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Sushi, Catalan Style

image via Sushi10.com

Last month I was surprised to find an article in my beloved New York Times about — of all things — sushi in Barcelona. I was surprised for two reasons: first, because my quest for good, affordable sushi in Barcelona has been arduous one that has paid off in the end, but has led me down some very ugly roads; and second, because whenever the NYT (or any mainstream U.S. media outlet or most blogs) reports on dining in Barcelona, it’s always to exalt the usual suspects: paellas, crema catalanas and the like. (Sidenote: to be fair, the NYT also recently covered the Catalan economy bistro trend).

Japanese food — or any other non-Spanish/Catalan cuisine — is not what Americans come to Barcelona for. And I’m telling you from experience both as someone who lives here and someone’s who has tasted great “foreign” food in unlikely places that this is often a mistake (I recently had the best Thai curry of my life in, of all places, Vienna). If you are here for any extended period of time, there will come a time (though it might seem impossible) to get burnt out on Spanish and Catalan fare. And when you do, you go hunting for stuff we have in abundance back home. Things like sushi.

I had already heard great things about Koy Shunka (and better things about Shunka, its sister restaurant) and the NYT’s Alexander Lobrano seemed to like it a lot, as he raved:

I’d come to Koy Shunka a lot more often than “every Saturday,” though, because the sushi and sashimi are not only the best I’ve ever eaten in Europe, but the Japanese-Catalan dishes are also such fine food for thought that, even three weeks later in Paris, I’m still thinking about a particularly brilliant dish of Palamós shrimp, sea cucumbers and rossinyol and shiitake mushrooms in a sauce of sweet miso and sake.

I probably would too, if I could afford it! Because while there is excellent sushi to be had here, it is quite expensive, which is strange since access to fresh fish is endless here in Barcelona. I think Japanese food is suffering from its own novelty here. I remember when I was growing up in the U.S. South sushi was exotic (read weird) enough that restaurants were few and far between, and could therefore charge whatever they wanted. The same thing is going on here, though there are a few decent, inexpensive alternatives. The most interesting of these budget sushi offerings is one that relates a lot better to our topic here at EatCatalunya: sushi with a Catalan touch. A little place in Barcelona’s formerly industrial neighborhood of Poblenou, Sushi 10 is making a splash by offering something that we can’t resist: sushi with local Catalan ingredients at a fraction of the price of most places. Take their SisPlau Sushi (sisplau means “please” in Catalan), which they describe as:

“A roll with tuna in escabeche and escalivada, with a crunchy layer of hazelnut and topped with wasabi aioli. Another roll with cod cheeks, tomatoes and black olives. All of this drizzled with extra virgin arbequina olive oil. Also includes a L’Escala anchovy nigiri and an olive oil sardine nigiri.”


The video below is in Catalan but you will get a nice taste of where Sushi 10 is going with this (or you can read our translation down below).


In the Poblenou neighborhood, an innovative business has opened its doors: Sushi10. This establishment has created the first ever Catalan-style sushi, mixing Japanese ingredients with Catalan products such as L’Escala anchovies or hazelnuts from Reus.

“I discovered that, according to some very important studies, the two most heart-healthy diets in the world are sushi and the Catalan diet. That gave me the idea to make Catalan sushi, which would be the best food for the heart.

Marina and her team are creators of Catalan sushi. The establishment creates menus made to meet the needs of customers, such as Eco Sushi, for those customers that want to follow a heart-healthy diet.

“We have a nutritionist that does all the calculations so that our sushi is well-balanced. We discovered that some of our items are really hight in Omega 3.”

Sushi10 hopes to introduce Barcelona to Japanese food to-go designed for Catalan consumers. The majority of their ingredients are organic.

“This isn’t a place where people come in, grab something and go. We talk to customers and those of us who are in contact with the customers are really involved and well-informed on our company’s philosophy.

Sushi10 is located in Poblenou at Espronceda 128-130 Local, 9 or online at sushi10.com

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