Food & Drink | TOKYO FOOD FILE

La Coquina: Spanish beer, wine and bar food, with no plastic straws

by Robbie Swinnerton

Contributing Writer

The vertiginous open-air viewing platform atop the new Shibuya Scramble Square building may be the area’s latest and tallest attraction. But the restaurant floors immediately below are also drawing long lines. What if you don’t want to wait? Try your luck at La Coquina.

There’s a catch, of course: you may have to stand at the bar, at least initially. But this cheerful, casual Spanish cerveceria (beer tavern) also boasts plenty of comfy chairs, many with spectacular cityscape vistas, so you’re likely to be seated before your legs give out.

La Coquina stocks a lot more wine than it does beer — close to 100 bottles, a third of which sell for under ¥3,000. But what makes it really worth your time is that that it has done its homework on the food menu.

Besides the usual jamon (ham), Spanish omelette and tapas, you’ll also find less common dishes such as lubina (Basque-style grilled sea bass); caldo gallego, warming Galician soup made with bacon, sausage, white beans and hearty greens; and even zorsa (sauteed Iberico pork).

The paella is worthy, cooked with adequate socarrat (crispy bottom rice). Better yet, La Coquina proudly proclaims it uses no MSG, trans fats or plastic straws. Bravo all around.

Lunch set menu (till 3 p.m.) from ¥1,000; dinner a la carte; English menu; some English spoken