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restaurant review

Beloved Spanish paella restaurant Xiringuito Escriba comes to Tokyo

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By Melissa Grant

Japan is notorious for importing everything it loves from other countries, be it landmark statues or world-renowned dishes. In the past few years we’ve seen pancakes, ice candy, donuts, and everything Instagrammable take over the Tokyo dining scene, but now that’s already old news. The next generation food import is all about real food.

With this in mind, all the way from Spain to Japan, Tokyo just welcomed a brand new addition to its authentic cuisine market, the Spanish seafood paella restaurant Xiringuito Escriba. Despite being loved among locals and tourists in Spain for over 25 years, this is surprisingly the brand’s very first international branch.

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The restaurant, which in Spanish means a "beach house" selling quick bites and lots of drinks, was opened along Spain’s beautiful beach Bogatell in Barcelona in 1996 by its original owner Joan Escriba, a man passionate for food of all kinds and a former patissier. He developed the idea while Spain was preparing for the 1992 Olympic Games, wanting to bring the love of friends-shared delicious food and the beach under one roof. Specializing in paella, the ultimate shareable seafood, the restaurant has since become a popular spot for local diners and tourists, quickly rising to fame as “the best paella and seafood restaurant in Barcelona.”

And now it’s in Tokyo, quickly becoming one of the newly opened complex Shibuya Stream’s most popular dining destination.

The opening of the Tokyo branch had long been Escriba’s dream, ever since he first visited the capital back in the 1980s when he came to Japan on a mission to share his (then) love for French desserts. Joan’s admiration for Japan never wavered and his dream of bringing something uniquely Spanish to Tokyo began to take shape two years ago when Joan was approached to bring Xiringuito Escriba to Japan — how could he resist?!

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The Tokyo branch has four kinds of paella on the menu, two packed with seafood – the signature Escriba and Squid Ink, the Valencia (chicken) and a vegetarian option for those preferring no seafood or meat. The paella is made with either Valencia rice or fideua, a type of short pasta, and comes in two share sizes for 2-3 or 4-6 people for the price of ¥2,800 to ¥7,200.

Still hungry or just after something light, other must-try signature Escriba dishes include the patatas bravas (¥800) which is served with a delicious bravas sauce and a smokey flavored aioli (which I believe compliments a number of items on the menu), the Galician-style octopus (¥1,600), fried small fish and calamari (¥1,600), and the unique “Airbag” iberico ham (¥1,800) which is essentially a piece of delicious crispy bread with ham on top.

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To master the authentic Spanish taste, Xiringuito Escriba’s Tokyo head chefs spent time studying in Barcelona under Joan to perfect his paella technique and signature dishes. Lessons seem to have been learned as just about two weeks after the opening, Escriba is packed, constantly featured in the media and has already 1.5k (and counting) followers on Instagram.

If at the end of the day it is drinks and tapas you prefer, then Xiringuito Escriba is also the perfect choice. While the diner has a fully stocked bar, the true sellers are the many kinds of sangria, made with red, white or sparkling wine plus a special sake variety only available at the Shibuya branch. Of course, there is also wine, beer and non-alcoholic sangria available as well.

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Xiringuito Escriba is located on the third floor of the newly built Shibuya Stream at the south end of the station and is open for lunch, dinner or drinks (and yes, there’s a happy hour, too!).

Xiringuito Escriba

Address: Shibuya Stream 3, 3-21-3 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-5468-6300

Business hours: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Lunch), 5 p.m.-11 p.m. (Dinner)

Average cost: Lunch paella set from ¥2,800 per person, Grill set ¥1,480, Dinner sets from ¥4,800 per person. A la carte from ¥500 for tapas.

© Japan Today

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2 Comments
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One hopes the restaurant will also encourage a correct pronunciation of their signature dish, which in some quirk of transliteration is referred to in Japanese as "paeria"...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Paella, one of the world's great dishes.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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