Dining at El Celler de Can Roca is a surreal dining experience. The 3 Michelin Star restaurant located in Girona, Spain, is a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. We ate there when we lived in Girona, walking distance from the restaurant. Here is a recap of the over 30 different courses and bites we had during our 4 hour El Celler de Can Roca menu experience, in Girona Spain. We also include an update at the bottom about the El Celler de Can Roca Menu 2021.
We chose the Feast Menu, with about 15 named courses. The other alternative is a tasting of their classic menu. The tasting menu is about 7 courses, where you have a choice for two of the courses. Of course, we went all in. The Can Roca Feast Menu with wine pairing.
And, I did the best I could with photos considering the lighting, and I did not want to disturb the diners nearby. Bear with me.
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The Can Roca Menu: Snacks
Don’t expect classic Spanish tapas like croquetas or padron peppers at El Cellar de Can Roca.
We started with The World, a paper lantern, ceremoniously untied at the table, and opened to reveal 5 bites reminiscent of flavors from all over the globe. In this case, our world included:
- From Thailand, Thai chicken, with coriander, coconut, curry, and lime
- From Japan, miso cream with nyinyonyaki, the Can Roca version of a fried, breaded snack
- From Turkey, focaccia with lamb, yogurt, cucumber, onions, and mint
- From Peru, a Causa limeña, or a potato-based bite with avocado
- From Korea, a panko fried bread, with bacon, soy sauce, kimchi, and sesame oil
2021 Update: This “World” presentation has been fairly consistent since our first visit to Can Roca in 2015. In 2019, they offered a similar concept but have changed the presentation to include a globe that is set on the table with the tasty bites surrounding the globe. There is also a “surprise” inside the globe. In 2021, the World has been replaced by a timeline presentation, which includes some of the most popular tapas served over the history of the restaurant.
The next snack was a Can Roca-themed diorama, with black and white photos of each Roca brother when they were young. This presentation is called “Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona, a reference perhaps to the family’s traditional restaurant, just around the corner from El Celler de Can Roca, Restaurant Can Roca. This has also been replaced, it seems, but individual small dishes.
The three-dimensional diorama held another 5 little snack bites, including:
- Breaded squid, which was topped with a crunchiness, reminiscent of a squid served a la Romana or fried similar to a calamari
- Pork kidneys with Sherry, in a packaging that could have been a peanut. The kidneys had a nutty, earthy flavor
- Campari bonbon, which I could have eaten a dozen of, was a cool explosion of Campari liquor, which we were warned to eat in one bite
- Montse’s meat cannelloni, with Parmigiano Reggiano, named after the matriarch of the Roca family
- Pigeon parfait, with an intense cream liquor
Additional “Starters” or Small Plates at Can Roca
The ocean came next on the Celler Can Roca menu, with a brightly colored starfish, served on a plank, alongside a large silver coral-shaped serving apparatus, seemingly growing up from the table. The starfish was unlike anything I’d eaten before and can only be described as tasting of the sea.
The glittering silver coral included two different tapas. First, a mussel served escabeche-style, which is a common fish presentation along the Mediterranean. Escabeche is normally fish prepared in vinegar and often colored with peppers or saffron. In this case, it was slightly less acidic and prepared in an Albarinho wine from Galicia. But, it reminded me of boquerones, also served in tangy vinegar.
Alongside the mussel was an octopus from nearby Maresme, cooked with peas. This is a very traditional Catalan dish as well.
These last two tapas, again, are very traditional dishes in Catalonia. One of the best things to eat alongside a cold vermouth is a vinegary, almost pickled mussel. Octopus and peas are often served with pork or black sausage. I continued to enjoy the use of local ingredients to make a very traditional dish but in an entirely new way.
After our tour of the sea, we enjoyed the famous Can Roca olive tree. On the menu, it reads “green olive ice cream.” But, they were hard frozen ice cream, flavored and shaped like olives, and then hung delicately on an olive tree.
Each olive came on a tiny silver spike, engraved with the Roca brothers signature “R” with three feet, one for each brother. Each olive offered an explosion (a word I kept using while dining at Can Roca) of cool olive flavor. In this case, it was the sorbet palate cleanser of the Can Roca snack menu.
2021 Update: The Tribute to the Mediterranean has been a Can Roca specialty for many years, and is one of their signature dishes. As of 2019, they still offered this snack but added crunchy tempura black olives to the tree. As of 2021, it seems that this snack may have been retired from the menu.
Our final two snacks on the Can Roca menu in included a truffled brioche, and a St. George’s mushroom bonbon. In this case, the tiny bonbon was hidden under a green moss. The bonbon was shaped like a mushroom and tasted like a mushroom, but was not exactly a mushroom. Instead, it had the consistency of chocolate.
