Can Saló, Cadaqués, Spain

Tucked away in the corner of Plaça de Passeig you will discover this family owned gem.  The proprietor proudly claims that four generations of his family have been toiling away, making and selling all manner of ceramic and pottery goods to a mixed clientele of local consumers and foreign enthusiasts.

If you’re in Cadaqués and in the market for any sort of houseware, stop here.  And don’t forget your credit card.  This is not the home to touristy nonsense – here you will find gorgeous housewares, from plates to bowls, tea sets to figurines.  They have it all and it’s all top notch quality, often proudly signed by the, in some cases, famous artisans.  You’re welcome.  And so is your mom.

Can Saló, Plaça de Passeig, 12, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain

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El Padrí, Cadaqués, Spain

So what do you do when you’re starving and it’s after 11pm in little ol’ Cadaqués?  You go see the Godfather, of course.  Jaume is the proprietor of this tiny little spot down a back alley, where he presides over a raucous crew of locals and seasonal residents.

Upon returning from the spectacular Vívid wine festival in Sant Martí d’Empúries (highly recommended in its own right) a couple of hours south of town, we discovered that the tapas served during the festival had already burned off and were craving anchovies intensely.  Although most of Spain is more than willing to feed a weary soul late into the night, Cadaqués is oriented more toward relaxation and outdoor activities and there wasn’t much to choose from.  Actually, there wasn’t anything.

On a wing and a prayer, we went for broke on a crowded and jovial alleyway, winding our way through wine-swilling revelers and the occasional dancer.  Without my trusty Catalan companion, I surely would have perished this time.  She was able to sweet talk Jaume into breaking out some of those famous excellent L’Escala anchovies (served over bread with piquillos, of course) and some pa amb tomaquet – the famous Catalan staple of crispy bread rubbed with garlic and tomatoes, then drizzled with olive oil.  It really hit the spot and I thanked my lucky stars, for surely, with both my trusty Catalan and my Godfather looking out for me, I couldn’t go wrong.

El Padrí, Carrer Miguel Rosset, 6, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain 

Compartir, Cadaqués, Spain

For over twenty years El Bulli in nearby Roses cast a shadow over Spanish, and really any, haute cuisine in a way that may not be seen again.  Though many chefs graduated from her kitchens, a few (Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch) chose not to stray far from home, landing in Cadaqués.

As the name suggests, plates are created with sharing in mind.  Toeing the line between El Bulli-style molecular gastronomy palate-bending taste experiments and traditional Catalan cuisine, this place hits all the perfect notes.

This intimate, upscale place is where you need to go to continue your Cadaqués theme of relaxation and rejuvenation.  I don’t often engage in a play-by-play breakdown of menus in this space and won’t be diverting from practice for Compartir.  But I will say, do yourself a solid and just book this one on faith.  And when you get back to Barcelona, check out their sister restaurant, Disfrutar.

Compartir, Riera de Sant Vicenç, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain   

Traumuntana Hotel, Cadaqués, Spain

Named for the Northern Wind that cools this seaside town, this tiny hotel is aptly named.  Sitting atop the tallest hill in town, and surrounded by picturesque winding streets, this place is an absolute gem where you will be lilted to sleep each night by the sound of its namesake breeze.

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Carles and Rose are the locally born-and-bred couple that own and operate this lovely spot.  All the rooms are recently renovated and feature a modern Catalan esthetic of clean lines and slick design in a white-to-neutral palate.  We chose the pine room – the whistling of the wind racing through the pine needles created the sweetest lullaby, and kept us in bed a bit longer than expected each morning.

Suffice to say that we came for one night, stayed three, and nearly begged Rose to kick one of the French couples out and give us their room.  Even with my trusty “pesada” Catalan negotiator at my side, Rose stood by her reservation policy and refused to treat the Frenchies shabbily.  We were only half-joking, anyway.

To be honest, this is the kind of place that you’re afraid to write about:  you don’t IMG_2566want them to get too much exposure because you’re afraid to lose your place in line.  That said, everything was perfect.  The breakfast was spot-on each morning and Carles is happy to use his electric golf cart to haul you to the head of the hiking trails on the other side of town.  I know I’ll be back here soon.

Tramuntana Hotel, Carrer de la Torre, 9, 17488 Cadaqués, Girona, Spain