Five minutes walking distance from the local theatre in Sant Gervasi sits a hidden gem of a sushi restaurant; colourful, vibrant, and full of flavor. If you ever get a chance to watch a movie at Balmes Multicines, one of the few cinemas in Barcelona that offer movies with original audio, you will find yourself wondering what to eat in the area.
After a thrilling night of watching the latest Bond film, No Time To Die, I decided to try a new asian infusion restaurant I found randomly on google maps. Normally I am a little weary of novelty sushi restaurants but the pictures looked delicious, reservations were hard to come by, and there were 187 reviews giving Nori Sushi & Cocktails 4.9 stars! With this much positive attention, I wondered to myself if this restaurant could live up to the hype.
Turn the quiet corner of Ballester street and your eyes will be drawn towards the scarlet neon signs emblazoned with the words, “No Sushi no Life”. That already touched me personally, because life is not worth living without ever trying the delicacy.
A small room that looks as if it can fill no more than 20 people, looked new and trendy like a retro disco in a noodle bar. The décor gave off a very warm and vibrant atmosphere, a little different from all the delicatessens we passed before arriving. You’ll see plants hanging from the ceiling, hear Cher playing in the background, and a busy team of chefs preparing plates behind the bar.
The place looked like a bonafide hotspot. Seeing the friendly staff and mounds of sushi, we decided to stay. There was only one problem, this place gets booked every weekend so you cannot just waltz in. As soon as we realized we could not wing it, we were in a panic trying to explore our options. Just as we were about to give up, one of our crew members spotted three open seats in front of the bar. Since we were only three people, we rejoiced at the prospect that a divine power was granting us permission to enjoy this night of eating.
One of the most attractive things about dining out at Nori Sushi is the menu, a diverse list of all the typical Japanese street foods and delicacies. However, one item that stood out to us was the ceviche. Although ceviche is not directly from Japan, I could understand why this item was on the menu. The method of preparation and flavoring is what makes it one of the best items.
There are a lot of restaurants that use frozen fish when it comes to making ceviche, so sometimes the texture can taste a little grainy. So when we ordered the ceviche, I was not expecting to be biting through fish with texture like butter. At that moment, I had to reevaluate what else I was going to order on this menu because I wanted to try everything!
Next up was the gyoza stuffed with fois gras and duck served on top of boudin, or apple sauce. As I was looking at the menu, I noticed there were a few different items containing fois gras so I decided to go with the most sensible one. Anyone who says gyozas taste the same anywhere you go are simply wrong.
In my last review of Takumi, I lamented how deep fried gyoza will never be as appealing as a pan seared one and this plate proved my point. Light and crispy with a little sweet touch from the apple. The dough was not chewy and the filling simply melted in your mouth. A good option for sharing with others to start the night.
Now here is the big draw of coming to Nori Sushi, the Instagram worthy presentation. After ordering the Toasted Eel maki and the Spicy Maguro (an uramaki made with spicy tuna, asparagus, and avocado). The waiter arrived with the sushi in one hand and a small porcelain pitcher in the other. I could only imagine what was about to unfold until I saw the waiter pour liquid into the wooden container. White smoke erupting like a volcano flowing effortlessly all over the sushi. From the contraptions at Somnia Bar to this, I am beginning to think this is the new standard of dining in Barcelona. What is a meal without a trick nowadays?
The dining experience did not end there, there were still two items on the menu that I was not leaving without trying: the yakisoba and the Soft Shell Crab Bao. I did not want my last experience of the ebi yaksoba from Takumi to linger so I was so happy see Nori's version came with fresh juicy shrimp of the day. This yakisoba was not too greasy and had a light sweet and tangy flavor. This is how I wanted my first yakisoba experience to be.
In addition to ordering yakisoba, I ended the night with the Soft Shell Crab Bao. I do not remember the last time I was able to eat real crab and here it was deep fried and sandwiched in between two charcoal bao buns. The batter used for the crab was again a nice light tempura, so there was no grease residue on the plates or my hands. Plus it was served with a pickled onion and spicy mayo. This was my dessert of the night.
After everything we ate at this restaurant, surprisingly we did not feel bloated nor regretful of our choices. The key word to describe in all these meals is “light”. That may sound shocking considering everything we ate was either seared, fried, or sautéed, but it is true; the food left us feeling satisfied and ready put in our next reservation.
I am not claiming this restaurant to be an authentic Japanese sushi bar, but that is the beauty of it. Nori Sushi & Cocktails is a fun and new eurasian fusion resto giving you all the different cultures in one bite.