by Deborah Im

Jamón ibérico served anywhere outside of Spain usually falls short— a perfect slice of this specially cured ham should be shaved so thin it is translucent, glistening with smoky juices and velvety on the tongue with a smooth, perfectly-cured saltiness. Outside of Spain, jamón ibérico is often too salty, not silky enough, and more akin to Italian prosciutto.

But Tokyo’s not just any city; it’s a foodie’s paradise. And a perfect plate of whisper-thin, smoky jamón ibérico can be found at Bodega Santa Rita at Tokyo Midtown near Roppongi station. Other Spanish favorites on the menu include gambas al ajillo (garlicky shrimp cooked in olive oil in a clay dish), tortilla Española (a thick pan-fried omeletlike wedge of eggs, onions and potatoes that is as much of a staple in Spanish cuisine as rice is in Japanese cuisine) and paella.

Tortilla Española in Bodega Santa RitaLocated on the first floor of the Garden Terrace, the authentic stucco décor and hocks of smoked serrano and ibérico ham hanging from the ceilings seem a bit out of place in the otherwise sleek and modern Tokyo Midtown complex. But it would be a shame to pass Bodega Santa Rita by without sampling its delicious grilled lamb skewers topped with foie gras, washed down with a smooth glass of rioja. Also delicious were the broiled scallops on the half shell, topped with a lovely tomato sauce.

Once diners walk through the door and pass the narrow hallway into the main dining room, they feel like they have been transported to Madrid or Barcelona, where the food is simple yet delicious, the wine is smooth and doesn’t stop flowing, and the atmosphere is always convivial. Spanish food is always best shared in the company of lots of great friends with plenty of great wine, as this is definitely the case at Bodega Santa Rita. Just be warned: you may need a siesta after your meal!

Open Tue–Sun for lunch (11am–3pm) and dinner(5:30–11pm, last order at 10pm)
9-7-5 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Tel: 03-5413-3101


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