I know I’ve been living here a while but I can remember a time when sushi restaurants were a rare sight in Girona. Anything new or different food wise would make the local grapevine twitch.
Fast forward to today and sushi establishments seem to be springing up on every street corner. Have the locals suddenly changed their taste buds and adopted this Asian cuisine? They certainly seem to be lapping it up as most look busy with clientele.
Surely we’ve reached the sushi-saturation point, maybe not quite yet. I’d always thought about the large number of opticians, dental clinics and shoe shops in Girona. Do Gironians suffer from poor eyesight, bad teeth and poor footwear?
On and on new sushi cafes and restaurants keep appearing. Many in what were once previous food premises but revamped and restyled. Luckily we’re a family that loves sushi so the more the merrier. It’s fun to try out new places, and the ‘buffet libre’ is our personal choice. It’s basically what they call ‘all you can eat’.
As a quick recap or guide, the cheapest deal is to eat during weekdays at lunchtime where you’re offered a set menu which in my experience is sufficient. The all-you-can-eat option is a few euros more. The same option at night, weekends and festival days is the most expensive. The average is around 16-17€ and often excludes drinks.
So it was that we ventured out to try Koyo, a small chain with several restaurants, in premises which had been a Chinese restaurant before. The one thing I remember about the old place was how large the interior was, and how unwelcoming it all looked with bright lights. It made me think of school canteens.
In its new reborn form the interior, though still large, has been thoughtfully redesigned avoiding that cavernous look. Together with the extensive use of wood panelling and softer lighting, it’s a big improvement.
Being so big it’s swarming with staff and the workmanlike greeting was unremarkable and slightly off putting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not after the kind of enthused smiley greeting you’d find in the US, something in between.
Our table for four was fine and maybe because of covid overhang rules, sufficiently spaced apart. We went for the buffet libre at 16.50€ each, excluding drinks and desserts. The menu is in the form of a picture book, and you’re given a paper and pen to write down all your chosen dish numbers.
The place quickly filled up as it was the evening of a national holiday. The beauty of the buffet libre is that by using the pen and paper you can reorder stuff-as often as you want. But, being so full it was getting progressively harder to grab a waiter’s attention to hand him/her the paper.
There was also a tardy approach to collecting the stacks of small plates that this kind of eating generates. More napkins too were needed which we asked for but none arrived.
The food was good-when it arrived, but the wait time when reordering was becoming painfully slower. I’m sure they missed out on some items too. Our drinks seemed to arrive quicker though.
Verdict: A good place to retry, but on a less busier night or for lunch. As for the level of service-could try a bit harder.
Cost: With 2 Asahi beers, 2 soft drinks, 2 bottles of white Penedes wine (11.95€ ea.), no desserts, it all came to 103€.
Koyo, Restaurant Japones, Joaquim Vayreda, 4-6, Girona 17001