this catalan outpost on manhattan ave is a destination for authentic tapas, old world wines and new age cocktails, and is quite simply my favorite restaurant in
brooklyn the entire city. the name el born references the edgy and colorful neighborhood in the south of Barcelona that relentlessly attracts artists, musicians, and dreamers to its narrow streets, quaint bars, and unsuspecting restaurants… not unlike our own burgeoning northern point of Brooklyn. is it a coincidence that the coordinates on my wrist point exactly to a park in the very barrio of el born in barcelona, and that this restaurant opened on my block the week I moved back from Spain? nope. I was (el) born to exist in this restaurant at least weekly while my heart resides daily across the pond.
the charming dueña elena, a barcelona transplant, has built an exemplary staff led by head chef alberto “talento” and a handful of dashing camareros with heavy hands, kind smiles and who are particularly easy on the eyes. her husband playing flamenco guitar makes the whole operation feel like a quaint family affair.
this restaurant embodies everything about food and culture of Barcelona that I can’t get enough of, plus has madrid‘s beer on tap, all day and all night. add to that a killer brunch deal on the weekends, live flamenco guitar on sundays and wednesdays, paella specials on mondays, two-for-one gin and tonics on thursdays, and every single day a friendly staff, perfect ambience, and patatas bravas that kick sergi arola’s out of the water, and i can personally attest to that.
so vamos, ahora. (I’m probably already there)
(I’m here right now.)
what not to miss
they treat gin and tonics with as much reverence as spain does- served in big fish bowl glasses with fresh and complex flavor accompaniments such as el pepino with cucumber and pink peppercorns or la canela with cinnamon and orange. the wine list is impeccably curated (try the los cantos, a Tempranillo del Ribera del duero), the sangria is strong and made fresh daily, and they are one of the only places in the city to get mahou, the pride of madrid, on tap all day and all night.
for tapas, don’t miss the croquetas del dia, the patatas bravas, pop a la pedra, montadito de bou, brussel sprouts, pa amb tomaquet (nunca podemos ovidar el pa amb tomaquet), and pimientos de padron. so, basically, everything.
Oh yeah.. And all of the paellas.
one of the best brunch specials in brooklyn- $50 for two includes bottomless mimosas, sangria, and their interpretation of a bloody mary (made with salmorejo- and you know how i feel about that.) and every single thing on the menu is amazing. i recommend the ous cinc minouts and whatever the burger of the day is, or start your week off right with the squid ink paella.
oh and if you prefer to dine al fresco, they have a charming little terrace out back.
(this place is everything you ever wanted. trust me.)
how not to miss it
651 manhattan ave5-11pm mon-thurs, 5-midnight friday,
saturday noon-4pm, 5pm-midnight,
sunday noon-4pm, 5pm-midnight.