Truffled brioche made with summer truffle and prepared in an Asian dumpling steamer. Again, I could have eaten a dozen of the truffled brioche. They were light and creamy. It tasted like warm comfort . . . with truffle. This dish is altered for the seasons based on which truffle is available for that season.
The Can Roca Menu: Fish
Being a menu born out of the Costa Brava, there were a lot of fish courses on the El Celler de Can Roca menu.
We started with white asparagus with ice cream, elderflower foam, and dried apricot, although not as beautiful as many of the other courses, being a white on white dish. The asparagus was tasty, and in season.
The opposite to the white asparagus dish, the flower of onion (from nearby Figures) was visually stunning. It was served with comte cheese, walnuts, walnut bread, and curry-caramelized walnuts. I really do not like onions, but I devoured every bit of onion before me. This was one of the more surprising dishes for me on the El Celler de Can Roca menu, mostly because I don’t like onions, but still loved it.
This was a contemporary version of a French onion soup, with onions served in a bowl of strong cheese soup. This dish paired with a Manzanilla wine, a strong, unfiltered wine to offset the cheese and onion.
Next, on the Can Roca menu came oysters with fennel sauce, black garlic, apple, seaweed, truffles, and lemon. In this case, a single oyster was sliced into 5 parts, each served differently. The oyster itself was tender and tasted like the sea.
Langoustine with sagebrush, vanilla oil, and rose butter. The butter was so creamy, it tasted like a butter cookie. I practically licked the bowl clean.
Mackerel with tempeh of “ganxet” beans, fermented beans from nearby Garrotxa. Each bean is fermented a different length of time, from 1 to 4 weeks. The darker the bean on the plate, the longer it was fermented. The goal is to eat the beans from light to dark. The mackerel itself looked like a beautiful shimmering snakeskin. The mackerel combined with the white beans is a very Catalan-inspired dish. Although, the fermented bean also gave it an Asian-inspired flavor, similar to a miso.
Palamos red prawn marinated with rice vinegar, in prawn’s head sauce, with crispy prawn legs, seaweed volute, and phytoplankton brioche. The Palamos prawn is a DOP or a registered product from Costa Brava. Again, the flavors of this dish were very “of the sea.”
Cuttlefish with sake lees, black rice sauce, and fermented rice. The cuttlefish was essentially stuffed with the lees, or the residual yeast resulting from the fermentation process. The lees came from a sake actually made in Catalonia, in Lleida, from rice that has been polished in Japan. Although, the dish was served with Japanese sake.
Turbot with vegetables fermented in brine. This was the only disappointing dish of the entire 30 courses. The fish was prepared well, as were the vegetables. It was disappointing only in its, well, “normalness.” It just seemed out of place with the creativity of all of the other courses.
The El Celler de Can Roca Menu: Meat
The meat courses started with a slow-cooked Iberian suckling pig, with a salad of green papaya, Thai grapefruit, apple, coriander, chili pepper, lime, and cashew. Essentially Iberian pork, with a Thai twist. The dish exuded flavors of Spain, Thailand, and even Hong Kong.
Next, lamb four ways. Charcoal-grilled lamb consommé, with lamb’s tongue, vinaigrette, and lamb scratching with lamb brain and tripe. Essentially different parts, and different preparations, all of the lamb, and each entirely earthy. The brains? Smoky and creamy, and downright delicious.
The final meat course. Pigeon civet and its parfait, stewed in wine and spices, along with a slow-cooked pigeon breast, and pigeon foie gras. Beautifully prepared, like artwork on the plate, as if the pigeons themselves were flying through the air.
The Can Roca Menu: Desserts
Rainy forest, distillate water, carob cookie, fir tree dust, ice cream of anise, wormwood, fennel, and fir tree and fir tree granita. Yes, it looked, and in some ways, tasted like the forest. When the distillate water was poured in, it created a crystal that stood up straight in the air.
Orange colorology, made only with orange-colored products, even including beetroot and carrot. One of the more beautiful desserts served on a decadent golden-hued plate.
We needed to break open the orb, to reveal the little bits of orange inside.
The final dessert from the tasting menu was the Cuban cigar box, including chocolate with milk, whiskey, vanilla, dried plum, tobacco leaf, and cocoa. This course was paired not only with a sweet wine but also with a Panamanian coffee.
Then, the dessert cartwheeled by, reminding me of a circus carnival. We choose a couple of different bites, and when we wanted a few more, even after 30 courses, our server happily complied.
