Enjoy the Japanese cuisine in the Catalan capital
The borders of the world blur and change constantly. Due to globalization, there is no need to travel to Italy to eat a good pizza or to Greece to eat an authentic moussaka. Today we can taste dishes from other countries and exotic delicacies in our own city.
Among the different gastronomic cultures of the world, the Japanese cuisine is one of the most spread, especially in large cities such as Madrid, Berlin or New York. Their cuisine is internationally known and critically acclaimed by both food critics and regular people. The interest for the culture and the oriental gastronomy is growing day by day and its presence is so extended that the sushi has become not only an appreciated Japanese specialty but a popular choice for delivery or fast food.
But, where does sushi come from? Sushi is a word of Japanese origin, the result of the union between two words: vinegar and shi-meshi (rice). Sushi could literally be translated as “vinegary rice”. It’s funny, though, that the sushi it’s not originally a Japanese recipe, since it was born in China as a fish conservation technique, like smoking it or the conservation in salt. The rice and fish were cooked and left to ferment and, after a certain amount of time, the fish was consumed alone. Still far away from the sushi we eat today.
Because of the Chinese immigration, this method of conservation was spread through different countries, Japan among them. Plus, some changes in Japan political and administrative organization, affected the supply of rice, making it the number one preservative in the country. In the mid-seventeenth century, Dr. Matsumoto Yoshiichi decided to add vinegar to rice for conservation. A few years later, people began to roll up the ingredients for their consumption. However, the famous cook Yohei Hanaya was the first to use raw fish at the end of the 18th century, since until that time they used cooked, marinated or roasted fish. The first sushi rolls were born. After the Second World War, in the middle of the 20th century, the first sushi joints appeared, in the form of restaurants and mobile kiosks. Since then and to this day, the openings of sushi-based restaurants and Japanese food have not stopped.
The Catalan capital is a city full of international culinary choices, especially in downtown areas. There are hundreds of sushi restaurants in Barcelona: some of them are buffets, others are Chinese restaurants trying to pass as Japanese and others, the few, are real Japanese restaurants. It’s very hard to spot or distinguish them from the fake ones. Usually you can get a big clue by checking up their menu; if they offer a mix of Asian food, it probably won’t be a real Japanese restaurant.
Since we want to help you find the best sushi in town, here you have our recommendations!
Top sushi restaurants in Barcelona
Where is it? Carrer Goya, 9
The Japanese restaurant Kibuka is the project of 3 Catalans who decided to fulfill the dream of opening a sushi restaurant in Barcelona. Kibuka has two sushi restaurants in Barcelona, just in the Gràcia district: the best known is in the upper part of Verdi street, and the second is in Goya street, very close to the Plaça de la Vila. Both restaurants offer a menu of oriental dishes with a very good quality and price ratio. Both restaurants stand out for having open kitchens where the chefs cut your sushi in the spot. In addition, they also have an extensive variety of makis, noodles and other Japanese specialties. But Kibuka is not a conventional Japanese restaurant, and you can feel it and taste it in their food, which has Latin and Asian influence.
Where is it? C/ Gran de Gracia, 13
Nomo is more than a restaurant: it’s a Mediterranean-feeling Asian-cuisine tavern. It was born in 2007 because of the work of two Catalonian brothers who joined forces with the Japanese chef Naoyuki Haginoya. They decided to open a Japanese restaurant with a very exclusive concept: Asian gastronomy and Japanese culture but deeply rooted in Catalan tradition. It quickly became a huge success, so they opened three more restaurants, one of them for take-away. Nowadays, thanks to its key location in the center of the city, its quality ingredients and their original cooking techniques, NOMO has become one of the most popular sushi joints in Barcelona.
Where is it? Carrer Moles 21
Machiroku is a small and modest sushi restaurant in Barcelona that has been running for more than seven years. If you are looking for a place to taste quality sushi at a good price, Machiroku is the place for you. Although sushi is the main star of the menu, in Machiroku they also offer other highly recommended dishes such as yakisoba noodles, ramen or popular gyozas. In addition, all the products are homemade, fresh and delicious. If you want to try for the first time the sushi, or you don’t have a lot of experience in this type of cuisine, Machiroku would be a great beginning. The Machiroku staff is very nice and helpful, and they will guide you through this gastronomic trip. We also recommend you their daily menus.
Where is it? Passeig de Gràcia, 119
This restaurant has a great reputation in Barcelona. The menu offers sushi, sashimi and other premium Japanese dishes in a dreamlike environment that stands out for its aesthetics and its warm and intimate atmosphere. The low light, poufs and wooden tables at ground level are another hallmark of the restaurant that will make you feel like you were in Japan. In addition, it also has an attractive offer of cosmopolitan cocktails and drinks. Our recommendation for this restaurant would be ordering the degustation menu because it includes all types of sushi: Makis, Uramakis, Temakis, Nigiris and more.