Imagine this: you’re seated on an outdoor patio facing the gentle Mediterranean Sea on a warm summer’s afternoon. The remains of the day slowly fade with the sunset, leaving a slight chill in the air. A sun-kissed waiter saunters up to your table and presents a voluptuous plate of paella before your eyes. Perhaps it’s the sea breeze or the distant cries of seagulls, but you feel as though you can taste the entire ocean in one bite.
While Tokyo’s latest seafood restaurant Xiringuito Escribà is not quite located in a Spanish seaside paradise, eating there will make you feel as if you truly were. Coupled with the launch of the Shibuya Stream building in September, the Catalonian seafood hut has opened its latest chapter in the heart of Tokyo’s busiest district. This restaurant may have a challenging name to pronounce, their premise is simple: to make great food.
Their show-stopping number Escribà Paella is a testament to its efforts. Using imported Valencian rice, the short grain is immersed in a rich broth of turmeric and squid innards, giving it that fresh-off-the-hook-and-into-your-mouth experience. Don’t let the relative flatness of the dish fool you at first. Using a wooden spoon (which, the waiter will insist you use to avoid altering the taste of the paella), dig in to uncover layers of pink shrimp and glistening clams, mixed in with pieces of artichoke. It’s almost like a treasure hunt, but with savory rewards.
The meals at Xiringuito are understandably large and perhaps not ideal for a solo lunch. That, however, is also part of the appeal of the restaurant. From the enormous paella plates to the rows of cosy nautical-themed booths, the sentiment of “sharing” appears to be built into the very bones of this establishment. Sharing is, after all, caring. And if the word bienvenido scrawled in white paint across the kitchen vents near the entrance is any indication, Xiringuito Escribà is ready to share a warm plate of paella with you.
Shibuya Stream 3rd Floor, 3-21-3 Shibuya, Tokyo
Lunch: 11am – 5pm, Dinner: 5pm – 11pm.