El Bulli reservation.

Also, we have lunch and dinner still to schedule for Monday.  We'll be leaving Barcelona in the late morning, and can either stop for lunch along the way to Girona or wait until we get there.  We are staying at Mas de Torrent and will have a rental car.  Any suggestions of where to eat either lunch or dinner?  Many places appear to be closed on Monday. 

Also, we both eat seafood but no meat/poultry, in case this influences recommendations.  Thanks!

SORRY MENTAL BLOCK

ITS http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showto...=entry1407544

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Monday is indeed quite difficult. Unfortunately, L'Esguard is closed on Mondays, though that would have been an excellent choice. I don't know if Sant Pau is open or not.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Thanks for the advice! We ended up eating at El Cellar de Can Roca, where we had a lovely lunch. Lots of vegi/fish dishes and very little substitution of dishes required (we did the longest menu, and were given a pre-printed menu at the end that let us see what the meat dishes would have been). I'll try to post a full report on both El Bulli and Can Roca sometime this weekend.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's my write up of our meal at El Celler de Can Roca - sorry it's so long!

We had an early lunch reservation, since we were driving back to BCN that night. Once verifying that substitutions could be made for meat, we ordered the most extensive tasting menu and asked for wine pairings.

The "snacks" included: crunchy cod chips (which, while clearly fishy, were surprisingly good), "peanut caramel" (essentially a very good, fancy peanut brittle), "black olives crunchy" (a ripe olive in a sweet tuile - a great contrast, really delicious), "cucumber with vinegar" (according to the menu - I'm pretty sure it was actually squash, vinegar gelee, just okay), and "carrots with coconut and orange" (very Blue Hill at Stone Barns-y, but the non-carrot flavors could have been less subtle so that it seemed less like just eating a raw carrot).

The "tapas" course was the only place that we had substitutions for meat dishes. A sort of herb custard with one raw clam was good (though my raw shellfish apathy made this less enjoyable). The brownish gel was so fishy that I didn't want to finish it. I could have sworn that it was described as a mussel dish at the time, but the menu listed a "fennel veloute with see water [sic] and barnacles," which it could easily have been. The best of the tapas was a sort of play on a tomato salad - tomato water, vinegar sorbet, some sort of gelee on the bottom, but also with apple flavor (maybe that was the gelee? can't remember). I do remember loving the hint of apple sweetness, and this dish was great in general. I believe this is where we got the Palacio de Otazu 01, which was a very interesting, big chardonnay.

The "oyster with Champagne, apple, cumin, curry and species bread," paired, unsurprisingly, with another glass of the cava, was a slightly interesting take on a classic combination. In addition to the actual champagne liquid poured over the dish, the green, bottled shaped dish was lined with a gel and studded with bits of apple. I don't remember cumin or curry, and I could have sworn there was some ginger, but I can't be sure. No particular bread was served alongside.

The "Spring mushrooms could [sic] soup with avocado and pines ice cream" was a very cool concept, but the flavors left a bit to be desired. Despite the menu, I'm almost positive that the mushrooms were described as (and tasted like) white mushrooms. While the clear gel had a very distinct mushroom flavor, it would probably have been amazing if more interesting mushrooms had been used. The thin ribbons of avocado also tasted a tad underripe. Still, a good, creative vegetarian dish, if not outstanding. I think this is where we got Lustau Oloroso Abocado 89, a sherry that seemed a sort of odd pick for early in the meal, but I remember thinking that the pairings were well thought out and surprisingly successful throughout.

When the "Mussels with Riesling" arrived, I'll admit I was a bit disappointed--not more raw shellfish!--but this one was really excellent. Which is saying a lot about raw mussels, from me. Similar to the minibar (in DC) deconstructed white wine, the concept was that the underlying flavors of the reisling were each emphasized individually (but where minibar used gelee, Can Roca used mussels). The flavors were bergamot (vaguely like eating perfume), apple (tasted like a bright, not too sweet applesauce), citrus, something fruity (peach, I think?), salt (for the "mineral" in the wine), and white truffle (a rich foam that tasted strongly of white truffle - and not just truffle oil - heavenly). Like with the oysters, the wine pairing was obvious, a reisling.

Like the mushroom and avocado dish, I really wanted to love the "artichokes with sunflowers and orange," but it fell a bit short of its potential. While I did enjoy it a lot, the sunflower puree was a bit overpowering for the artichoke puree. However, the crispy artichoke slices were good and the citrus of the orange supremes cut the rich creaminess of the purees very well. This course was paired with the Edetaria 05, which was an extremely interesting, very nutty white wine. I would love to be able to find it in the States.