The El Celler de Can Roca Wine Pairing Menu
During our snacks, essentially the 16 starter courses before heading into the main menu, we enjoyed a few glasses of cava from nearby Penedes. The remaining 15 or so courses were each served with a wine selected by Josep Roca, and served by our sommelier for the evening, Robert. For the winophiles out there, here are the wines we tasted as part of the wine pairing menu.
El Celler de Can Roca Menu – The Wine Pairing
- James Vernillon 2015 A.O.C. Condrieu
- Manzanilla en Rama Barbiana D.O. Sanlucar de Barrameda
- Contraaparede 2012 D.O. Rias Baixas
- Regnard Grand Premier Cru Montee de Tonnerre 2000 A.O.C. Chablis
- Cosmic Valentia 2016 Agullana, Emporda
- Heymann-Lowenstein Uhlen L 2012 Magnum VDP Mosel
- Sake Katsyama Den
- Domaine Valette Tradition 2012 AO.C. Pouilly Fuisse
- El Reventon 2013 VT Castilla y Leon
- La Rioja Alta 904 Gran reserva 1997 D.O.Ca Rioja
- Corullon 2000 D.O. Bierzo
- Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg Spatlese 2010 VDP Mosel
- Matias y Torres 2012 Malvasia D.O. La Palma
- El Boquete variedad Geisha
What I enjoyed most about the Can Roca wine pairing menu was the inclusion of many Spanish wines, as well as sneaking in an Emporda bottle too! For me, it was worth the price to try so many wines I never would have tried before. How often do we sit down to drink a 20-year-old Rioja, or a 17-year-old French Chablis? And, they stuck a unique sake in there as well!
Everything You Need To Know About Can Roca
The Details on El Celler de Can Roca
The El Celler de Can Roca Menu Price: When we dined, the Feast Menu at Can Roca was €205. The wine pairing menu was €90. That means a full Can Roca experience was about €300 per person. The classic tasting menu was €180, and €55 for the wine pairing. The price difference between the two Can Roca menus is not extreme. My advice: go for the Can Roca Feast Menu!
The menu items included above are not from the current Can Roca menu. The menu changes regularly, based on seasonal ingredients, and whether the diner is a repeat guest of the restaurant. For example, in the winter, Can Roca offers calçots, a true Catalan experience. For regulars (which they have), they will alter the menu and courses for the diner to have different options.
El Celler de Can Roca Menu 2021 – Update
I will admit that we have not returned to El Celler de Can Roca in 2021. I have, though, received the inside scoop on the Celler de Can Roca menu for 2021.
In 2020, the Classic Menu was €190 with a €75 wine pairing and the Feast Menu at Can Roca was €225 and wine pairing was €110, which places the cost at €335.
In 2018, El Celler de Can Roca raised its standing in the World’s 50 Best claiming the number 2 spot, behind Massimo Botturra’s Osteria Francescana in Modena. Due to recent changes in the World’s 50 Best awards system, restaurants that ranked number 1 in the past will no longer be eligible to compete starting in 2020. Thus, as of the summer of 2019, Can Roca is no longer “officially” one of the World’s 50 Best.
As for the substance, the Celler Can Roca menu adjusts seasonally, but for several years many of the dishes discussed above remained unchanged, at least in theory. It seems in 2021, the menu has changed considerably.
Reservations For El Celler de Can Roca In Girona
Reservations remain elusive and difficult to get. Currently, reservations are released at midnight local time on the first of each month for a reservation 11 months later. For example, on October 1, 2021, at midnight, reservations are released for September 2022. This is definitely something to plan ahead. The restaurant is closed on Monday and Tuesday and during a few specific weeks of the year, including time in August.
FAQs – Dining At El Celler de Can Roca
El Celler de Can Roca is located on Can Sunyer, 48, just outside of the city center of Girona, about 90 minutes outside of Barcelona. You can walk from Girona in about 20 minutes or a taxi is about than €10.
Reservations are required, months and months in advance! Reservations open about 11 months in advance and sell out almost immediately. Occasionally people have luck with taking advantage of last-minute cancellations, but it is rare. There is a waitlist as well.
I do not regret spending the money we did on the meal. It was one of the best dining experiences we’ve ever had. Others have disagreed. I think it depends on your dining experiences. For people who don’t eat like this regularly, it’s certainly something special.
Expect to pay over €300 per person to eat at Can Roca. The full Feast Menu and wine pairing at Can Roca is currently around €335.
El Celler de Can Roca is owned by the Roca brothers, Joan, Josep, and Jordi. Each brother has a different responsibility in the restaurant. Joan is the head chef, Josep is the sommelier, and Jordi the dessert chef.