It rained this morning, but we got lucky – it started to clear up in time for a lunchtime rendez vous with Jonas, Sylvia and Sabina at Can Vilaró.
Can Vilaró is on a corner facing Sant Antoni Market, designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias and built between 1872-82. The market is in the process of being renovated – this has been a slow process that started in 2009, finding Roman remains beneath it has hampered progress, but it now looks like it might be completed within a year or so. In the meantime the market is housed in a prefabricated structure on Ronda de Sant Antoni.
It has a long thin interior, quite common in older places – daylight comes in from the glass front door. Jonas is a regular and had reserved a table towards the front. The restaurant was packed – it’s obvious that locals love to come here.
We were faced with a problem right from the onset,
we were presented with two menus (both in Catalan, above) – plats del dia (today’s specials) and plats recomanats (recommended dishes). However, on close inspection there was some overlap and variation on a theme. For instance, there were several botifarra (Catalan sausage) and cap i pota (calves head and foot) dishes. It’s a good job there were five of us feeling very hungry!
Sylvia’s starter came first, sardines de la costa amb torrades – sardines from the coast with toasted bread. In spite of being simple I thought they looked very stylish.
Jonas had estofat de vedella (veal stew with potatoes) and Sabina had a plate of verdura amb potatoes (vegetables with potatoes), not photographed.
Oli and I both had cervells a la romana (deep fried calves brain). Note the slice of fried aubergine, which was yellow from the batter.
These were without doubt the best brains I’ve ever eaten
and went exceptionally well with allioli.
I had cap i pota – a traditional Catalan stew of calves head and feet with red pepper and chickpeas. Quite delicious and sticky from all the gelatine.
Sabina ordered fetge amb ceba – calves liver and onions.
Sylvia had bacalla a la llauna – floured salt cod sautéed in olive oil, before baking in the oven on a tin tray (llauna), with garlic, tomato, white wine and pimentón. Here, it comes with mongets (small white beans).
Oli chose galtes de porc – pig cheek with vegetables,
which he made short work of.
For pudding Sylvia and Sabina had cremadet – something I’d never seen before. It’s a bit like a soft creamy crème brûlée.
Oli and Jonas had mel i mato – a fresh cheese with honey.
I had my favourite – crema catalana.
Throughout our meal we drank the house white – Pere Pujadas.
When we finally asked for la cuenta (bill) the price was astonishingly cheap – €113.05 for five of us, including 5 bottles of wine, 4 beers and 4 coffees with brandy! Oli pointed out that the pa i vi (bread and wine) is itemised together (see above).
Once we’d paid, our jovial host (who is the happiest looking restaurateur I’ve ever come across), offered us chupitos on the house. Sabina had heirbas, while the rest of us drank a coffee liquor. We really had a wonderful time at Can Vilaró – the food was delicious and the service was great. I can’t wait to go back!