Every time S and I are in a different city we make it a point to go somewhere that serves truly traditional cuisine without all the grandeur of fine dining or the colloquial tourist atmosphere of a bar. In Barcelona, I’m not talking about those places along Paseig de Gracia, La Boqueria or La Rambla. I’m talking about Can Vallés, a place far away from the tourist hubs, doesn’t speak English and is absolutely packed with locals.
Can Vallés is a small restaurant with only about 10 or so tables. Because of its size we really could not take the chance of walking into this place hoping for availability, so I called to make a reservation a week before we left. Before this, I had not had a conversation in Spanish in more than a year so I really don’t know how I managed to pull it off. Phew!
Though I am conversational in Spanish, there are quite a number of Spanish food terms that give me trouble. So an hour before going to the restaurant, S and I were on hardcore translate mode. We found their three-page menu on Google Images, hoped they hadn’t changed it since whoever posted it went there, translated every single menu item and decided on a couple of things we wanted. Some people may call this crazy, but I just call it being prepared.
We wanted to enjoy the Catalan heat so we walked for about 30 minutes from our hotel on La Rambla to the restaurant. From the outside, the restaurant looks like a hole in the wall. All the potted plants around the entrance did not help. Although it wasn’t very appealing from the outside, inside was actually very nice. It was very bright, clean and traditional and the owner was cutting up some jamon iberico as we arrived. It was a good thing we had a reservation, cause the people who arrived the same time as us were immediately turned away (haha suckers! though really they should know better).
Once we sat down we needed some good old alcohol in our system and ordered the sangria (de Cava of course). We ended up ordering two pitchers for the night which gave me an awesome buzz throughout the meal. That stuff is potent! (Although perhaps it was so potent cause it was so good?) They also gave us olives, which I normally absolutely despise because they are always too salty and too tart-y for my liking, but these were so subtle and went amazingly well with the sangria.
We started our meal with a couple of items we never had before: smoked reindeer carpaccio (left) and pork trotter cannelloni (right). The reindeer carpaccio came with some bread, was covered in oil, some sort of sweet mustard concotion, balsamic vinegar and berries and was a solid way to start our meal. It looked so cool too! The bread it came with was not your typical bread. It was very light, airy and crunchy. On our server’s advice we got individual pork trotter cannellonis and it’s a good thing we listened cause that stuff was the shit! The pork was mostly raw and cheese was melted on top. I have, on several occasions, fantasized about eating raw pork and this dish fulfilled my wildest raw pork dreams. The whole thing was a sweet, salty, cheesy and gooey masterpiece and may very well be added to my growing mental food porn list. If I had another cannelloni, I could have ended my meal right after and walked out of that restaurant a very happy camper. But we didn’t…
We trooped on, ordering langoustines with tomato compote and pistachio oil and grilled monkfish. The restaurant was nice enough to split our order of each in half and serve it to us on our own plates without us asking. To end the meal, on the advice of our server, we ordered buñuelos de chocolate which are fried dough balls filled with chocolate which they served with cinnamon ice cream. All excellent stuff!
To view pictures of our meal in its entirety, click through the photo set below. If you are using a mobile device, please click here for compatibility.
Thanks for reading,
C & S