Monday nights should probably be reserved for homemade dinners and catching up on episodes of Succession, but I just love going out with my single friends and indulging the city’s renewed nightlife scene. Since the restrictions in Barcelona have started to lift, I have been accepting any and all invitations for late night eats.
Since I made a pact this November to not drink one sip of alcohol after this past Halloween rager, I find myself looking at beer like the devil. Luckily my friends also made the same pact and thus, we found ourselves craving a drink in a different form. It was time to go on a ramen adventure.
I have never gone to Takumi, but it’s been on my radar after seeing so many of their locations around the city from the main avenue of Via Laietana to Carrer Balmes. I don’t know if they are all part of the same franchise, all I know is the font and décor are pretty much the same. Walls of old Japanese graphic cover art gleaming soft yellow hues to add to the novelty of feeling like you are in a trendy Japanese resto in the sixties. We decided to settle on the Takumi located in the neighborhood of Eixample on Aribau street.
Upon entering, the place was packed and bustling with servers running back and forth balancing trays of ramen bowls and little side dishes. Although the receptionist at the front told us we would be waiting for about 20 minutes for a table, we were lucky two tables were already paying so the wait was no more than five minutes. As soon as we sat down, we observed the cast of characters that came to eat that night. A table of cosplay girls in front of the bathroom donning pastel pink wigs and Harajuku inspired outfits. Tons of young British and American diners also looking for a place to chill out on a Monday night.
We chose this location mainly because they were serving yakisoba, something I have always wanted to try outside of the store-bought brands. A Japanese street food made with yellow fried noodles, stir fry vegetables, pork belly, and the famous yakisoba sauce. So many menu options between the ramen and yakisoba, it was hard to choose what to pair the ramen with or what side dish to start off with. While my friend decided to order the black garlic ramen with seasoned pork, I went for the yakisoba served with fried shrimp and a side of spicy gyoza.
It did not take long for our first order to arrive. Six pieces of deep fried gyoza drizzled with spicy mayo and teriyaki sauce, garnished with sliced spring onions. Although it was tasty, eating a whole fried gyoza takes away from the experience of enjoying the chewy skin of the dumpling. I prefer a slightly pan seared dumpling to a fully crispy one.
Next came the black garlic ramen, which actually had a light and tasty broth. Normally I enjoy a thick broth where I can really taste the miso. One ramen restaurant that does an excellent job of this is the KoKu Kitchen on Carrer d’en Carabassa. This broth is so well done that sometimes I ask for less noodles just so I can drink more broth. This garlic ramen was also loaded with different toppings, so there were all kinds of aromatic flavors in each bite.
Finally, I ended this eating adventure with my order of yakisoba and fried ebi shrimp. I was surprised that this dish also comes with a couple side dishes of a wakame or seaweed salad and miso soup, which broth had a hint of pineapple. I was not sure if it was intentional to have the broth tasting like pineapple or my imagination, but the flavor was nonetheless there. Since yakisoba is a traditional Japanese street food, all the key components of this dish were there. A bit on the greasier side, I could not complain because I finished everything in front of me and it satisfied my junk food craving.
I did not go into this meal with high expectations of authenticity, because I just wanted a place to wind down that was not a bar. The ambiance and energetic atmosphere of the people make Takumi a pleasant casual place to dine in on a Monday night. The service is fast and you are never waiting too long for a table. Would I return? Well, I came for the novelty and can say I had my experience, now I am ready for my next adventure.