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This week, Culture Trip Barcelona checked out The Tatami Room in Poble Sec, a sushi and ramen restaurant with an authentic tatami dining area where guests can experience traditional Japanese style dining in a laid-back atmosphere.
The Tatami Room opened its doors in Poble Sec back in 2010 when the neighborhood hadn’t yet undergone the ‘foodie fever’ which has seen a number of top notch restaurants set up camp in the area. Since then it has gained a solid reputation for serving freshly made sushi and flavorsome bowls of homemade ramen at affordable prices. The venue gets its name from the traditional tatami mats, which are used in Japanese homes, and in this case guests can get a taste of traditional Japanese dining.
The decor is a subtle blend of traditional elements with funky touches of modernity, not least the original artwork on the walls by local artist Yoshi Sislay (himself originally from Japan). There are two dining areas, the downstairs room with the traditional tatami mats, as well as an upstairs room with standard tables and chairs. Both rooms provide a relaxed atmosphere without the loud commotion of certain larger restaurants. The tatami tables are the perfect place for groups of four or more whereas smaller groups may prefer to take a seat in the upstairs area where the long bench seating creates a cozy and friendly ambiance.
The menu is relatively ample with plenty to choose from, but the real reason anyone comes to The Tatami Room is for the sushi, or better yet the ramen, the steaming bowls of flavor-rich stock, noodles and accompaniment. The ramen craze has been hitting Barcelona hard in recent months and The Tatami Room is clearly trying to make a name for itself on the circuit. This is, as far as we can tell, the only place in Barcelona serving a clam ramen alongside more traditional meat-based versions. A healthier option for those who mind what they eat. We tried the pork with spicy kimchi and were impressed by the depth of flavor as well as the careful balance of acidity and fat. The bowl was well garnished and more than able to satisfy our eager appetite.
For those of you for whom a Japanese meal wouldn’t be complete without a mouthful or two of sushi, rest assured – there is a wide selection of sushi, nigiri and sashimi to choose from. Perhaps not one for the purists, but sure to please the more adventurous diners, there are a number of creative in-house flavor combinations such as jalapeño, onion ring and king crab uramaki.
The Tatami Room has been around for a while now and it’s clear that they’re on to something good. It offers home-made Japanese food prepared by a Japanese chef at a very affordable price. Come during the week and you can have three courses (including a bowl of ramen or a choice of sushi) and a drink for €11.50. It’s a favorite among Barcelona’s local crowd and for many it’s a regular neighborhood haunt. Despite this, it continues to improve on its offering and look for new ways to delight its diners.