On the second floor of a building in the central Hiroshima business district, 3-minute walk from Chuden-mae Station on the Hiroshima Electric Railway, sits the only Michelin-star Spanish restaurant in the Chugoku and Shikoku region, L’Ermita. Only 10-minute walk from the South exit of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, its central location is convenient for business or sightseeing.
After the owner-chef Masaru Urakami graduated from university, he landed a company job. However, captivated by the world of cuisine, he left for Europe at age 25. He ended up spending his 20s and 30s in Italy, Spain, and France. He trained at a string of Michelin-star restaurants, including Els Tinars in Girona, Catalonia; Tragabuches in Málaga, Andalusia; Las Rejas in Cuenca, Castilla–La Mancha; Etxebarri in Biscay, Basque Country; and Martin Berasategui in Gipuzkoa, Basque Country.
Owner-chef Urakami explains, "My cooking style hasn't been shaped by just one restaurant or chef; it's the result of a mix of food cultures and an accumulation of experiences across Europe, where I've spent a third of my life. Catalonia cuisine, a subset of Mediterranean cuisine, has had a particularly strong influence on me, and forms the foundation of my cooking, but I also add my own unique twist."
Like Italian cuisine, Spanish cuisine varies significantly by region. Catalonia is surrounded by the ocean and mountains, and the region's sophisticated cuisine has been molded by French and Italian influences. Traditional dishes include mar y montaña ("ocean and mountains"), and the use of sweetness is a notable feature of Catalonian cooking. While his style is strongly rooted in Spanish traditions, owner-chef Urakami sources his ingredients from the Seto Inland Sea and adds a sprinkle of playfulness and creativity to his dishes.
Courses follow the current trend in Spanish cuisine of menú degustación de tapas—rather than carefully considering the order and combination of the dishes as in French cooking; each dish is its own discrete unit, and the course consist of a series of such dishes. A selection of wines—mainly Spanish and Portugese varieties—is on offer, including some delicious dessert wines.
The restaurant layout centers on the counter kitchen seating which allows diners to communicate with the chef. One of the fun things about L’Ermita is that you can enjoy conversation with the chef over the counter. It's a great place for anniversaries, with family or friends, or business dinners. Owner-chef Urakami speaks Spanish, as well as a little Italian and English, making this a great choice for travelers stopping in Hiroshima.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English, unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 3-minute walk from Chuden-mae Station (Hiroden Ujina Line, Route 1)