Authentic Japanese Restaurants with Menu del Día Under 15€
Fortunately for food lovers like myself, Madrid, like many other major cities, has discovered the great cuisine known as Japanese food. The downside to this phenomena is that, out of the 50+ restaurants that claim to be Japanese, only a handful are truly authentic and worth your money. The other dilemma is all too familiar in this country: for those NOT rolling in money (like yours truly), Japanese food tends to be a bit harsh on your budget. But fear not! In this series of articles about Japanese restaurants in Madrid (recommended by Japanese expatriates), I’ve compiled a list of places that offer menu del dia that will a) not break your bank nor (ie. less than 15€); b) give you a false impression of Japanese cuisine. Here follows an authentic Japanese Restaurantswith Menu del Día Under 15€.
The first on the list is Hanakura.
Hanakura, tucked away in a quiet corner right by the gardens of Plaza de Olavide in Trafalagar, offers Madrileños a wide selection of authentic dishes that cross over both Spanish and Japanese cuisines. Take, for example, the okonomiyaki, which is one of Hanakura’s most popular dishes. Okonomiyaki is the Japanese version of the Spanish tortilla; the difference being that instead of potatoes and chorizo, you find chopped cabbage and seafood (or meat). In fact, Hanakura’s izakaya style dining itself is oddly similar to the Spanish tapas arrangement. Izakayas (居酒屋)are, simply put, Japanese drinking establishment that serve food and appetizers to compliment the beverages; people frequent them after work to unwind and de-stress. Sound familiar?
Located in central Madrid, Hanakura is the sister restaurant of the Hanatokura group in Japan, which boasts a total of three restaurants in Tokyo. While many authentic Japanese restaurants in Madrid tend to be pricey and upscale, manager Keigo Onoda maintains a relaxed atmosphere within the restaurant with an emphasis on affordability. Decorated with fabric from Japanese kimonos, Hanakura is an ideal place for friends and family to casually dine and enjoy each others’ company.
Hanakura offers a total of 14 menu del día options during the weekdays, all very reasonably priced between 10 to 15 euros. All menus come with the following: sugerencia del chef (a side dish that changes daily), a dish of your choice, miso soup, dessert (ice cream, cheesecake, or coffee jello), and a drink. Menus in option A come with a bowl of rice while the main course in option B all have rice incorporated in the dish (rolls, rice bowls, etc).
On the day of my tasting, the sugerencia del chef was mini spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce. Although Hanakura is most famous for their okonomiyaki, for my lunch, I decided to go with the karaage, or Japanese fried chicken, with ponzu sauce (Menu A). Instead of buying the generic sauce like many other restaurants do, Hanakura has its own special recipe to marinate the chicken. The result, as you can see below, is chicken that is crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. The voluminous dish was topped with grated radish and scallions, all covered in the citrus-based ponzu sauce. The karaage, full of ginger and soy sauce flavor, went well with the bowl of white rice. Instead of a course meal, Hanakura’s menu del día is more of a set meal where all the food comes out at once. It reminded me of my mother’s dinners, where food was served on small plates and we alternated between eating one dish, then the other, instead of finishing one plate and moving on to the next.
For dessert, you can choose between ice cream (chocolate or vanilla), Japanese style cheesecake, or coffee jello. Japanese cheesecake is different from the American one in that it is not baked; the batter is solidified with gelatin and is less creamy, making it a much lighter dessert. The whole meal was incredibly filling and delicious, and very economically priced for the amount and quality you receive. I will be sure to try their okonomiyaki next time, as Hanakura is the only establishment in Madrid that serves this popular dish.
Hanakura is located on Calle Murillo, 4, near metro stops Quevedo, Bilbao, and Iglesia. Hours for the restaurant are as follows:
Monday – Thursday: 13:30 – 15:45
20:30 – 0:00*
Friday – Sunday: 14:00 – 16:15
20:30 – 0:00*
(*Last order at 23:45)
You can make reservations online through their formulario de reserva or by calling 914 45 46 91. Reservation is strongly recommended, especially on weekends.
You can also view Hanakura’s menu online at www.hanakura.es/
Hanakura offers a number of vegetarian dishes.