This is my gift to myself and to Barcelona, after over 25 years cooking together. I’ve shared the cleanness of Japanese techniques and she has given me the bustling splendour of her markets, where I’ve developed a deep knowledge of Mediterranean products.
Now it’s time to have fun, to enjoy being together, to give ourselves that treat we deserve.
Barcelona deserves an izakaya, like the ones I’ve always gone to in Tokyo. A bar where you can enjoy and share, amidst the revelry, smoke and shake, where my cooking becomes more fun and informal.
A place where agreeable chaos reigns, that effervescence so characteristic of this city, which years ago softened my Japanese stiffness, giving my cuisine just the right touch to make it shine.
And what could be better than sharing this new adventure with a good friend: Iñaki Lopez de Viñaspre, my Basque counterpart. Crazy about pureness, produce and his amona’s cooking, he also came to Barcelona 25 years ago with the challenge of raising awareness of another eating style and sharing roots cuisine: the cuisine of Euskadi.
IKOYA is the cry that lights up our souls: a shout of joy. Because after all this time, I’ve discovered that this is what makes me passionate
From my father, I learned the skill of identifying the very best raw materials; from my master Gunji, extreme attention to detail, exactitude and the meticulousness that is traditional in Japan, the cradle of delicacy; to pour my whole heart and soul into everything I do in order to master the technique in its highest expression, and the greatness of being able to then adapt it to any produce.
Ikoya is a place where the sensational produce from our markets meets the purity of Japanese technique. All infused with the charm of cooking over coals, as reliable as they are unpredictable.
A portal into the atmosphere of Tokyo’s taverns, through a painstakingly chosen selection of sashimi, nigiri, ramen, hosomaki and uramaki, meat and fish dishes, and of course, robata. All harmoniously paired with a generous pour of artisan sake.
A place devoted to stimulating all the senses, which are activated through umami, discovering a unique taste, unequalled, almost magical. An experience that will linger like an old love in our memories.
My favourite thing to do when I was little was to go to the market with my father. The shiny skin of the fish, their bright eyes, healthy scales, smooth meat… they were like little puzzles to solve, to find the best one among hundreds.
It is no coincidence, then, that Ikoya looks right at the Santa Catarina market. Even now, I still spend hours and hours at the market, honing my instincts. Because talent is worthless without hard work and dedication.
At the restaurant, from the large central bar, we pay tribute to the cult of robata, in a lively kitchen that makes diners part of the art of seeking out the best flavour, the subtle aromas.
Txema Retana was responsible for recreating an old-fashioned Kyoto izakaya, with strength, boldness and, most importantly, an urban ‘soul’: hardwood, iron and fabrics that express the fire and aromas wafting out of the central open kitchen or at the sake bar that welcomes you into Ikoya.
With a menu designed for sharing, perfect for enjoying my refined cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere where joy and revelry reign.