Can Dendê (Ciutat de Granada 44) is not only the best brunch in Poblenou. It’s a breath of fresh sea air in the current culinary selection of a growing district. Not sure what an area mostly populated by offices and old factories has to offer you? This bar/restaurant/café will give you a reason to head down and try its famous brunch.
Having still only been open for a relatively short time (January 2015), we really appreciate the fun, fashionable gap that this restaurant has filled in an area where you’re more likely to find traditional bars and establishments serving up working weekday lunches. Can Dendê bets on quality, attention to detail and friendly staff, a formula which has catapulted this diminutive place into all the lists of the best places to go for brunch in Barcelona. All this in a relaxed, informal atmosphere, far from the tourist attractions and hustle and bustle of the centre.
As you get closer, it should come as no surprise that one of the first things you’ll see is often a group of people standing in a corner or waiting in the sun to be allocated one of the few tables in this profitable space. I’ve always thought that, when there’s a lot of people waiting outside somewhere, it’s because there’s something magical inside (that, and there’s not much space). Can Dendê is one of these places. In fact, when we visited we had to wait for around an hour due to large numbers and the fact that it’s not possible to book in advance.
A delicious brunch close to the beach
Once you’re comfortably sitting at one of the bars, you’ll start feeling the atmosphere of this small venue. The open bar/kitchen will appeal to any culinary voyeurs, and large windows allow plenty of light to flood in and show up the elegant décor.
The menu is short but a quick scan will reveal varied options, from “happy hen eggs” (with a special shout-out for the Dendê eggs and the Eggs Benedict) to sandwiches, hamburgers and bagels. Furthermore, there’s daily specials that complete the succulent culinary selection. All this paired with a fantastic choice of cocktails, including: Can Dendê Iced Tea, Mimosas, Rossinis, Pink Lemonades and Bloody Marys.
As if all this weren’t enough, Can Dendê’s owner also lends the place a Brazillian touch, which is reflected in the “pão de queijo” on sale, the tunes playing in the background and the name of the bar itself.
Eggs Benedict in Can Dendê
We couldn’t leave without having tried the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, with its own special sauce with a touch of paprika from the La Vera which gives it a unique character. To top off the brunch, we ordered the “Happy Childhood” dessert, which contained a mixture of dulce de leche, banana, home-made crushed biscuits, organic Greek yoghurt and soft cheese in layers. A true delicacy.
My choice of drink was a Can Dendê Iced Tea, which contains fresh orange juice, fruits of the forest, green tea and apricot, mixed with rum and served in an attractive ice-filled jar. Simply spectacular.
Other dishes all the rage in Can Dendê are the pancakes with organic maple syrup, the fried green tomatoes, the pulled pork sandwich and the crispy chicken (battered chicken breast with panko, mayonnaise, sweet chilli, coriander, lettuce and “Ruffles” crisps).
Can Dendê specialises in brunch, although office staff from the local 22@ area can also head over any day of the week. On Mondays and Tuesdays, they offer a formula with 2 dishes + drink for €11.50, on Wednesdays they’re closed and from Thursday – Sunday brunch is on offer during the day.
There’s no doubt that the food is one of the main incentives for visiting this place, but the friendliness of the waiting staff is definitely another. Yes, it’s a small establishment and they often struggle to satisfy impatient clients, but the wait is agreeable and the closeness, enthusiasm and openness with which you’re treated will make you forget any kind of delay. Furthermore, the place is pet-friendly, which will definitely be an advantage for those wishing to take their furry friends with them to enjoy a marvellous brunch.
Can Dendê gets a strong recommendation for us for your next weekend brunch. We’d advise taking a partner or small group of friends (max. 4), given that the size of the place doesn’t allow for that many guests at the same time. Furthermore, when the weather’s good it can make for a great stop on the way to the beach or after a morning playing beach-volley in Bogatell.
The only issue is that you can’t book in advance, so it’s worth going early or waiting until later – otherwise you’ll have to get in line.
The price-quality ratio is very good – I’d say prices are fairly standard for a brunch in Barcelona, and quality is high. Dishes cost between €9 – €11. With a drink or a coffee, you can easily have a satisfying meal for barely €15 per head.
So now you know. If you’d never thought of Poblenou as a culinary destination, you’ve now got the perfect excuse to go there. Bom apetite!
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