Nou Can Codina is one of my favourite bars for a beer and a bite.
It’s a favourite with the family too. We have a pet name for the place — No Can Do.
“Shall we do No Can Do?” someone might say. “Yes — let’s do No Can Do.”
And so it goes.
Not so very long ago Can Codina, one of the oldest surviving bars in Gràcia, was a humble, everyday sort of place, serving up run-of-the-mill cheap snacks and meals. It was ok for an occasional coffee or plato combinado when out doing errands. It was a dreary but honest neighbourhood bar which closed its doors roundabout 9pm every night except Sundays, when it wasn’t open at all.
After a scrub-up, a splash of paint, new lighting scheme, amazing menu, and an injection of energy and imagination the place is buzzing most evenings until 11 — and gone midnight on Saturdays.
Gentrified? No, not at all…the food and drink offered here is sensibly priced and well within the range of us ordinary folk.
Because it is now a popular joint plan to spend 10 or 15 minutes at the bar waiting for a table on a Friday or Saturday night.
Simple everyday treats are transformed into tasty, memorable delights. The patates braves (3,90€) here are very good indeed — among the very best braves in the city. And so too are the croquetas and morcilla (black pudding/blood sausage).
Whoever they have working the kitchen they need to tie down with a payrise and a golden handcuffs agreement — otherwise he or she is going to walk, and stamp their goodness on a rival establishment.
The croquetas here are fantastic — full of flavour — probably among the best in the city, and very reasonably priced at 1€. The standard options are: cocido (meat, potato and chickpea mash), merluza y gambes (hake and prawn/shrimp) and bolets (mushroom). However, check out the specials board as they often offer two or three special croquetas such as sípia (cuttlefish) and a wonderfully tasty apple with goat cheese (poma i formatge de cabra) for 1,40€.
The morcilla here is also well worth trying. Moist and packed with flavour — served with a smear of parsley and garlic oil and lightly toasted bread (2,60€).
They also serve larger plates, such as Costella de porc confitada (pork ribs) and 200 gram (7 ounces) beef and chicken hamburgueses. I’ve tried the ribs, but I’ve not yet tried the hamburgers.
And there are cargols (snails); galta de vedella amb salsa de Módena i miel (beef cheek with Modena and honey sauce); bacalla amb samfaina (cod with a red pepper, onion, aubergine, tomato and courgette/zucchini sauce — similar to ratatouille); cap i pota (stewed calf’s head and feet with tripe, chorizo and chickpeas) and many, many more tasty plates to choose from.
For me the only slight downside is the menú del día, offering two plates, a glass of wine or beer, dessert or coffee. It’s ok for 10,50€. I’ve had three menús here and, though the food was very good, none of the meals left me satisfied as a good menú should. Maybe it’s the lack of heavy carbs — which is perfect if you have to go back to work after lunch.
Goat cheese, mushroom and braised pear salad as served as a first plate as part of the menú del día.
Omelette as served as a first course of the menú del día as served at Nou Can Codina.
Second plate of veal escalope with cheese sauce as served as part of the menú del día at Nou Can Codina
Their house vermut is good for the price (1,60€) and their range of good wines are fairly priced. However, the servings of wine could be more generous — it sometimes seems they are squeezing 6 pourings from a bottle instead of the standard 5.
For a while after they opened the service was a bit hit and miss. It was never bad — just a bit bumpy, and not always as good as it could have been. They seem now to have settled into a more efficient team and you won’t have to wait that long to get croquettas, beers and wine all assembled.
Friendly and helpful servers. Some English can be spoken.
Overall, it’s very relaxed. During the day it has the feel of a cool coffee-bar; a good spot for reading the daily paper. Then there’s lunchtime, and it’s never too rushed. Late afternoon the place kind of morphs into a cross between bodega and coffee bar, and in the evenings it becomes a hybrid of bistro-tapas bar/wine-bar and local pub.
Never too loud. Never so crammed as to be uncomfortable. Never too empty to be a lonely place.
Well, two of you could spend an hour of your time here munching on eight croquettas and morcilla, and having 2 beers each, and still see change from 20€.
Over the past few years I have spent quite a bit of time and money here and, given the undeniable quality of the bites on offer, and the reasonable prices for beers and wines, I think it offers outstanding value.
I wholeheartedly recommend a visit here if you find yourself in the barrio. Go on… give it a crack — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
On the corner of Torrent de l’Olla and Carrer Perill, just one street up from Carrer Còrsega at the bottom end of Gràcia, a five-minute stroll from Cinc d’Oro (the junction of Passeig de Gràcia and Avenida Diagonal).
Monday to Thursday: 9am ’til 11pm.
Friday: 9am ’til midnight.
Saturday: 12 noon ’til midnight
Sunday: 12 noon ’til 5pm.
Spotted by Locals write up HERE.
Nou Can Codina does not have a website but you will find them on Facebook.
Carrer Torrent de l’Olla, 20
T: 935 161 584