These 10 Restaurants Serve Canned Food… and Their Customers Love It from These 10 Restaurants Serve Canned Food… and Their Customers Love It

These 10 Restaurants Serve Canned Food… and Their Customers Love It

Editor
This isn’t canned salmon, it’s fine dining
Quimet

These 10 Restaurants Serve Canned Food… and Their Customers Love It

These 10 Restaurants Serve Canned Food… and Their Customers Love It

Maiden Lane

Canned food doesn’t exactly enjoy a spectacular reputation these days. Once heralded as a wonder of modern technology, canned foods are now mostly relegated to the back of the pantry in favor of fresh ingredients and homemade food. But what if I told you that there were restaurants all over the world that specialize in serving really high-quality canned food, and not as a gimmick? Welcome to the world of conservas.

Bar Raval, Toronto

Bar Raval, Toronto

Grant van Gameren is one of Toronto’s hottest chefs, and he’s introducing Canadians to conservas with great success. On the menu at his Toronto tapas bar are canned tuna belly, squid in ink, white clams, scallops in Galician sauce, razor clams, and cockles. And this isn’t cheap stuff; that can of cockles will set you back 68 Canadian dollars ($51.67).

Bar Vivant, Portland, Ore.

Bar Vivant, Portland, Ore.

Yelp/ Don B.

It was the ease of preparation that convinced Bar Vivant owner Cheryl Wakerhauser to add conservas to the menu at her tapas bar, where cans are simply opened and served to diners as-is, to be speared with a fork or toothpick. The selection is enormous: four types of sardines, two anchovies, three tunas, three squid, four clams, and other offerings including kind crab, trout, and small scallops.

Can the Can, Lisbon, Portugal

Can the Can, Lisbon, Portugal

Yelp/ Bruno L.

This popular restaurant sells a massive variety of conservas, which you’re more than welcome to crack open on-premises, but it’s equally renowned for chef Akis Konstantinidis’ elevation of canned seafood to fine dining. Standouts include dried salted canned tuna with citrus, toasted almond, orange, and sprouts; lemon-marinated mackerel with sweet potato, almonds, dill, and tomato confit; and tuna belly salad with beet, celery root, green apple, walnuts, and yogurt sauce.

Donostia, New York City

Donostia, New York City

Donostia

This East Village Basque restaurant is a full-on “bar de conservas,” and owner Jorge de Yarza sells a wide variety of conservas there, both to purchase and eat on-premises. (It’s also the sole U.S. distributor of the Espinaler conservas brand, one of Spain’s most renowned.) Highlights include Galician clams in brine, dark Spanish salt-cured anchovies, whole baby squid in ink, and tuna belly.

Huertas, New York City

Huertas, New York City

Yelp/ Kashif K.

This popular Basque restaurant is one of the city’s hottest tapas bars, and its serves conservas with some cheffy accompaniments. Black anchovies are served with piquillo peppers, quail egg, herbs, and bread; mussels in escabeche are accompanied by lemon, herbs, and bread; mackerel in olive oil is served with aioli, pimentón, lemon, herbs, and bread; and sardines are mellowed by radishes, butter, lemon, herbs, and bread.

Maiden Lane, New York City

Maiden Lane, New York City

Maiden Lane

A restaurant named Maiden Lane founded by two guys named Gareth and Nialls might not be the first place you’d expect to find the city’s best selection of tinned seafood from across Europe, but here we are. Many of the composed dishes contain conservas (think a sandwich with sardines, olives, chile, and cilantro), but the can selection is nearly 40-strong and spans Europe from Spain to Iceland and France (as well as smoked oysters and mussels from Washington State’s Ekone). Must-trys include classic French sardines from Gonidec, cider vinegar cured anchovies from Dom Bocarte), cod liver from Iceland’s Great King; and mackerel with white wine from Gonidec. There are also several rillettes from Groix et Nature, including sardine, mackerel, crab, and lobster.

Mr. Kanso, Various Japan Locations

Mr. Kanso, Various Japan Locations

This one’s the outlier I mentioned earlier. This chain of trendy bars is called Mr. Kanso (“Mr. Simple”), and only sells cans of food, about 300 different varieties to be exact. The offerings, as you might imagine, can get pretty bizarre; look around and you’ll find everything from Spam and Campbell’s soup to canned bee larvae, omelettes, lobster, Hokkaido bear curry, Korean silkworm chrysalis, walrus curry, and goose liver pâté. If you’re having trouble finding your nerve, there’s plenty of booze to help.

N7, New Orleans

N7, New Orleans

One of America’s best new restaurants of 2016, this hidden gem in New Orleans’ Bywater neighborhood has a small menu of a handful of French classics and Japanese-influenced seafood dishes, but the crowds are lining up to sample the collection of tinned seafood from France, Spain, Portugal, and Washington State. These include trout rillettes from France’s Groix & Nature, small mackerel in olive oil from Portugal’s Jose Gourmet, mussels in escabeche from Spain’s Frinsa, and habanero smoked oysters from Washington’s Ekone. 

Quimet & Quimet, Barcelona

Quimet & Quimet, Barcelona

Yelp/ Brian L.

Quimet & Quimet is one of Barcelona’s most famous bodegas, and owner Quim Pérez is using conservas in hundreds of different small plates. A perfect example of the potential inside each can of conservas is a dish of Cantabrian anchovies served with two canned apricot halves, a creamy cheese called Torta Del Casar, and balsamic vinegar reduction.

Sol e Pesca, Lisbon, Portugal

Sol e Pesca, Lisbon, Portugal

Canned fish is just as popular in Portugal as it is in Spain, and millions of Portuguese are discovering it for themselves after years of it being on the decline. One of Lisbon’s most popular bars is the tiny Sol e Pesca, where the walls are lined with hundreds of different varieties of conservas for guests to sample. Anthony Bourdain even dropped by while filming No Reservations in Lisbon in 2012.