Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spain/Portugal >
Nov 25, 2007 10:07 AM

Can Fabes or Cellar de Roca

We will be in Costa Brava for 3 nights in April. We plan on eating at our hotel, Mas de Torrent for one night, and would like a Michelin star restaurantcan't decide between Can Fabes or Cellar de Can Roca for the other night. the third night we just want a great meal, but not Michelin star. If I had to choose just one of the above, which would be a better dining experience? I have read that Cellar has some very strange food combinations.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You probably read my post about Can Roca, but i will reiterate that the tasting menu we had there was disappointing, with odd flavors that did not work well. It seemed to me to be experimentation for experimentation's sake. I also felt the atmosphere and service were somewhat lacking in warmth. On the other hand, our dinner the same day at Can Fabes was the best we had in Spain and perhaps anywhere for that matter. The cooking is less experimental, but still innovative, and the staff, though very professional were also friendlier. The atmosphere, though modern, had a cozier feel. If you go to Can Fabes for dinner, it's a good idea to stay overnight in Sant Celoni. It's a pleasant town, and we enjoyed the Hotel Suis, inexpensive and just 2 blocks from the restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      I think our hotel (Mas de Torrent isn't that far, so we'd be inclined to drive back there. Should I make a reservation now for April at Can Fabes?

      1. re: briscopa

        I reserved at Can Fabes only a few weeks prior and had no problem, though it was a Monday night. It was busy but not every table was filled.

    2. These are two very different types of restaurants which I've posted on both in this board. Can Fabes is probably the most traditional of the top restaurants in Spain, whereas, Can Roca, next to El Bulli, is on the other end of the spectrum. Both wine lists are excellent with many fairly priced interesting wines. My opinion is that Can Fabe serves the best food in Spain. Some of Chef Santimaria's cooking can be depectively simple and some think that some of his saucing leans more toward French. I have never had a meal there that is less than excellent. Couple of my friends find his food "correct and boring" The service is formal but not stiff and the dining room can feel subdued on a slow night. Also, they still have one the best cheese tray in Spain. The dessert although good is usually not up to the rest of the meal.
      The food at Can Roca can be extremely experiemental, especially the first courses in the tasting menu. The main seafood/ meat courses are more straight forward and are some of the best I've had in Spain. And I love their desserts which are generally innovative and light enough to end a long meal. The bread service is one of the best I've encountered anywhere. Much of the staff is young though professional but sometimes lacks the assurance of the service staff at Can Fabes. Can Roca moved into a new quarter this month, a block from their old restaurant, therefore, should be more comfortable.
      The cost of the tasting menu at Can Fabes is at least 1/3 more than that of Can Roca.
      If I want great straight forward cooking using the best ingredients, I go to Can Fabes. If I am in the mood for experiment cooking by a great chef, I would choose Can Roca.

      4 Replies
      1. re: PBSF

        I cannot comment on Can Fabes, but I throughly enjoyed my experience at Can Roca last month. Yes, certain items may seem strange or too avant garde, but the tasting menu I sampled had some straight forward items as well, including probably the best pork dish I've ever had (roast suckling pig with grilled melon), a great seared skate with citrus and a fantastic foie gras torchon with shaved black truffles. In terms of some of the more "modern" cuisine Can Roca is known for, the "lactic" dessert was one of the best desserts I've had in a while (sheeps milk custard, ice cream and cotton candy). The Service was impeccable and the wine list was so big they wheel it over to you in a cart. The total bill was about 220 Euros for my wife and I.
        The biggest problem with Can Roca is that if you do not have a car, you can probably only have lunch there since the trains do not run very late at night and they do not start serving dinner until around 9:00pm.

        1. re: goat

          I'm glad you had a good experience at Can Roca. Interesting that you mention the suckling pig, as this was the one dish that we felt was truly excellent. However, we had suckling pig at several other top restaurants and it was equally good or in one case, at Rodero in Pamplona, even better in my opinion. The skate you were given sounds better than the one we had which was overpowered by an olive mixture. At these prices and with multiple Michelin stars I would expect every dish to be a wow. Also, even though there were no problems with the service, I didn't feel the warmth from management and staff that I did at Can Fabes.

          1. re: rrems

            I agree about the warmth of the staff at Can Fabes. We went there about three years ago. I had done some research on restaurants near Girona airport and had remembered its name, but had forgotten it was a 3 star restaurant. We turned up on spec and wearing jeans - but not only did they not seem to care, but, as they were fully booked, they opened up the room by the kitchen (Espai something) for us. They also let us choose from the (cheaper) menu only served in that room, even though they don't normally do that on a Sunday lunch time. They were very welcoming and we had a fabulous lunch.

        2. re: PBSF

          i agree with the lactic dessert.... it was simply divine! just creamy goodness and sweetness.

        3. Probably too late, but highly recommend the Hostal de la Gavina in San Agaro as a wonderful hotel. Do not miss the suquet and the razor clams in this area when dining at more basic restaurants!

          A note for can Fabes: There is a very modern room & a very traditional warmer room. I would ask for which one you'd like when you reserve. And make sure you can get home! We almost got stuck when taxis stopped running. Best to book a car & driver, but it's not cheap. We saw so many horrific accidents (to be honest on the way to El Bulli on another trip), we've decided no more driving home from dinners..

          2 Replies
          1. re: torta basilica

            Where is Can Fabes in relation to Girona or Cadaques?

            1. re: tsiblis

              Can Fabes is in a small town, Sant Celoni, on the same train to Girona. It is about 40 minutes from Barcelona. Girona is another 30 minutes or so further.

          2. Recently had an awesome lunch at Can Roca. I had the 9 course Gastronomic Week menu, my husband had the 3 course lunch menu..and they even accomodated my 7 year old's "pasta" dish...followed by the ever popular "Lactic Dessert". The staff was very courteous and service was crisp. They even toured us to their kitchen and wine cellar...40,000 bottles + with flat screens for presentation.
            This was towards the end of our trip..starting in Provence and eating at a few 1 star Michelin restaurants. While the French counterparts were sublime, simple but elegant.Can Roca just blew my mind. They even showed us a distiller that they use to get the essence of flavors. Met both Joan and Jordi Roca..very accomodating and proud showing their new place in Girona.
            The pictures enclosed do not do justice and yes, it is THAT good! I thought at 100 Euros for the gastronomic menu with taxes, service was a steal! I have eaten at more expensive places here in LA (Cut, Sona, etc.) that just cannot hold up to the quality of the food and service we got at Can Roca.

            1. Previous post was the "lactic dessert"..made from sheep's milk and raspberry sorbet.