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Feb 6, 2011 08:06 AM

Calcotada near Barcelona..accessible by public transport?

Since I will be in Barcelona for a week, during the calcot season, I would like to find an atmospheric place to sample calcots. The stumbling block seems to be that, since we will not ahve a car, I need to find a place accessible by train or bus.

I've found very little information on this subject, but I did find mention of this restaurant outside Sant Cugat; a small hike of a few km seems to be involved.

Please let me know if anyone has been here, or has any other information or tips to pass on....thanks!

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  1. I found this promising looking restaurant in Valls, perhaps a bit further afield:

    1. I hope I'm not too late, but go to 'Sant Sadurní D'Anoia', which is about a 45 minute train ride from Sants Estacio (BCN's main train station). The train leaves quite often. This town is in Penedes, where Cava is produced. Once you get to Sant Sadurní D'Anoia there is a Restaurant/ Bodega called 'Cavas Canals & Casanovas'. There you can have a fantastic Calçotada, as well as try some other delicious traditional Catalan treats, not to mention the Cava!

      Getting from the town's train station to the restaurant shouldn't be too tricky, as I'm sure you can get a taxi...although to be perfectly honest I've always driven there so have never done this myself. I have included a link to a map that will show you the distance between the train station and restaurant.

      I went last weekend with some friends and we had a great time! Enjoy!

      4 Replies
      1. re: Neoyorquino

        Thank you, thank you! Not too late..I will go first week in March. From what I am reading, they appear to be open only on weekends--did you eat during the week?

        1. re: erica

          Yes, sorry I forgot to mention that. I always go during the weekend. I just called them to confirm and they say that they only open for food during the week for groups of +20 people.

          I have always gone out of town for my Calçotadas, but you got me thinking that it would be crazy if there were no where good to do it in town! I called a Catalan friend of mine and she recommends 'El Caliu de l'Eixample' which is, in L'Eixample and offers a Calçotada. I hate recommending restaurants that I have not personally tried, but I do trust my friend and I'd say that if you can't make it out of town, look into this one! Hope this helps!

          1. re: Neoyorquino

            So I decided, "what the hell, I need to eat lunch somewhere today" and shot over to 'El Caliu de l'Eixample'. I can now vouch for it with more confidence.

            While I have to say it is not the true-true experience of going slightly out of town, it is pretty darn close. There was a Calçotada Menu for 25 EUR which included Pa amb tomàquet (traditional tomato bread), a nice sized salad, all you can eat Calçots, a nice selection of mixed meats that you cook yourself on a stone grill that is situated on your table, and the daily dessert. All in all this is a really nice place and I will definitely go back. For me the Romesco sauce served with the Calçots is what can really make the difference and theirs was quite good. If you go, let me know what you think.

            1. re: Neoyorquino

              Very impressive--not only did you give me all the info, but you were my "taster!" This is good to know, in case for some reason (terrible weather, failure to convince my travel companion) we do not get out of the city....a million thanks!!

      2. Hi Erica,

        I don't have a specific name to recommend, but we were in Sitges last year in March and there were literally dozens of places where Calcots were available - and friends were there exactly a year earlier - same report (in fact they said we had to try them!).
        I understand that Sitges is 'Calcot Central' - and can be reached by bus from Barcelona (bus stops at airport too).
        The downtown area is easy to walk - and calcots are impossible to miss - usually hanging outside. Our friends took the train in to Barcelona, so there must be a train too - but we went straight from the airport.

        10 Replies
        1. re: estufarian

          This is also good news!! Do you recall if you were there on a weekday?? Most, but not all, of the places I've found that are accessible by public transport seem to be open only on weekends...

          The place I mentioned in the original post is still a contender since they do open during the week, from Wednesday through Sunday. Getting there seems to involve a trek/hike on a "forest route" ("pista forestal"??). Calcotada at 32 euro with meats, wine and dessert.. Only an obsessed Chowhounder would even consider embarking on such an odyssey, I am quite sure..

          In the town of Vilanova i al Geltru, I got a tip about a local restaurant named Cal Xarli, open daily for lunch except Wednesday, but no online reviews and no website; phone 93-814-2226.

