Former three-Michelin-star Catalan restaurant Can Fabes to close its doors after 32 years

After 32 years of success in the world of haute cuisine, this internationally renowned restaurant will cease its operations due to financial reasons. The restaurant located in Sant Celoni, 50km north of Barcelona, was decorated with 3 Michelin stars for 18 consecutive years, being the first restaurant in Catalonia to receive such a distinction. Can Fabes became famous under the leadership of Catalan chef Santi Santamaria, who passed away in February 2011. Santamaria was the first Spanish chef to be awarded with 7 Michelin stars, with restaurants in Catalonia, Madrid, Toledo and Singapore. Following his death the group of restaurants was directed by his daughter Regina Santamaria. “We tried to keep fighting for Can Fabes, but it was not possible as the restaurant was no longer economically viable” she told the CNA.

The kitchen of Can Fabes on the day after the closing announcement (by L. Vilaró)
The kitchen of Can Fabes on the day after the closing announcement (by L. Vilaró) / ACN


July 18, 2013 09:37 PM

Sant Celoni (CNA).- The Santamaria family announced on Wednesday evening that the world famous Can Fabes restaurant (formerly known as ‘El Racó de Can Fabes’) will close after being at the forefront of Catalan cuisine for more than 3 decades. The restaurant, located in Sant Celoni (50km north of Barcelona) received the highest Michelin award in 1994 and retained its 3 stars for 18 years under the direction of Santi Santamaria. Santamaria was one of the worlds most celebrated chefs and the first Spanish cook to be awarded 7 Michelin stars. He was running five restaurants, most of them awarded several Michelin stars: in Sant Celoni, in Barcelona, in Madrid, in Toledo and in Singapore, and he was about to open another establishment in Dubai. Santamaria died from a heart attack at the age of 53 in Singapore in February 2011, while he was working on the development of his new restaurant known as “Santi”. Following his death the family’s group of restaurants was managed by the chef’s daughter, Regina Santamaria. The Racó de Can Fabes’ sous-chef, Xavier Pellicer, replaced the world famous cook as the restaurant’s chef. In the last two and a half years the family started to gradually lose ownership of some of the restaurants. In the last few months, they were only running the family’s flagship, Can Fabes, and Xavier Pellicer left the restaurant early this year. On Thursday, Regina Santamaria explained to the CNA that “it was not possible to keep Can Fabes running as it was no longer economically viable.” The restaurant will close its doors on 31st August. However, they are open to continue with the project if an investor puts money in the restaurant.

A statement released on Wednesday evening by the Santamaria family explained how they are facing the closure with sadness but at the same time with satisfaction because they are proud of the restaurant’s team and history. The statement asserted: “It has been three decades of tireless creation and research to produce the highest quality. Everything was always based on an ideal promoted by the soul of the house, Santi Santamaria, who was dedicated to keeping the culinary roots and traditions while satisfying customers, an ideal that we followed and have continued to follow with dedication.”

Santi Santamaria emphasised the need to keep local customs alive, such as going to nearby markets to obtain the best local produce. He considered himself to be a showcase of Catalan cuisine. “In these difficult times for our country and its gastronomy, the restaurant lacks economic viability in order to continue this project based on excellence which has been at the forefront of Catalan and European cuisine for the past 25 years,” explained Regina Santamaria, daughter of the late chef.

The Santamaria family was unable to retain the legacy of this world renowned chef. Both the Santi restaurant of Singapore and the group’s other restaurant in Greater Barcelona, Evo, closed their doors last year. In addition, the family no longer controls the Sant Celoni restaurant in Madrid. In spite of this, Regina Santamaria insists that the Santamaria legacy is here to stay. She does not rule out starting a new restoration project, however it “would not be called Can Fabes, this is so we will not lose our respect for the restaurant, the customers and the quality of the cuisine.”

“We are very sorry for Sant Celoni. My father taught us to have Sant Celoni in our hearts” Regina explains about the town that has always been associated with the restaurant. “Until 31st August we will be here with our heads held high and producing the highest quality,” she stressed.