Can Fabes – Slightly Below Expectations (September 2008)

When I planned my trip to Barcelona it appeared natural for me to also include two well-known restaurants, namely Santi Santamaria’s Can Fabes and El Celler de Can Roca. Santi is regarded a Spanish monument and has had a tremendous impact on Spanish Fine Dining. He enjoys enormous popularity with his TV cooking show on Saturday, has written numerous books and articles (some were quite controversial recently about his “different” take on molecular cuisine) and opened Santceloni in Madrid, EVO in Barcelona and recently the restaurant Tierra in Oropesa.

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8 Responses

  1. Well, Ingo, that sounds like a nightmare… i never faced this… question is : bad day or just over rated restaurant… with so many mistakes and bad dishes, i would go the second option.

    Can Fabes was not on my spanish “to do list” and will not be after your post, while i’m now looking forward to your Roca review !


  2. There is a quite thorough review of Can Fabes at

    Vedat seemed to like it. It’s over 1.5 years old, though.

  3. @Laurent – it was a nightmare. I still don’t know what really happened.

    @Jon – I know Vedat’s review of course and it helped to build up the expectations of ingredient-driven cuisine at highest level. If you just look at the foie or the razor clam it tells the story… I disagree with Vedat re Can Roca – this was one of my best meals ever. But as Can Roca has improved imho, Can Fabes seems to be deteriorating…

  4. This is quite sad to hear. I had a rather successful meal at Can Fabes three years ago ( and have wondered how it’s been performing since. Santamaria was in the kitchen during my meal. However, I believe that a three-star Michelin restaurant should perform at the same level regardless of who is (or who is not) in the kitchen.

  5. Last May, I had the same dinner experience as IFS. Just 2 dishes where 3 star, al the other dishes not even one star. The service was also terrible. There was only 1 person that did speak English.We where sitting in the modern part which was really cold and only 2 tables where occupied. It is still my worst 3 star meal and probably the worst even amongst one and two star restaurants. The next day we went to El Bulli. You cannot imagine the difference between them!
    You can see pictures from both restaurants on my dutch weblog.

  6. We had a less than three star experience at Can Fabes in September of 2008, though Santi was in the kitchen that day. The main dishes, while very competently prepared, were not stand-outs, except for the shrimp ravioli. The selection of amuse bouches was visually lovely, but disappointing flavour-wise for the most part. The staff was personable and very attentive, even if a few appeared a bit green. We did speak Spanish, however, which probably made some difference. The room where we were seated was a beautiful, warm space with old stone walls at the front of the house. If the meal had been a couple of hundred of euros less, it wouldn’t have been a disappointment.

  7. My 2008 experience was also disappointing, though perhaps not quite as bad as yours. I have had four meals here over the years and each was worse than the last – this was a place I really loved several years ago. I can only conclude that this restaurant is just drifting on a past reputation. I just wish Michelin would notice.

  8. […] you might wonder whether I would ever again report about bad meals (remember King Kamehameha and Can Fabes!). Contrary to professional restaurant testers I can choose the restaurants I visit and most of the […]

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