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Home cooking. Few places can say that about their cuisine these days, but Can Vilaró is among those that can. It's a classic, authentic restaurant that's earned its place in Barcelona's culinary history. Every day Sisco and Dolors welcome a legion of faithful customers who know how to pick a good spot to eat as though welcoming them into their own home. Located in front of the Sant Antoni market, Can Vilaró could be called a restaurant of true market cuisine, but what they really do well is home-made meals. There's no set lunch menu, but the à la carte menu has friendly prices and great daily specialities.
On Mondays you'll find a queue, especially in winter, to get in to try the traditional Catalan 'escudella' soup and stew, which is enough to fill you up on its own. On Tuesdays regulars usually opt for 'fideuà a la cassola', a hearty and meaty vermicelli-type dish cooked in a casserole, and on Wednesdays lentil dishes are the big star, served with chorizo sausage and cooked to perfection. Another dish that's nearing extinction in the city, 'arroz a la cubana' (rice topped with tomato sauce and a fried egg) is a favourite on Thursdays and Fridays. Of course there are other options, like the stellar pigs' trotters, and the meatballs that Sisco is a genius at making. On Saturday don't miss the phenomenal 'fricandó', a dish of tender beef with a wild mushroom–based sauce.
Any day of the week you can savour the delicacy that is the tripe and leg of lamb, and this is one of the few spots in town that still serve such traditional dishes among so many fleeting culinary trends. Sisco says, 'We cook according to what we see that's good quality and price in the market.' Dolors adds, 'People order breaded goat's brains or “capipota” [pork head and trotters] with chickpeas, and others prefer the tripe and leg of lamb when we've got it.'
There's a lot on the menu, and other highly recommended dishes include the salt cod with vegetable and tomato sauce, the grilled liver with real chips, the baked pork jowls, and a lesser-known dish, the baked pork tripe. At the marble bar you can have breakfast or lunch, with a good wine that's been bottled specially for the house. Sisco inherited Can Vilaró from his parents, who opened this quiet, simple spot with the soul of a tavern or bodega, in 1967.
For some years now, Sisco and Dolors have kept up the tradition, and more important, the recipes and the quality set by the founders. It's nothing new on the scene: Can Vilaró is a restaurant that's well-known and oft-frequented. But it's nice to remember the truly good places in Barcelona that are still afloat, thanks to the effort, tenacity and honesty of those who keep them alive.
Comte Borrell, 61
|Transport:||Sant Antoni (M: L2)|
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat 8am–4pm; Sun closed|