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The foods of sunny Spain

The foods of sunny Spain
Canvas furnishings brighten up El Patio

Though italiano might still be all the rage (a boom whose better days are long past, as attested by the incessant flood of sub-subpar pseudo-Italian eateries), there are other options if your mood is Mediterranean. A handful of restaurantes espanoles, some new, some left over from the "Spanish boom" of some years back, are a welcome change if you' in the mood for fragrant, olive oil-laced food, but can't stomach another pasta with seaweed and raw egg.
Aeve Baldwin

Dos Gatos
Slightly Japanized, slightly up-market Spanish fare in a pretty, rattan-y, homelike atmosphere. Tapas include two kinds of tortilla (Spanish omelet) and the house specialty is a "pasta paella" (JY2400). Finish off your comida with a serving of sangria sorbet.
Open 12-2pm and 5:30-10pm Tue-Sun. Closed Mon, every third Tue. 2-34-10 Kichijoji Honcho, Musashino-shi (0422-22-9830). Nearest stn: Kichijoji.

El Castellano
El Castellano is right up there in the league of long-time foreign restaurants in this city. The affable Senor Garcia has been serving up solid Spanish food in his cozy little den on Aoyama Dori for years and years. People keep coming so call ahead for reservations. One of the few places in Tokyo where you'll encounter rabbit on the menu.
Open 6-11pm Mon-Sat. 9-11-2 Shibuya, Marusan Aoyama Bldg 2F, Shibuya-ku (03-3407-7197). Nearest stns: Shibuya, Omotesando.

El Patio
I can't speak for its authenticity as I've only once tried the lunch menu, but this cheerful little eatery decked out with brightly-colored canvas furnishings (much like a patio!) has generous portions and tasty food. Sixteen hot and cold tapas (at un-tapas prices from JY600-JY1200) include jamon serrano, boquerones (sardines) en vinagre, tortilla espanola and calamares fritos. Fairly extensive menu of fish, meat and paella selections, plus reasonably priced (JY3000, JY4000 and JY5000) course menus.
Open 11:30am-2pm and 5:30-10:30pm Mon-Sat. 30-18 Sakuragaoka-cho, Shibuya-ku (03-3462-8700). Nearest stn: Shibuya.

Meson el Vasco
Another long-time Tokyo resident. A trip to Meson el Vasco, isolated as it is in dark old Hamamatsucho, is a bit of a planned venture. So plan ahead but do make reservations since this Spanish-run restaurant gets consistently high marks for both its food and service.
Open 5-11pm Mon-Sat. Hamamatsucho 1-25-6 (03-3436-5720). Nearest stn: Hamamatsucho.


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