Can Punyetes is an old school Catalan taverna, with charcoal grill. It has beautiful art nouveau windows and an astonishing solid bar made of marble. The restaurant logo (above) depicts a traditional Catalan wearing a barretina (cap), armilla (waistcoat) and faixa (wide belt). He drinks from a porró (porrón), a glass drinking vessel, originally from Cataluña, that became popular across Spain. It looks to me, like he might also be treading grapes.
but their à la carte menu is relatively inexpensive.
We shared a xató salad to start – this is a Catalan salad containing endive, bacalao, tuna, anchovies, olives (plus boiled eggs here) and what makes it really special is the xató sauce of ground almonds, hazelnuts, ñora peppers, bread, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and sherry vinegar.
We both ordered our main courses from the brasa (charcoal grill) section of the menu. The grill is above right, behind the counter, so everything is cooked almost in front of you. These dishes come with patata al caliu (barbecued potatoes) or mongetes (white beans).
Silvia ordered xai amb patata al caliu – grilled lamb chops with potatoes. These were deliciously tender and smokey from the charcoal.
I looked at the menu and wanted botifarra, a traditional Catalan sausage, but couldn’t make my mind up about which type, until Silvia pointed out that they do an assortment de bottifarres, where you get all three – Catalan, Aragonesa (Aragonese) and negra (morcilla – blood sausage). It’s traditional to eat botifarra with mongetes (white beans AKA judias blancas). I can’t say which sausage was best, but I would definitely order the same again
with lots of allioli, which goes perfectly with both lamb and sausages.
We also had a plate of pa amb tomàquet, rustic bread, toasted on the grill, rubbed with garlic and tomato then drizzled with olive oil
and sprinkled with salt.
For pudding, Silvia had a crocanti ice cream – vanilla and chocolate with crunchy nuts on the outside.
I ordered mel i mató, a simple whey cheese, traditionally made from goat’s milk (but it can be made from cow’s milk), with honey on top. This was one of the best ones I’ve ever had!
…and of course, I finished my meal with a carajillo de cognac,
while perusing the bill. Note that the half carafe of rosado cost €2.80!
Can Punyetes was founded in 1981 by three friends interested in recreating the atmosphere and food of traditional Catalan taverns. They have since opened in several other locations, including Madrid. We had lunch in the original restaurant, where the food, decor, atmosphere and service were fantastic!