          1. re: erica

            I was DEFINITELY there mid-week - specifically Tue Apr 20, 2010 - I won't easily forget it as we were diverted/delayed because of the Icelandic volcano, and only had the one night in Sitges. It was towards the end of the season and several places (recommended by friends) had run out of calcots by then. So we just took pot-luck, and 'followed the calcot bunches hung outside'. And we had to leave next day for Madrid.
            Incidentally spoke to my friends who were there in 2009 and they said the train ride into Barcelona was about 30 mins. They rented an apartment in Sitges and loved the cafe scene (and the calcots!).

            1. re: estufarian

              Many thanks!! I can see why you remember the day!

              Sitges would be an easy trip...I wish we had the name of a restaurant, though...(??). I guess I should ask you: How was the meal??

              1. re: erica

                I had forgotten about Sitges, that would be a great option for you and as Estufarian says there are loads of good places. Another thing to keep in mind (and at the risk of moving away from our theme of Chow) Carnival this year is the first week of March and Sitges is one of the great places to go in Spain for Carnival. On the 6th and the 8th of March this year there will be massive parades which are a lot of fun! Something to keep in mind.

                1. re: erica

                  My meal was very good - but not good enough to recall the restaurant name!
                  I'm 'usually' reluctant to recommend places I haven't tried, but my friends mentioned a couple Viña and La Borda. This is NOT a recommendation from me - merely a possible starting point for research - it's over 2 years since they were there. But they stayed in Sitges for about 6 weeks.
                  Certainly, I just 'walked in' by strolling the downtown Sitges area.

                  1. re: estufarian

                    Many thanks, yet again! Looks like I now have some good options. I certainly will report back after my calcot feast! Looking froward very much to this!

                    1. re: erica

                      I just received a tip from a local resident and thought I would share it here.

                      This is a Catalan tavern/restaurant located in the Hostafrancs neighborhood and accessible by metro L1 to Hostafrancs; they cook over a wood fire. The menu lists lamb, steaks, veal, sausages, as well as calcots.

                      Open for dinner Tues-Saturday and lunch as well on weekends:

                      La Parra:

                      1. re: erica

                        La Parra is fantastic! I wasn't sure if they did a Calçotada there, but it is truly authentic Catalan! If you go try the 'Galtas'! There are a Catalan specialty.

                        1. re: Neoyorquino

                          This is excellent news--the fact that you have been there and recommend. It looks (from the very small amount of info I read online) like a real locals place...! At this rate, I will be eating calcots the entire week! MANY thanks!! (Also, since you know the city well, please see another query I will post right now..)

                          1. re: erica

                            I just wanted to update this thread with reviews of the two tradtional Catalan restaurants that we visited last week. With the romesco stains on my blouse, and the black ash under my nails, I have been initiated into the joys of calcots!

                            CAN MARTI

                            I was determined to sample calcots during this trip. I had been to Barcelona before but always missed the Jan-March season for this much-beloved variety of winter onion, which resemble the leeks that we have back in the US and are sold in large bundles here in the markets. Although there are restaurants in the city that offer calcots, I wanted to try them grilled over a wood fire in a more rustic setting.

                            So, yesterday about noon, we set off on the FGC train from Placa Catalunya, getting down about 15 minutes later at Peu de Funicular, north of Sarria on the same train line. There is a funicular here that whisks passengers up the steep Vallvidrera hill to the neighborhood that houses the restaurant.

                            Unfortunately, the person who answered the phone at the restaurant had assured me that it was only 10 minutes from the train stop to the Can Marti. Did she think I was driving?? She also neglected to mention the funicular!

                            What ensued was a STEEP walk, that so depleted us that after about 20 minutes of panting, I literally planted myself in the narrow road and flagged down a passing workman in a truck and begged him to give us a lift up the hill.

                            Can Marti sits amidst private houses in what looks like an upscale suburb of BArcelona; request a window seat and the entire city will spread before you. That is, if you have a sunny day, which we did not. It was cold, drizzly, and a bit foggy.

                            So the view was compromised, but the food? I loved this place! It would not have been more rustic if it had been in the Cerdanya. The restaurant appears to be a small private home, with a glassed-in dining room at the rear and a large brick grill area set into the back of the house. Piles of wood loom everywhere.

