“You must be local to become universal“ – the crew of Catalan restaurant Can Fabes abides by their maxim.
When Santi Santamaria founded the restaurant in 1981 he aimed to celebrate his love for the Catalan region around Barcelona and its people by creating edible masterpieces. Using only traditional and local ingredients and adapting them to Nouvelle Cuisine, Santamaria was the first Catalan chef to receive Michelin’s highest accolade, three stars. If this wasn’t already impressive enough, it should also be mentioned that Santi never attended a cooking school. Originally, the autodidact and former craftsman opened Can Fabes as an informal bistro out of his parent’s home, a 300-year –old-building in San Celoni, a small town only 32miles northeast of the city of Barcelona. From ist humble beginnings this little bistro was destined to become one of Spains greatest restaurants.
Dishes such as Steamed pork neck on potato mousse with caviar, Bacalao-tripe with salchicha and blood sausage or Suckling lamb from the Pyrenees with apricot and scented curds reflect the rustic lifestyle of this mediterranean region. With his often savory and simple fare meals Santi directly took on the booming molecular cuisine that star-chef Ferran Adriàs, is practicing only a few miles away in his famous gourmet lab El Bulli.
When Santi Santamaria died from a heart attack at the age of 53 in February 2011 the culinary world not only lost one of their best chefs, but also a pioneer whose idea of returning to traditional and local food was cutting-edge and visionary. Today more and more chefs and restaurants are following his footsteps and discover long-forgotten produce and recipes and interpret them in many exciting new ways.
Santi’s partner and chef Xavier Pellicer and daughter Regina continue Santi’s legacy and lead Can Fabes and his other six restaurants according to his belief.
When visiting Barcelona Can Fabes is an excellent choice to get a taste for this incredibly culinary part of Spain and will get you closer to the Catalan history and its people.
Located an easy stroll from Can Fabes, White Line Hotels edit Hotel Omm is another Catalan original not to be missed. For a full weekend of culinary delights, book a table at Moo Restaurant the following evening for more fresh interpretations of Catalan classics.
Contributing writer: Julia Schröder