Born Street Food 2021

born street food

Every Autumn Barcelona Born Gourmet puts on the three day Born Street Food festival with some of the very best restaurants from El Born taking part. The opening hours were noon to midnight (Friday and Saturday) and until 10pm on Sunday.

pla de palau

The festival takes place in Pla de Palau, a square which held the Palace of the Viceroy, before it burnt down in 1875. It is said that Pla de Palau was once the commercial centre of Barcelona, as it was the main route into the city from the port and Barceloneta. These days, the square is somewhat marooned between large roads constructed at the time of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. I remember distinctly how difficult it was to get to Barceloneta back then, because the roads changed shape, quite literally, on a daily basis. We crossed Passeig de Isabel II in order to get to the square and joined the queue, left hand side of the picture above.

el oasis

Any skepticism I had about the location vanished when I peered through a hole in the black mesh screen around the fence and saw a foodie oasis with people sitting on the grass. The queue was short and we were able to buy tickets within about 5 minutes. There was no fee to get in, but one was obliged to buy food and drink tickets in order to enter. Tickets cost €3 each – food on all the stalls cost two tickets while a drink cost one. If you bought eight tickets, you got a free glass – somewhat necessary if you wanted to drink!

mari gorri vermut

First things thirst, there were several square bars, with a server on each of the four sides. There was a small queue for each, of about three people – this stayed about the same for the duration. They were selling drinks for one ticket each – these being vermut, wine and beer. I assume the beer was Estrella, as it’s a local company and they were prominent sponsors of the festival. I ordered a vermut – Mari Gorri, from Pais Vasco, which compared favourably with Catalan brands.

carn de vedella coberta

Our first stop for food was Sagardi, a Basque restaurant, which specialises in aged beef and seafood. Aged Basque beef comes, ideally from Galician dairy cows (Rubia Gallega), which are put out to grass when their milking days are over. They literally spend years grazing (until they are 8 – 18 years old) which makes for beautifully tasty and tender meat. The beef is further enhanced by dry aging for 100 days.  They had nets over the meat to keep any flies off.

carn de vedella a la barbacoa

Look at the beautiful yellow fat on the txuletón steaks above. I was invited behind the counter to take pictures and noticed, when the steaks first go on, they are covered with a large handful of coarse sea salt, most of which falls off when the meat is flipped on the grill.

txuletón sagardi

The steaks are served rare in a toasted baguette with grilled and peeled pimientos. The Txuletón was incredible – in my opinion better than Wagyu beef from Japan.

carn de vedella

Later on they took the fly screens off the beef for me to take a closer picture.

el cerdo

Next to the Bodega Vidrios y Cristales stall I noticed a golden pig’s head which I’d seen somewhere before – back in 2015 there was an identical pink pig’s head hanging up at the Born Vi Novell wine festival.

vidrios y cristales

Vidrios y Cristales were cooking up two options – the first being pulled pork in a bun.

cerdo a la barbacoa

I saw the chef open up the smoker to check the meat and started to take a picture. Immediately, he opened everything up for me on both of their barbecues.

porc a la barbacoa

This one here is ready to eat. I was really taken aback by how much the busy workers were prepared to invite me behind the scenes to take pictures. I didn’t have to ask, people just kept inviting me!


Later in the evening Debbie wanted to try the Vidrios y Cristales truita – Catalan for tortilla. I was impressed by their technique. The tortilla was agitated often with a spatula to create fluffiness and clumps inside. It gave it a fantastic texture.

truita de patates manchada amb xoriço

The Truita de Patates Manchada amb Xoriço – stained potato tortilla with chorizo tasted fantastic and came with Pimientos de Padron. The staining, being red, came from the pimentón in the chorizo.

vila viniteca

Next we looked at the Vila Viniteca stall – they are wine merchants who’ve organised a lot of festivals in Born over the years.


…and the perfect thing to go with wine is cheese! I didn’t notice until editing the photos, that the cheese mountain middle left, is English Montgomery Cheddar which tastes deep, rich and nutty. They have excellent taste, Montgomery Cheddar is my favourite!

queso de cabrales

They also had a dish of Cabrales (ready to plate up) from Asturias. This is a blue cheese with quite a kick and is aged in limestone caves.

plats de formatge

Above are the Assortit de Formatges Artesans –  assorted artisanal cheese platters.

el foro

El Foro is an Argentinian restaurant in Barcelona, so it’s not surprising that their dish is typical of a country with a strong tradition of barbecuing meat.