For the next course, a glass dome was removed at the table to release a thick, white cloud of smoke, which had the familiar, comforting smell of a campfire. The smoke cleared to reveal the "white asparagus souffle on embers." This was one of my favorite dishes of the entire trip. A picket fence of thinly sliced white asparagus encased a luscious, soft asparagus souffle. While this sounds simple enough, it was just amazing. I scrapped every bite off the plate that I could, and stared enviously at the table next to us when they received their own souffles a while later. We got another pour of the Edetaria, which was actually great since we'd enjoyed it so much.

The "hot veloute of prawn with cacao onions and mint" was the sort of rich dish that one would expect to eat in a more traditional, French restaurant. However, I would have thoroughly enjoyed it in a French restaurant and certainly did so here. The shrimp were covered in a thick, rich sauce, but what made this dish really excellent (instead of just overpoweringly creamy) was the puree of caramelized onion at the bottom of the bowl. When all the components were eaten together, it was more balanced and absolutely delicious.

The "noodles prawns 'fideua' topped with young garlic museline" was probably my least favorite of the savory dishes. I guess I just felt like the ingredients didn't mesh well into something particularly interesting. The "noodles" were a bit sticky and didn't really have a strong flavor. The shrimp were well cooked but not particularly flavorful, though better w/ some of the thick foam. Overall, this one just didn't leave a strong impression, either positive or particularly negative.

I enjoyed the Can Roca skate, which they called "ray fenouil and green olives," much more than I had enjoyed the skate at El Bulli the night before. Although I couldn't really taste the fennel, the tan sauce had an intense green olive flavor that was delicious. There were also bits of sea bream and some greens garnishing this dish.

The "codfish with pumpkin and red paprika oil" was probably my least favorite of the savory dishes, which made it a disappointing place to end. I think this was more a function of the fact that I don't love codfish all that much, especially the texture (too dense?), than any fault of the cooking. I did think it was very cool to discover that the "pumpkin," which I had thought was just chunks of pumpkin meat cooked soft, was actually a pumpkin-flavored gel pasta. I'm not sure the pumpkin and other ingredients, which were on the sweet side, really went all that well with the cod.

The "lactic dessert ("dulce de leche," sheep milk ice cream, sheep cottage cheese foam, sheep's yoghurt and lactic cloud)" was my favorite of any dessert we ate in Spain. The components got more dense as I ate my way from the cotton candy "lactic cloud" on top, to the icy salmon-colored sliver, to the yoghurt and foam, and finally to the dense, rich caramel layer on the bottom. When I was little (maybe 8 or 9), a Brazilian friend taught us how to make ducle de leche by boiling a can of condensed milk (which I loved). That is exactly what the dulce de leche in this dessert tasted like, scoring nostalgia points as well as flavor points. It was great to be able to taste the distinct milk flavor in so many different forms, and the slightly sour flavor in the yoghurt and the lightness of many of the parts kept this dish from being too sweet.

The second dessert was a "roses souffle with chocolate and pistachio's ice cream." It was a very interesting dessert. The "souffle" wasn't really a souffle so much as a sort of foam being confined within a fine, cylindrical (edible) shell of some sort. It was sort of like eating airy perfume. The combination of rose, chocolate (sort of like a brownie), and pistachio was good, but I was too full to finish it. I really liked that neither dessert was too heavy (or overwhelmingly chocolatey), given how full (and borderline drunk) I was.

After the Edetaria, there was a Ino Masia Serra N.V. Garnatxa (I believe it's a local varietal in the region), Martin Berdugo 03 tempranillo, Muscat Rivesaltes Ambre, and an Albersweiler Latt Auslese 02. In case it wasn't obvious, there was a LOT of wine paired with the meal. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where the last few paired (I was feeling the first, oh, four or five glasses). By the end, we were waiving away the waiter and leaving glasses half-filled.

The petit fours included a little citrus (I think) gelee, candied raspberries, chocolate covered poprocks (I always get a kick out of poprocks in haute food), and some sort of meringue (can't remember the flavor. The watermelon lolly pops looked like solid rock candy, but were actually melon balls covered in a thin, gelled layer (giving them the hard candy sheen). I think I would have preferred real lollies, if only because I wasn't quite ready for the meal to end and the real melon was too quickly eaten.

This was a great end to our food-centric vacation. The posters who steered us here were definitely right, especially given the fish-heavy menu. Thanks!

PS - I couldn't figure out how to add pictures here (new to eGullet and pretty technologically inept), but they are posted (along with more extensive comments) on my blog: fromagophile.blogspot.com.

Edited by fromagophile (log)
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One interesting observation is that it would seem that in your mussel dish, "salt" was substituted for "earth." I wonder if it was truly different or if they simply renamed the earth distillate secondary to a relatively chilly reception. I liked it.

I too loved the lactic dessert. It was a symphony of white that showed off the complexity and deliciousness of sheep's milk.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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