Food: creative Catalan cuisine with emphasis on sea food
Address: Riera Sant Vicenç s/n, 17488 Cadaqués, Spain
Phone Number: +34 972 25 10 06
What I paid: 153 € (sample dishes from the menu for two persons including water, beer and wine)
Visited: July 6, 2013
When El Bulli outside of Roses closed its doors on July 30, 2011 the three sous chefs Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, and Mateu Casañas decided to open an own more casual restaurant in the close by town Cadaqués. They are the three true former head chefs of El Bulli and considered Ferran Adria’s right hand men and have been working together for over 15 years at elBulli.
Situated on the northern part of the Costa Brava coast in Catalonia, the coastal town Cadaqués is well worth a visit for its own merits. Salvador Dalí often frequented Cadaqués in his childhood, and also later bought a house in Port Lligat, which became his permanent residence (which now houses the Portlligat House-museum Salvador Dalí which without competition is the most visited/well known place in the area). The house-museum is in a small village on a bay next to Cadaqués and is definitely worth a visit.
Personally, I first had a guided tour in the Portlligat House-museum, followed by a walk through the Cadaqués town, and then had lunch at Compartir, which in turn were followed by bath in the Mediterranean on a beach located in the town.
The “old” El Bulli may be closed but the “new creative center” al la elBulli (i.e. elBulli Foundation) is scheduled to open in 2015 (not happened…) and is presently an ongoing project in which all three chefs are involved (update: not anymore, to my knowledge…). That is, they are still employed by the elBulli Foundation and split their time between Compartir and elBulli. However, one of the three sous chefs is always present at the Compartir restaurant every day and when I ate there, Oriol Castro lead the crew. (YouTube presentation of the elBulli Foundation: video-link)
The restaurant Compartir itself is located in the old town of Cadaqués in a 300-year old villa with typical stonewalls and you could have your lunch/dinner either outside on a spacious patio-terrace (at least in the summer…) or inside the restaurant in a rustic Mediterranean interior with a dominance of stone and wood.
Compartir is not El Bulli, its food is creativity but it is not haute cuisine and its roots are Catalan cuisine with emphasis on seafood. The restaurant is also much more relaxed and informal then El Bulli was.
There are no tasting menus to choose from. Instead the dishes on the menu are meant to be shared with the other guests on the table, a common way to eat in Catalonia (compartir is also Spanish for “to share”). The menu is constructed more like a menu on most restaurants, with starters, mains and desserts. But since the restaurant also accentuates the sharing, you could say the guests themselves create their own “tasting menu”. Also, apart from the “standard” menu there is most of the time also some “special for the day” dishes that you could choose from.
We went for the following dishes:
Anchovies with fennel vermouth and Kumquats (unfortunately started before I took the picture…):
Tuna with Mediterranean flavors:
Jang marinated sardines, horchata, truffle, tomato and basil:
Special sea food for the day, Percebes:
Mussels with Béarnaise sauce:
Monkfish with aniseed and pineapple salad:
Spicy roasted quail with sweet mashed potato:
To summarize: a vey good and interesting restaurant well worth a visit. The cuisine served was very fresh and had some noble and stimulating flavor combinations; for instance the mussels served together with a béarnaise sauce. What did I not like? Basically nothing but in hindsight I think I should have gone 100% fish- and seafood (i.e. substituted the quail for another fish dish) and not had the dessert (which was good but the cake was a little bit to powerful for me after all the starters and mains).