EL BORN: Best Catalan Cuisine in Manila!

El Born features Catalan cuisine (not Spanish) by Catalan chef David Amoros and his wife Ivone. It is inspired by the hip district of El Born in Barcelona. This is our favorite part of Barcelona because it still has a slightly “ghetto” feel, but it has been gentrified and has some of the best restaurants in the city, such as Enigma, Disfrutar, and Estimar.

The Catalonia region was conquered by Spain 145+ years after they colonized the Philippines. It would be incorrect to say that the food in Catalonia is Spanish because they have their own distinct Catalan cuisine, just as our food in the Philippines is not Spanish but Filipino food.

The restaurant specializes in arroz, which is a cross between paella and risotto, al josper-cooked dishes (fish, mussels, and chicken), and a unique take on tapas and seafood Mediterranean specialties.


Chef David and his wife, Ivone, met again in El Born, a vibrant neighborhood with winding streets and great restaurants and wineries. They shared a passion for cooking, wine, and organic products. Chef David wanted to use locally-sourced ingredients to craft his cherished homemade recipes, while keeping sustainability in mind.

The unpredictable course of life brought Chef David all the way to Manila. He held his roots close, bringing with him the gastronomic traditions of Barcelona, his home city on the shores of the Mediterranean Coast. He knew he was going to name the restaurant: El Born

EL Born Menu: Starters | Born from the Sea, Meat, Chef David’s Rice, Al Josper | Desserts, Drinks

El Born was the name of the neighborhood in Barcelona where Chef David met his wife, Ivone. It was also the place where they shared their love of food and wine. El Born is a vibrant and historic neighborhood with a rich culinary history. It is the perfect name for a restaurant that celebrates the flavors of Catalonia and the Mediterranean.

El Born is a casual rustic chic restaurant where you can enjoy cava and tapas before heading to the bar, or have a celebratory weekend lunch with the family.

Make sure you reserve one of the private rooms for your intimate events.

Born from Barcelona. Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine
📍2nd Floor, Mitsukoshi Mall, BGC
☎️: +63 917 316 9129
🕐: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
IG: @elborn.ph


LA BURRATA (₱1,220)
Burrata salad with fresh mixed greens & pesto

One of the best burrata salads we tried in Manila was made with bouncy and moist burrata on a bed of greens, and a special sauce of pesto and a sweet cranberry-like sauce. To enjoy, cut the burrata crosswise to open it up and mix it thoroughly with the greens.

Croquetas Caseras de Pollo con Trufa (₱380)
Homemade chicken croquettes with black truffle (4 pieces)

The croquetas was cooked to perfection, with a crispy crust on the outside and a moist and flavorful inside. The black truffle added a delicious umami flavor that was perfectly balanced with the chicken.

La Bomba de la Barceloneta (₱405)
Barceloneta’s Bomba – potato stuffed with spicy pork meat served with salsa tomato picante and aioli

Their unique signature tapas is a fried potato bomb stuffed with spicy pork meat, tomato salsa, aioli, and sweet paprika. The flavor and texture combination is amazing, and it goes perfectly with cava.

Cava: Roventos Blanc de Nit 2020 | Conco Del Riu

Roventos Blanc de Nit 2020 | Conca del Riu is a Spanish white wine from the Conca del Riu region in Catalonia. The wine is made from the grapes Xarel·lo, Macabeu and Parellada, and it is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. The wine has a pale yellow color and a fresh, fruity aroma with notes of apples, pears, lemon and lime. The taste is dry, fresh and fruity with a long, pleasant aftertaste. The wine goes well with fish, seafood, salads and light dishes.

Anchovas con Mantequilla (₱395)
Anchovie with smoked butter & artisan bread (1 piece)

One of the best tapas in El Born – salty anchovies with a thick layer of creamy butter on toasted bread.


Tartar de Atun (₱575)
Tuna tartare with Pane Carasau

Your usual tuna tartare but served with a traditional large and paper-thin flatbread shape from Sardinia.

