Calabrasa - Seafood and Meat on a Charcoal Grill
Calabrasa opened its doors fairly recently, and is determined to create a much-needed establishment in the tourist-packed Born where also the local crowd feels welcome. They have a privileged location on Passeig del Born, almost right in front of the Born market. There is even have a large terrace outside if you would like to see the world pass by.
The decoration inside is simple but attractive: I love the black and white checkered floors. Make sure you have a look at the kitchen door in the back, it’s gorgeous! Right in front of the entrance you have a counter with fresh seafood and aged beef, and it shows precisely what goes on here: they specialize in grilling good quality seafood and meat.
In the kitchen where the magic happens: there’s the Josper, the charcoal grill everybody is talking about. A Josper really makes a difference: the price for the grill might be astronomical, but you can taste it in the dishes prepared in there. Here they use oak carbon to give the dishes a very smooth, exciting flavor.
We started off our visit with croquetas: you guys know that you can tell the quality of the food in a restaurant based on their croquetas, right..? Here they come in fours, divided into the sea (fish and shellfish) and the mountain (meat). The flavors change regularly to keep things interesting: ours were hake in “salsa verde” and T-bone steak (chuletón). They were excellent.
Next up were grilled mussels in a passion fruit vinaigrette. I hadn’t tried anything like it before in terms of mussels, and I very much enjoyed them: the smooth grilled flavor of the mussels stood in contrast with the vinegary and sweet taste of the vinaigrette. We also loved the grilled bread baked in their charcoal oven, don’t miss out on it.
I am a big fan of grilled octopus, and the one at Calabrasa did not disappoint. It comes with a La Vera Paprika Parmentier, a slight twist of the usual potatoes with the paprika sprinkled on top. The octopus was wonderfully tender and full of flavor.
Our main courses were equally tasty: we had a beef rib steak and sea bass with oil and garlic sauce, both grilled on charcoal. The portions are very generous here so you will not leave hungry!
Dessert you ask? We can very much recommend the cheesecake made with Idiazábal cheese that has a slightly smokey flavor to it. Divine..! Also worth ordering is the Pijama: a traditional dessert that has been revived here at Calabrasa. Here it consists of flan, ice cream, a peach melba, and dried pineapple.
Calabrasa will not disappoint, their menu is interesting with dishes packed with flavor. The wine selection is focused on small producers with exceptional wines. The place itself is very inviting and in particular the terrace. It is excellent value for money, don’t miss this place!
Calabrasa, Passeig del Born 27 (Born).