I’m still on the hunt for the best Spanish food in Vancouver, and I think I’ve found one that’s up on the list. Sardine Can is a tiny little spot in the heart of Gastown. I love how they actually have a sardine can placed outside. However, beware of how tiny the spot is! Fitting around only 20 people or less, this means long waits! We waited over an hour for a seat, but it was well worth it! Come here early if you want to be seated right away.
The inside is decorated with Spanish items and the kitchen is open concept. I’m not even sure if this is considered a kitchen since it’s really small! It feels like one at home, with a bar table across where diners can sit and watch the chefs do their thing. Soccer is played on the TV, just like how they would in Spain.
Tostas de sardinas: Smoked Sardine on Toast
The menu is comprised entirely of tapas, which are perfect for sharing. The prices are also extremely reasonable at around $5-12 a dish. We were recommended that two dishes per person would be a good amount of food. So, we started with the Smoked Sardine on Toast, because I mean, after all, their restaurant has the word sardine in it. I’m not a huge fan of sardines since they can be quite fishy, but I found these quite good! Not my favourite, but if you’re a sardine fan, you’ll most likely like this. Topped with tons of sardine so you’ll get it in every bite!
Patatas bravas: Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, garlic aioli & tomato
Next were the Patatas Bravas, which were probably my favourite of the night! Patatas bravas are one of the most typical Spanish tapas and works perfect with beer or drinks. I loved how they put their own twist on this traditional dish. Here, they used fingerling potatoes and roasted these wedges so they were crispy on the outside. It came with a thick garlic aioli and tomato sauce, which was absolutely delicious when mixed together! Simple dish that is easy to make, but I really enjoyed the flavours. A must order!
Chorizo con Jerez: Full-flavoured chorizo sausage cooked in sherry
Chorizo con Jerez was a bit disappointing. Jerez is sherry, so these chorizo sausages were basically cooked in a sherry sauce. I didn’t like it since I found it really oily and nothing too special. The chorizo sausages had their typical hint of spice, but other than that, it wasn’t any special. You could easily replicate this dish at home.
Gambas al ajillo: Spicy garlic prawns
A Spanish meal isn’t complete without some seafood! We decided to get the Spicy Garlic Prawns, which comes in an addicting broth. Perfect for bread dipping. The shrimp were alright – wouldn’t say they are the freshest or juiciest, but the sauce was what made the dish. The dish is also not as spicy as we imagined.
Pinchitos morunos: Moorish spiced chicken kebabs, pomegranate
Moorish spiced kebabs are very typical in Spain, so I suggested we try the Moorish Spiced Chicken Kebabs. It came in two skewers, with a good amount of chicken on each skewer. I would’ve liked the chicken to be more moist, but the flavour wasn’t bad. It came with a pomegranate sauce and some sour cream.
Pan: Terra breads sourdough
We needed some bread for dipping, as well to pair with the chorizo dish since it was quite salty just eating the sausage. We ordered the Terra Breads Sourdough, which came in a cute tower.
Almejas con chorizo: Steamed clams, chorizo, celery, spicy smoke paprika
We probably shouldn’t have ordered the chorizo dish, since the Steamed Clams also came with more chorizo. The clams were steamed in a celery and spicy smoke paprika stew. Very flavourful and more than enough clams! A good deal for sure.
Atun crudo: Tartare of tuna, orange, avocado, chili lime olive oil
The Tartare of Tuna was really interesting! You would think it’s your typical tuna tartare, but nope. Here, they mixed in slices of orange, avocado, and added chili lime olive oil. This was a very interesting flavour with the citrus element to it. Also, the avocado made the tartare very smooth. It’s a lot of tartare too, so you will have plenty left after scooping it on your toasted bread.
Albondigas: Meatballs cooked in tomato and Rioja
Lastly, we got the Meatballs, which were cooked in a tomato and red wine sauce. The dish comes with 5 large meatballs, and is full of flavour. Very moist and perfect when soaked in the sauce.
Overall, we were extremely pleased with the Sardine Can. Of course, I can’t say it is comparable to the food in Spain, but I like how they take those traditional tapa dishes and put their own twist to it. Everything is fairly simple and doesn’t require too much difficulty in cooking. It’s the flavours they use that make the food so good. Prices are also very reasonable without needing to leave with a half empty stomach. Definitely much more affordable when compared with Espana. Looking forward to coming back again!