We finally had the opportunity to visit the charming restaurant Can Solé in the Barceloneta the other day! I've wanted to visit it already for some time, because it has a very good reputation as being an authentic gem in the Barcelona food scene.
The restaurant is small and cosy, the seating is tight but it doesn't feel too crowded. It feels very homey and the good feeling of the staff adds to it. The maître d' Josep Maria really makes you feel like you've been invited to his home, he's tremendously friendly and wants to make sure everybody is having a great gastronomic experience.
The kitchen is open in the back part of the restaurant, and it adds to the charm. You see how everything is prepared and sometimes you can even see how the fresh seafood is brought in straight from the nearby market. It doesn't get fresher than this.
Can Solé has a long history. It opened in 1903 as a fishermen's bar, due to its proximity to the sea. After some time the fishermen started bringing in fish there and asked the kitchen to prepare it for lunch for them, and eventually the bar turned into a restaurant. After 113 (!) years the place is an institution in the city, and it's frequented by both tourists and locals looking for good quality food, made with old recipes that just don't fail.
The portions are huge, and obviously meant to be shared. We had huevos rotos con chanquete (tiny very delicious fish), buñuelos de bacalao (cod fritters) and alcachofas con foie (fried artichoke with foie gras) as starters. The chanquete was delicious and perfectly salty, the buñuelos were just perfectly crispy on the outside and the thinly sliced fried artichokes melted in my mouth. I'd dare to say it's one of the best fried artichoke I've ever had.
As main courses we shared (between five people) a lobster paella and a fideua. This is really genuine stuff, and a big bonus is that you can see how head chef Mari Carmen prepares it in the open kitchen. She has been doing it for years and years and could do it with her eyes closed! The paella comes in a large pan and its a lot for two people to share. You won't be leaving hungry! Both the paella and the fideua were really tasty, be sure to ask for alioli for the fideua! It comes in so strong it's almost green. Delicious.
This place is perfect to go for a long lunch with the family or with your partner, it's a place to sit for hours to eat, drink, talk and enjoy yourself. You won't feel hurried, you can take your time. And you can even bring your dog if it behaves! It's accommodated for tourists too with menus is many different languages (even in braille!) but it doesn't feel touristy at all even though it's close to all the tourist traps on Joan de Borbó. This is the real deal, and you won't be disappointed.