They had a mountain of sausages cooked but not fully browned,


ready for their Choripan, which comes from chorizo and bread (pan) combined, so think superior spicy hot dog with salad and a hot dressing.

euskal etxea

Euskal Etxea Taberna had my attention as soon as I spotted what they were cooking. This is yet another Basque restaurant in Barcelona, as you may have noticed by the name.


The dish on offer here was Marmitako de Bonítol, bubbling away in the cauldron.


Tuna Marmitako is a traditional Basque fisherman’s stew. Once again, the tuna which was covered to keep out the flies, was uncovered without prompting, so that I could take a picture.

pebrots choriceros

One of the important ingredients in this stew (aside from tuna and potatoes) is dried choricero peppers.

marmitako de bonítol

This was definitely one of the very best dishes at the festival and they were generous with the tuna!


Next to Euskal Etxea was the Cadaqués stall serving Arròs de Conill i Botiffara de Cal Rovira a la llenya.

arròs de conill i botiffara de cal rovira a la llenya

This is a rice dish with rabbit and sausages from Cal Rovira, cooked (traditionally) over a wood fire.

vi rosat

By this time I’d switched to drinking vi rosat – this one was a very pale pink, almost imperceptible against the blue sky.

la multitud

This is what the crowd looked like. It stayed fairly constant throughout the day – as new people arrived, those that were sated moved on. There was music from a booth to the left of the people above. DJ Fred Guzzo and others provided mellow soul music from a bygone era, which had a pleasant ambience, without interfering with talking.


We went to 1881 next for their amazing Mandonguilles amb Sípia.

mandonguilles amb sípia

This is a typical Catalan Mar i Muntanya (surf and turf) dish of meatballs in a cuttlefish sauce. These were absolutely perfect!


Debbie’s favourite stall was Bronzo Bar e Cucina, an Italian tavern.

pasta cacio e pepe

Bronzo were cooking Pasta Cacio e Pepe amb Trufa Negra. Normally Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) is made by mixing cooked spaghetti with grated Pecorino Romano, a little of the cooking water and some black pepper. This creates a simple and delicious dish of creamy cheesy pasta with no lumps. Here, the Bronzo chef mixed the freshly cooked pasta inside a whole wheel of cheese (which may have been Grana Padano), with two large stainless steel spoons. This of course looked fantastic and the cheese stuck perfectly to the pasta making a creamy sauce.

pasta cacio e pepe amb trufa negra

The finished dish was sprinkled with black truffle and tasted amazing!


My final food indulgence was at Guzzo Restaurante, Cocteleria y Club. Here they were offering Croquetes de Xai i All Negre (lamb and black garlic croquetas). I love good croquetas and saved these until last.


I watched longingly while they fried the croquetas to perfection.

croquetes xai i all negre

Of course, they had a perfect crunchy exterior with a creamy and unctuous centre.

zz rosado

I walked Debbie up to the centre of El Born, before making my way home via Carrer de Milans and Carrer dels Escudellers (in El Barri Gòtic) – for a nostalgic visit to streets I lived on many years ago.

About Mad Dog
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8 Responses to Born Street Food 2021

  1. What an amazing assortment of food! A true feast for the eyes and, I’m sure, the palate as well. I would love to try all of these dishes. (And I also have a weak spot for croquetas, though never had the pleasure of tasting lamb ones.) Thanks also for the “link love”… 😉 Even if with all those delicious Catalan dishes to explore, personally I would have skipped the Italian stall, even if that cacio e pepe does look very nicely done.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Frank – it was an excellent day out! My Friend Debbie is Italian, so we had to go and try the cacio e pepe, which was delicious …and the Spanish love pasta just as much as the Italians do.

  2. Ron says:

    What a fantastic day! So many great dishes to taste. It must have been pure pleasure. If I had to pick one, I think I’d go for the txuletón steak which is now on my must-taste bucket list. Thanks for sharing your adventure…

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Ron – the txuletón was fantastic! I think a lot of cattle will produce similar quality meat if grass fed naturally for a number of years. They are also environmentally friendly when farmed this way – there’s little or no methane and they fertilise the fields.

  3. Janet Mendel says:

    What a great way to spend a day–eating from noon till night. While the txuletón sounds incredible, I’m most taken with the meatballs with cuttlefish. Nice reporting.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Janet – I think most people went for a couple of hours – I stayed for about five, but a lot of that was spent chatting and taking pictures. I’m with you on the albóndigas and they were excellent!

  4. Karen says:

    What a wonderful way to spend a day, especially being welcomed by so many vendors to take photos. The pasta cacio e pepe amb trufa negra would have been one that I would have liked to have tried…simple but with such nice ingredients.

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