FOR a food tour of the Costa Brava, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better trio of guides than Catalunya’s own Roca brothers.
Chef Joan, sommelier Josep and pastry chef Jordi operate the legendary El Celler de Can Roca restaurant, bearer of three Michelin stars and reigning titleholder of world’s best eatery according to Restaurant magazine.
But the brothers are quick to point out that their restaurant is far from the only place on the Costa Brava to find delicious cuisine.
Here, they offer recommendations for three square meals in Spain’s northeast.
Suggested locale: El Mercat del Lleo and Can Marques, Girona
Catalunya is renowned for its fresh produce, among other things, and there’s no better place to do your food shopping than Girona’s main produce market. Here you can buy hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as herbs, spices, and fresh meat and fish. And for a post-market breakfast, the Rocas recommend that you stop in at Can Marques restaurant right next door for a popular esmorzar de forquilla (fork breakfast) of eggs and roasted vegetables or grilled sausage.
Suggested locale: Compartir, Cadaques
For what Joan, Josep and Jordi call ‘modern haute cuisine’, Compartir is your go-to restaurant. Here, you’ll find dishes inspired by traditional Catalan staples but with quirky twists, like the fried rabbit ribs with apple aioli. If fried rabbit sounds a bit adventurous for your taste, the marinated sardines with apple, fennel and eucalyptus is also highly regarded. As its name suggests, Compartir serves large dishes that are meant to be shared, so make it a family affair — the more the merrier!
Suggested locale: Cal Tet, L’Estartit
For fish so fresh it could practically leap off your plate, the Roca trifecta suggests village bar Cal Tet. The seafood arrives on small fishing boats and is cooked with maximum simplicity to set off the natural flavours. Whether you opt for the fish skewers or the grilled octopus, you can’t go wrong with these down-to-earth and reasonably-priced dishes.