More than 15 years ago, we were staying with the family in the Golf hotel at Santa Cristina d’Aro. On a scenic drive, my mother and brother discovered a restaurant called Can Roquet in Romanyà de la Selva. I honestly still don’t understand how they ever found this place but I am very glad they did.
Can Roquet is situated next to the little church in this mini-village in the Gavarres on the top of a mountain, which was also part of the route of the cycle Tour of Catalunya this year. I ride it myself every summer on my bike but at a much slower pace. The two Belgian owners, Donald and Kenn, have created a unique, Catalan restaurant with a refined, Belgian touch and a great sense of style, flavor and esthetics. Donald takes care of the crew in the kitchen and Kenn runs the front of the house. They both seem to know what they are doing. There is a wonderful terrace where you can lunch or dine in the shade of the plane trees with a spectacular view. Far away you can even see Llagostera. The only other things you will see are mountains and trees and a few runaway chickens wandering around.
On this winter evening, I decided that I deserved a great meal so I drove up the mountain from Calonge and was seated at a nice table in the middle of the restaurant. I was surrounded by several local guests and another couple from Belgium I believe. They seemed to enjoy the food as much as I did.
The well-trained team immediately brought me water and house cava. Finally, a good quality cava – not the bitter and acidic ones you often get when you order by the glass. With the same speed, my waiter brought me three amuses bouches which were nicely presented. A flavorful, modern version of the Catalan calçots was one of them. Very original and a lovely start of the meal. All accompanied by good quality, house-baked bread. I continued with super thinly sliced Jamon Iberico and the best Coca (toasted crust bread) with the squeezed juice of ripe tomatoes. The ham was the Pata Negra version. A simple but such a tasty starter. It totally got my taste buds going.
The menu offers a very large variety of Catalan style dishes with local ingredients but certainly not the usual dishes you will find in 9 out of 10 restaurants. In Can Roquet they go the extra mile to entice the customer. Lobster, veal, seabass, entrecote and interesting vegetable dishes; they are all there but none are boring or ordinary. The sauces and presentation are of 2 Michelin star quality. It’s surprising that the Michelin people have not rated this restaurant at that level yet.
I opted for skate with a light sauce of high flavor olive oil, butter and capers with small sautéed vegetables. What a delight! To the eye but even more for the tongue. The skate was cooked to perfection and the sauce had just the right balance of creaminess and acidity.
I drank a few wonderful glasses of the house wines by the glass. Good quality but for me, they could fill those glasses a bit more than a quarter.
I finished the meal with a dessert of tartlets filled with forest fruits. This was not the highlight of the meal in my view. Even a bit boring. But this couldn’t spoil the fun. I was already delighted by the fact that the crew at Can Roquet offers high quality at affordable prices in a very cleverly designed old house. The waiters could be a bit more relaxed or even empathic in my view but these owners know what they want and offer some of the best in the Empordà region. I hope they stay forever in the Gavarres!
(please share your thoughts and suggestions with me: firstname.lastname@example.org)