Classic and contemporary Catalan tapas
Bar Cañete: Like so many of Barcelona’s best establishments, this traditional yet trendy tapas bar and restaurant entered the world as a small family-run affair. Over the years it’s garnered a strong reputation amongst local gourmands and in-the-know travellers who want to eat quality Spanish cuisine. There are two very separate dining spaces: the long narrow bar overlooks the kitchen where chefs jostle flaming frying pans and slice buttery slithers of jamón off the bone, and the more formal dining room is all dark wood and leather with moody lighting and sultry jazz tones.
The waiters run around hurriedly and elegantly in their smart white jackets and restaurant manager Don Julio can be seen barking orders like some kind of Navy officer. They thrive off the buzz and the pressure of service, providing attentive service in a fun and informal style that adds an air of theatre to the whole experience. It all feels very classic and romantic, like stepping back in time to the good old days of Spain, but the menu feels fresh and playful. The chefs clearly aren’t afraid to play around with ingredients, although they never stay too far from the core of what makes this food so great.
Spanish staples are given new leases of life, such as the potato croquettes enhanced with lobster and a few other “secret ingredients”, and wild tuna tartare with mascarpone and wild trout caviar. It’s impressive cooking, it’s delicious and hearty cooking, but it’s not about reinventing the wheel. Instead it’s about showcasing the very best of Catalonia’s quality produce, whether it be fish, seafood, meat or vegetables.
Other must-eat dishes include big flavours like wild mushrooms with crispy Iberian pork jowls, Catalan ‘fricandó’ (meat stew), and seafood delights such as "shrimp that gets in at 8, fresh from the sea to the plate”.
The wine menu itself is a thing of beauty, with a spectacular array of references from Spain’s finest DOs, as well as a healthy smattering from France. The staff are knowledgable and confident when making recommendations, which makes it a lot easier when trying to choose from so many options.
Conclusion: Bar Cañete offers everything you could wish for from an authentic Spanish dining experience: ambience, energy, passionate cooking and big flavours. This is a shrine to the simple joy of eating.
by Ben Holbrook
Bar CañeteCarrer de la Unió, 17, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Area: El Raval
Website: Bar Cañete - Barcelona
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 13.00 – 24:00
Prices: 40 €
Phone: +34 932 70 34 58