Sushi is one of our favourite meals. Back home, at least once a month we would amble down the street, pick-up a party platter and then devour it in our apartment. It was delicious, we have no regrets.
Even though we were eating copious amounts of rice we were able to convince ourselves that it was a healthy meal – you know, omega-3s from salmon and all that. That rationale made it all the more delicious.
So, you can imagine our horror and disappointment when we arrived in Madrid and discovered just how damn expensive sushi is in the Spanish capital.
Now, to be fair, sushi can be quite expensive in Canada, but it’s nothing compared to what it is here. At home, even if you weren’t going the all-you-can-eat route, on average you would be paying $0.50CDN (roughly €0.34) per piece. Compare that to Madrid where even sketchy sushi joints were charging €1.50 ($2.23CDN) per piece and you can see why we avoided one of our favourite foods for far too long.
After three months of living a sushi-less life, we’d had enough. Thanks to Google, we were able to locate a couple of reasonably priced all-you-can-eat (or buffet libre) sushi restaurants within walking distance (25-30 minutes walk max.) and we decided to use our birthdays as an excuse to check them out.
Here are my thoughts, feelings and reactions to buffet libre sushi in Madrid:
Fernandez de la Hoz, 70, 28003 Madrid, Spain
Price: €15/person for dinner (lunch buffet is €9/person)
Our first stop was Kintaro Sushi in the Salamanca neighbourhood. The reviews online were good, but advised that you go after 9:30 PM because that’s when they put out the best dishes. Still living on a semi-North American dinner schedule, we arrived at the restaurant just before 9 PM (we couldn’t wait any longer!)
The options put out were good – salmon and avocado, gyoza, chicken skewers, noodles and dumplings. We were like kids in a candy store, and thankfully we were seated on the side of the conveyor belt so we had first dibs on everything. We ate tried and tested favourites, sampled new and unusual foods, and honestly we loved everything.
Almost as if on cue, at 9:30 PM just as we were about to call it quits, the kitchen started pumping out even better options, including sashimi. We couldn’t believe that an already great meal was about to get better!
We ate until we were almost too full to walk home. It was gluttonous and amazing, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Kintaro Sushi lived up to and exceeded our expectations. Every dish was amazing, and the price was more than reasonable. Not only would I highly recommend Kintaro Sushi, but I also can’t wait to go back!
Calle Meléndez Valdés, 64, Madrid, 28015
A couple of weeks later, for our second sushi outing, we tried Tokio Sushi, located just a few minutes from our apartment in Moncloa.
When we after 9 PM we were a bit surprised to see that there was no one else in the restaurant (we’d been so proud that we could wait so long for dinner). I initially thought it was closed, but we were soon ushered in and to the all-you-can-eat sushi section. We took our seats and within a few minutes options were circling round.
We tried a few things at first, grabbed a few salmon, tuna, and avocado rolls, tried a few unknown items, but after a few plates we noticed the same (rejected) foods circling round and round, and it seemed like nothing new was coming.
Unfortunately, because we were the only two people in Tokio Sushi that night the options were limited—obviously they weren’t going to make anything and everything and send it down the line, potentially wasting a lot of food; we completely understood that. But, we spent the majority of our meal waiting for options that peeked our interest to circle by. A couple of times the waitress came out to ask us what we wanted, which was great, but those were few and far between.
The food at Tokio Sushi was good, but as I said the options were limited. Even if we hadn’t been the only two there, the buffet didn’t include many sushi staples, such as sashimi, which we love. Although our first experience was a bit disappointing, I’m keen to try Tokio Sushi again, just to see what it’s like with a full(er) house.
Overall, I preferred Kintaro Sushi – the food was delicious, the ambiance was good and the price was right!
All photos courtesy of Pixabay.com.
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