                            The menu is in Catalan, but they do have one in English as well. (But not in Castillian for some reason!)

                            Set menus are offered (including a calcotada feast for 30 euro that included a parade of grilled meats, wine, etc) but we chose from the a la carte offerings:

                            Everything was grilled over the open fire.

                            Artichoke. (6 euro) delicious!

                            Torrades amb tomaquet. (here they bring you the toasted bread, along with a few small tomatoes and a garlic clove; oil and salt are already on the table; you make your own pa amb tomaquet)
                            1.10 euro each)

                            Calcots. A bundle of about a dozen, along with a bowl of piquant romesco for dipping (one ingredient is secret so I could not get the recipe). 8 euro. Incredibly sweet!! I Loved these charred beauties!! Bibs are supplied but prepare to get very messy!

                            Mongetas, or white beans 2.90 euro. Excellent--with a crunch on the outside that might have come from bread crumbs.

                            1/4 rabbit 5.50. My friend thought this gamier than those in the US; I liked it; portion is for small eaters, though.

                            Costelles de xai, or lamb ribs 14.50 euro. Tiny ribs and one other part of the lamb. Tasty, with char.

                            With water and house red wine, plus two cafes, the total was 45.80 euro for two.

                            If you are here in calcot season and you want to sample true Catalan food, I would consider this
                            restaurant an essential stop on an eating tour. The entire trip from downtown takes under an hour. Do not miss the funicular at the train station. Make sure to sit in the second or third car of the train so you do not miss the short platform at Peu de Funicular.

                            An afternoon I will not soon forget!


                            LA PARRA

                            For our last night, a Saturday, we elected to return again to the world of Catalan traditional food. I had received a recommendation from a local wine person for this restaurant, located not far from Sants train station and NW of Placa Espana in the Hostafrancs district.

                            The descent of a flight of steps from the main street, Calle Sants, brings one to a neighborhood of crooked lanes and tiny houses that still bears the resemblance to its village roots. A giant wood-burning grill greets diners at the entrance to the pair of rustic dining rooms; there is also a vine-covered terrace for summer dining.

                            La Parra is a formerCatalan coaching inn and, together with Tickets, illustrates the vast breath of the food scene in this compelling city, with Tickets, perhaps representing the future and La Parra rooted in the past.

                            The menu is in Catalan, which bears enough resemblance to Spanish that I could make out much of it, but fortunately, we had the assistance of our waiter from France who also spoke good English. The menu here is an amplified version of the one we encountered at Can Marti a few days before: Grilled meats and vegetables; bread with various toppings from the familiar tomato to butifarra and even fish; traditional dishes cooked in the oven. Meat and fish were much in evidence and there are also many vegetable dishes.

                            We began with 1 "pa de pages tomat," (1.65) and 1 pan with butifarra negra or blood sausage, arrayed on the toasted bread along with cooked onions. (6 euro).

                            We continued with an order of calcots (13 euro) which were burned to the crisp. The waiter noticed this and brought us a second platter which were unfortunately equally charred. He explained that since we were eating on the early side, at 9pm, there were flames at the grill instead of the ash that the calcots demand. Maybe they should have been more prepared; we had booked the day before!

                            The grilled artichokes (2 for 8 euro) were outstanding; I could eat almost the entire choke save a few outer leaves.

                            For the meat course: Lamb chops (3 for 12 euro): Tiny but tasty, if probably not the finest quality meat.

                            Roasted goat (cabrit): Three cuts were available and we chose the ribs (18.50 euro). Tasty enough but a far cry from the delectable grilled goat I had devoured in the Piedmont in Italy.
                            (I apologize in advance for making this comparison


                            We drank beer and local house rose. (Sold by the glass, but a new bottle was opened at the table; this was quite good but I did not note the name) After a discussion with the waiter, the charge for the calcots was removed from the bill and we paid 51.45 euro.

                            Address: Joanot Martorell, 3
                            How to get there: Metro: L1 Hostafrancs
                            Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday: 8:30pm-12am Saturday: 2pm-4:30pm and 8:30pm-12am Sunday: 2pm-4:30pm
                            Telephone(s): 93 332 5134