White Wine: Con Sumoi | Corel.Lo Penedes 2021

Con Sumoi | Corel.Lo Penedes 2021 is a young, refreshing white wine that is perfect for summer drinking. It is made from the Xarel·lo grape, which is a native grape of the Penedes region of Spain. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks, which preserves its fresh, fruity flavors.

Carpaccio de Pulpo (₱850)
Octopus carpaccio with truffle potato parmentier

Every Spanish restaurant in town has their own pulp version. El Born’s variation is chopped octopus with truffle potato mash.

Mejillones “Al Joseph” (₱800)
“Josper” mussels with Chef David’s signature sauce

This reminds me of Moules Marinières, but with a tomato sauce instead of white wine. It was so good that we kept dipping bread into the sauce. The mussels absorbed the flavor of the sauce and were cooked in the Josper oven, giving them a nice smoky flavor.

Lubina al Horno (₱1,280)
Baked Sea Bass with potatoes

The seabass was cooked to perfection in the Josper oven, with a nice herby crust on the outside and a juicy medium-cooked interior. Sarap!


Arrow de Carne Iberica (₱1,550)
Iberico Pork rice (Good for two)

They specialize in arroz, which is a cross between paella and risotto. Their rice is moist and full of flavor, thanks to the Iberico pork meat that is mixed in. It is usually served without soccarat (caramelized crust on the bottom). Good to share and pairs nicely with the Josper-cooked meats.

Pollo al Josper (₱905)
“Josper” roasted chicken with choice of potatoes

Just one of the best roast chicken in the manila with a a crisp chicken skin with smoky flavor and the insides is still juicy and absorbs the herby taste. You can eat with the potatoes or with the arroz.

Red Wine: M.S.B “Aura” | 2019 Montsant

M.S.B “Aura” | 2019 Montsant is a full-bodied red wine that is made from the Grenache grape. It is aged in oak barrels for 12 months, which gives it its complex flavors and aromas. This wine is perfect for pairing with grilled meats, game, stews, and aged cheeses.


El Born Cheesecake (₱350)
Chef David’s Signature Cheesecake

The burnt cheesecake is creamy moist inside with a cookie crust bottom. Must order.


Indeed, this is one of the best Spanish restaurants in Manila at the moment! The Philippines has some of the best Spanish restaurants in the region, but the quality often degrades when the Spanish chef leaves. Chef David moved from Barcelona to Manila to open his restaurant here, introducing Catalonian flavors and a unique take on the El Born tapas. It’s great to see Chef Jay Saycon at the helm of the kitchen, ensuring that the flavors are consistent and well-executed for the Manila market.

We would recommend their unique tapas: La Bomba de la Barceloneta and Anchovas con Mantequilla; the Josper-grilled specialties: Mejillones “Al Josper”, Lubina al Horno, and Pollo al Josper; and the El Born Cheesecake for dessert. The Josper-grilled steaks would be good for special occasions. Budget about ₱1,500/head.

If you love Spanish food or miss the food in Barcelona, El Born is the perfect place to meet with family and friends. The ambiance is relaxed and homey, even though it is located in a mall setting. Make sure to reserve one of the private rooms for your Christmas celebrations Mitsukoshi BGC.

Thank you to Yvonne and Lucerne Food team for bringing Catalonian Cuisine in Manila!

Born from Barcelona. Catalan Mediterranean Cuisine
📍2nd Floor, Mitsukoshi Mall, BGC
☎️: +63 917 316 9129
🕐: 11:00 AM-10:00 PM
IG: @elborn.ph

Live an Awesome Life with Christ,

Founder & Digital Creator, Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Thank you to Lucerne group for the El Born experience. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.

P.S. The secret to El Born’s delicious food is its Josper charcoal-grilled oven, which is also distributed by the Lucerne group.

One thought on “EL BORN: Best Catalan Cuisine in Manila!

  1. Hi, you should research more. Catalonia was not conquered by Spain. Catalonia has always been part of Spain, it was part of Aragon in fact.

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