Girona Restaurants Uncategorized

Food for thought-Girona gastronomy

There’s never a dull moment when tucking into the local grub, part of Girona´s charms and a big pull for visitors. 

It’s an ever changing food scene as a constant stream of new entrants try their arm at offering their twist on Catalan cuisine, or something entirely different. Perhaps the strangest I’ve seen was Catalan/Chilean. Unexpectedly now no more.

This can be a high stakes game, as longevity is hard to achieve and failure is common and unforgiving. The financial outlay is significant. I well remember walking past failed places that appeared expensively fitted out only to have it all ripped out and replaced with the new owner’s tastes.

I’m away a lot these days but friends in the city keep me updated when they venture out to try new Girona restaurants. I can recollect great dining experiences at places like Mimolet, Nu and Divinum, still going as far as I can tell. All three are at the upper range but well worth it when comparing with similar fare in the UK.

However, our finances could never stretch to the three Michelin starred Can Roca but it remains on the bucket list. Last time I checked the average bill for two including wine was about 500 euros. Situated in a largely working class plain looking neighbourhood, it does not strike you as the place to have a restaurant of such stature. I’d been told it is because this is where they grew up and their parents ran a local no frills restaurant.

Their culinary tentacles have stretched out to encompass more spin offs within Girona, like their Hotel Chocolat and restaurant Normal. A touch more affordable than their flagship eatery, seemingly well booked. Again, a friend who dined there said it didn’t live up to the hype. 

The youngest brother Jordi, who’s the pastry chef at Can Roca has opened both a posh ice cream parlour (Rocambolesc) and an upmarket version (Rocambolesc  Bikineria) of what’s locally known as a Bikini, basically a toasted ham and cheese sandwich.

As a piece of idle gossip, we did bump into Jordi once, at a perennial favourite haunt of ours, Cull de Mon in nearby Vall de Sant Daniel, definitely worth a visit. Chef and owner Lofti fuses Catalan dishes with a Moroccan twist with his Catalan partner. 

Kudos to the three brothers as you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines I guess. Locals, as far as I can guess, are proud of their successes but remain typically nonplussed and unfussy in their admiration. 

Other quality Catalan chefs are forging equally fine reputations and there’s a perceptible trend (in my opinion) that newer restaurant openings are catering for the upper end. Is that a good move, I’m not sure. Girona´s cost of living is high, always has been and affluent expat numbers appear to be on the up. 

Gironas’ beguiling lure as an attractive, safe and comfortable place to move to and live has gradually increased over the last decade.Just perusing the FB Girona groups gives an indication of the pull this area has. It was what brought our young family here back in 2006, when its charms were less publicised. 

Of course where food is concerned local Catalan families like to eat well and expect good quality. Traditional farmhouse type ‘masia’ restaurants that dot the surrounding countryside still do a roaring trade at weekends, especially on Sundays. Our favourites were La Barca in nearby Bescano, Can Joan in Canet d’Adri and Can Xifra in Cartella.

Brits who like their ´meat and two veg’ would fit right in here, with hearty home cooked Catalan fare. The slight difference is the almost total absence of the ‘two veg’ part. Main meat and fish based dishes are usually light on any further additions.

Just remember not to rush things, as a lot of the enjoyable dining is spread across a few lazy hours. Good conversation and good food are key elements of ‘going with the flow’.

Meat and seafood Paella