Sunday 30 August 2009

Can Coll, Placa Major, Sant Marti D'Empuries, Catalonia

On an August evening, you may have to wait for an outside table in Sant Marti's pretty square where diners at Can Coll and its competing restaurants sit cheek by jowl. Service kicks off with some lame bread and a bowl of garlic butter, costing 75 euro cents a person, But the big wicker chairs with blue cushions are very comfortable and there is a lively atmosphere. The menu lists perhaps 20 pizzas (around 9 or 10 euros) with thin bases and a wide variety of toppings including walnuts, pine nuts and salmon, as well as the usual cheeses, anchovies, olives, hams and salamis. Alternatively, you can order a hefty slab of goat's cheese on a bed of very fresh salad (about 8 euros) or calamaris (9 euros) - an unaccompanied pile of fried squid rings with a lemon on the side. There is a large and commercial desert menu printed with photos of the extravagant sundaes, some costing the best part of 10 euros. But the drinks are reasonably priced - a 33cl beer costs 2.40 euros, while 50 cl of water is also 2 euros. Can Coll is a well-drilled operation and its waiters are unfailingly polite, but they can alternate between being inattentive and trying to hurry you as more potential customers arrive in the square. 7/10