Meguro: Spanish
Kiraz (Meguro: Spanish)
Open 6:30-11pm. Closed Mondays.
Sun: Open Sundays
no smoking: No smoking

Kiraz is not only one of our favorite sake bars in Tokyo, it's also one of our favorite Spanish restaurants. It turns out that sake and Spanish food work surprisingly well together, and Kiraz's selection of bold, assertive sakes from small craft breweries around the country is particularly suited to the food.

Kiraz's kitchen is a bit more sophisticated than your typical Tokyo Spanish restaurant, although the dishes are still comfortably casual - charcuterie platters, tapas-style small dishes, grilled meats and paella. The menu is written on an overhead chalkboard and changes daily, but the assorted appetizer platter is a good bet to start with. Ours included an appetite-whetting lineup of stuffed mushrooms, Spanish omelette, anko-liver pate, marinated fish with carrot salad, and a couple of different cured meats.

Our grilled Iberico pork platter was well marbled and big enough to share, served with an appealing assortment of grilled root vegetables. Garlicky ajillo dishes have become a standard offering in Tokyo izakaya, but the ones here showcase top-quality seafood and other ingredients, and stand out from the crowd. (Be sure to ask for bread on the side though.)

Another highlight of the evening was an unusual assemblage of cream cheese, dried figs and smoked venison. It was listed on the starter menu but we had it for dessert, paired with a fruity and slightly cloudy nigori sake.

There's no sake list per se, but you can inspect the bottles in the refrigerator for yourself. The selection includes a lot of unfiltered, unpasteurized sake with fresh, lively flavors, many of them seasonal specials. Most of the breweries were unfamiliar to us, but the staff are more than happy to make suggestions after consulting with you (in Japanese) on your preferences.

You can order sake by the 90ml glass, or ask them to put together tasting flights for you. There are also prix-fixe menus and sake-pairing options that may be less daunting than navigating the hand-written chalkboard menu and sake fridge. Budget around Y7000 for food and drink; prix-fixe menus are priced Y3500-8000.

Meguro-ku, Mita 2-9-5.

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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended