For those who want to try authentic sushi hand-formed by a sushi artisan, here is a list of 10 recommended restaurants made by Japanese diners. This list includes everything from high-class restaurants with Michelin stars to more casual spots, so keep reading to find out more!
The young head chef at Hoshiyama, who studied at a famous sushi restaurant in Kyoto, caused a stir when he earned a Michelin star at his own restaurant just one year after opening. The amount of time he spends earnestly preparing the sushi toppings, with no compromises when it comes to quality, amounts to double the amount of time the shop is open, and he brings out the delicate flavors of each ingredient. Rather than creative cuisine, this shop focuses on delivering simple sushi with the utmost harmony between the neta (toppings) and the shari (sushi rice). There are two time slots for reservations (from 6:00 pm and from 8:30 pm), and there are two courses offered: one for 15,000 JPY (excl. tax), and one for 18,000 yen (excl. tax).
This is another sushi restaurant that has earned a Michelin star. From the counter seats, you can watch the chef’s unique technique for hand-forming the sushi, making circular movements with his palms. The sushi toppings are kept at the ideal temperatures and humidity levels via ice blocks placed inside a wooden freezer. The recommended items here are the tai (sea bream) and hirame (flounder) that are matured overnight. There are two time slots for reservations (from 6:00 pm and from 8:30 pm), and there is only one course offered - the Omakase (Chef’s Choice) Course (20,000 JPY (excl. tax)).
At this restaurant which received two stars from the Michelin Guide, you can enjoy the flavors created by a chef with insatiable curiosity. The menu consists only of an Omakase Course for 16,200 JPY (incl. tax). The course consists of “tsumami” - side dishes that pair domestically-procured ingredients with alcohol; “wan-mono” - seasonal seafood dishes served in bowls; and sushi that brings out the best flavor of each individual topping. You can enjoy supreme bliss in the understated restaurant interior, which leaves out all unnecessary distractions in order to best let the customers enjoy sushi, alcohol, and conversation.
This restaurant collaborates with Michelin-starred restaurants from France and other countries, giving it an international perspective. Here, customers can enjoy sushi made by a self-taught chef that is both simple and creative. All the nigiri are delicious, such as the Sweet Shrimp Carpaccio (pictured) - a masterful dish with a sweetness that seems to stick to your tongue. The menu consists of only an Omakase Course from 20,000 JPY (excl. tax). With it, you will able to enjoy a course meal full of surprises prepared by a head chef with all his might.
This Michelin-starred restaurant has a hideaway atmosphere, as it is quietly located in a back alley near Kyobashi and is marked only by a small sign that could be easy to pass by without noticing. Unlike the restaurants previously introduced, this restaurant serves sushi one piece at a time for market price. As soon as you take a bite, the fluffy rice will seem to dissolve and become one with the topping, creating a magnificent flavor experience. The Omakase Course (12,500 JPY (excl. tax) and up), which uses plenty of seasonal ingredients, is recommended for those who wish to enjoy sushi along with alcohol.
This restaurant is managed by a sushi chef who graduated from a three-month sushi program, and earned a Michelin star after being open for just 11 months. This is exceptionally rare in a world where it is said that ten years of study are required in order to become a fully-fledged sushi chef. The sushi consists of delicately-prepared toppings served gently on top of shari that is still slightly warm after being cooked. The menu is comprised only of course sets, and includes the Lunch Course (2,800 JPY (excl. tax)), and two Dinner Courses (3,500 JPY (excl. tax), 7,000 JPY (excl. tax)), so you can enjoy reasonably-priced but first-rate sushi.
This long-established sushi restaurant that opened 50 years ago will greet you with an enthusiastic “Irasshai!” (Welcome!) as you enter. They offer sushi made with fresh ingredients for reasonable prices, starting at 450 JPY (excl. tax) for an order of three pieces. There are tables, but the counter seats are the most recommended, as they allow customers to best enjoy the atmosphere of the shop. Sushi Tomi also handles take-away orders (extra charge of 60 JPY per take-away box per person), either in person or by phone. However, note that reservations cannot be made by phone.
8. Sushimasa Nakamise
This is the place to go for sushi that is affordable and yet delicious! The authentic sushi hand-formed by a sushi chef at the counter is sold for as little as 100 JPY (excl. tax) for two pieces, and higher quality toppings like toro (fatty tuna) are still shockingly cheap at just 400 JPY (excl. tax)! There are six price levels for the dishes, which were determined by the discretion of the owner to ensure that diners can eat without having to worry about the cost. Everything is so fresh and delicious, you won’t believe that it’s so affordable! While it is a working class restaurant that is loved by the locals, you will be glad to know there is an English menu and staff who speak English.
This is a chic restaurant with a modern Japanese style that was just opened in October, 2018. They are most proud of their sushi made with fresh seafood from the city Kanazawa in the Hokuriku region, but they also serve a variety of other high-quality Japanese dishes. The one thing you have to try is the Kanazawa Nikuzushi (1,500 JPY for 3 pieces), made with highest quality A5-ranked Yomezawa beef, one of the best three brands of Wagyu (a type of high-quality beef) in Japan. The beef has unparalleled umami (Japanese savory taste), and just melts in your mouth due to the well-marbled fat content. You will also be impressed if you order the Kiwami Course (5,980 JPY (incl.tax)).
10. WAKASA SUSHI
This is a place where even those who are dining alone can enjoy sushi and alcohol in a carefree manner. The sushi menu is fairly priced, and includes reasonably-priced toppings for 100 JPY (excl. tax) for one piece and luxury items such as Fatty Tuna (600 JPY (excl. tax) per piece). There are also a large variety of side dishes available to enjoy with some alcohol, such as the Sake Steamed Clams (780 JPY (excl. tax)), which is so delicious you will even want to drink the broth when you are done eating. This is also a good spot for lunch, as they open from 11:00 am.
This article introduced restaurants that serve delicious sushi made by passionate chefs. You really can't go wrong with any of these restaurants, as they were recommended by Japanese customers! Please give them a try!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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