Sometimes you just want a snack, a light bite, a nibble with a glass of something red or white. Nowhere has that figured out better than Spain, with its tapas culture. And nobody in Spain does it with more elan than the Basques, with their variation known as pinchos. That’s the kind they serve at Lizarran.
Or rather, you serve yourself. The colorful creations — fish, egg, vegetables and (of course) Spanish jamon ham, all held in place on slices of baguette bread with bamboo skewers — are arrayed in display cases. You just reach in and take whichever you like the look of, then carry it to your table, where the coffee, wine or beer you’ve ordered will already be waiting for you.
There’s also a menu of hot and cold tapas standards — deep-fried one-bite croquettes of jamon serrano ham; patatas (boiled potato) with a rather garlic-deficient alioli; gambas a la plancha (grilled shrimp) and more.
To go with this there is a reasonable selection of wines by the bottle (but only one red/white by the glass), as well as sherry. But beer is the best option, with three kinds of the excellent August craft beer on tap.
For early birds, Lizarran opens from 8 a.m. And if pinchos don’t appeal at that hour, there are churros or pain au chocolat to go with your cafe solo (espresso) or con leche (milk coffee).
3-2-6 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo; 03-5572-7303; www.lizarran.jp; open daily 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. (LO); pinchos from ¥220; major credit cards accepted; English menu; English spoken.
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