By
Carlos Martín-Peñasco

Borja Gracia, a young Spaniard, spent a long while in Japan working. There he discovered the popular izakayas: traditional taverns where the Japanese go to drink and eat after work. Using the name of famous ninja Hattori Hanzo, Borja has opened a bar in the centre of Madrid to show us there is more to Japanese food than sushi.

On entering Hattori Hanzo there is an exact replica of an Osaka sewer, cobbled floors, red paper lanterns and tatami floors

These jabbering, relaxed bars represent the least-known face of a society we associate to formality and demure. Hattori Hanzo is the first izakaya in Spain, following the example of other izakayas in London, Toronto or New York, which are visited by Japanese expats, which is a good sign. And the same happens in Hattori Hanzo. Gracia and his team wanted it to be authentic. They have scrupulously repected the kind of furniture used in azakayas, which they have imported from Japan. On entering Hattori Hanzo there is an exact replica of an Osaka sewer, cobbled floors, red paper lanterns and tatami floors to enjoy the delights of Japanese street food. Many of us know that Borja and his family will not settle will want more and that Hattori Hanzo will be the beginning of many more surprises linked to Japanese cuisine and idiosyncrasy.

These jabbering, relaxed bars represent the least-known face of a society we associate to formality and demure


As for the food, almost all their suppliers and cooks are locals, with the guidance of experts chefs Miyuki Midorikawa and Go Mayima. Another example of Borja’s commitment to be as loyal to the real thing as possible is the fact that he had to hire a real Japanese baker to make the bread because he couldn’t find the right supplier for his akazaya. As starters we recommend bacon kakuniman, the tasty kushiyaki (beef skewers) and takiyaki or octopus balls. Also spectacular are the ebimayo, the tempura prawns and the chicken karaage. Don’t leave without having the famous konomiyakis, very typical in cities like Osaka. Some describe them as the Japanese tortilla, others prefer to call it pizzas. In our opinion, neither of them makes konomiyakis justice and that you one has to try it to really have an idea of what it is.


And what to drink? You are in a typical Japanese bar, so we recommend you to order Japanese beers in exquisite bamboo drums.