Tokyo Table Trip

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The king of Tokyo’s winter gourmet list is of course, Pacific bluefin tuna. Tuna in December with its fatty goodness is so delicious that it will render you speechless.In winter, sushi restaurants (chefs) from across Tokyo pace around Tsukiji in the wee hours of the morning with their eyes shining, in search of the best tuna.

Of course, the tuna that is in season is also the most expensive. Apparently one piece of sushi that uses the belly part near the head of the tuna, said to be the most delicious part of the bluefin tuna, can go up to about 4,000-5,000 yen. “The more you make sushi using tuna in season, the more you lose.” Mr Jiro Ono of Sukiyabashi Jiro had once said.
I will introduce here a few great sushi restaurants that will allow you to enjoy luxuriously, the precious and expensive bluefin tuna of the best quality. You should definitely visit these 6 restaurants in December if you want to taste the essence of Tokyo’s gourmet scene!

1. Kiyota

The perfect Otoro. #palatism_kiyota

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Kiyota, a sushi restaurant with honourable origins, inheriting the glamorous bloodline of the second generation head of the Niitsu family who even had the honour of making sushi for the Emperor of Japan himself, and was the apprentice of Mr Fujimoto, who is nicknamed the “Emperor” of sushi even after his death until now. The current master is in charge of the counter, and even though the style of the sushi has changed a little, the tradition of using the best tuna in Tsukiji is still going strong, and apparently this restaurant buys the best catch of tuna from one of the leading tuna dealers in Tsukiji, Ishiji.

There is a wide selection of parts served, and depending on the day’s stock, diners can enjoy just the otoro, or even try three different parts; the bottom belly, back cheek and back fin. The price is also one of the most expensive in Japan, of course, and dinner for 1 person might cost up to 50,000 yen…… But if you’re a foodie, you will definitely not regret coming here to eat.

2. Sawada

Maguro at Sawada is superb quality. #sawada #sushi #japan

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Sawada, known for its dedication to serving the best quality fish in Japan. It is said that Sawada buys all the best fish in Tsukiji, and tuna is not an exception either. With marinated tuna, chutoro, shimofuri (marbled tuna), bottom belly, and aburi otoro, You can enjoy the best tuna to your heart’s content in winter at Sawada. The toro in all its fatty goodness and the vinegared rice of Sawada with its strong kick of salt and vinegar are a match made in heaven, and you definitely don’t want to miss going to the best of the best of all sushi restaurants in winter.

3. Sushi Saito

中トロ Medium fatty tuna (August, 2016) #sushisaito

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Sushi Saito, standing high above all sushi restaurants in Japan. The tuna served here is of course, flawless. The tuna, which is supplied by Yamayuki, a famous tuna dealer on par with Ishiji, has top-notch belly meat. Above all, the sushi made by Mr Saito is as beautiful as art.

4. Tokami

Chu toro (中トロ) #katiekeikot_tokami #katiekeikot_sushi #katiekeikot_tokyo

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Sushi Tokami, which you cannot leave out when talking about sushi restaurants to enjoy premium tuna. This is also, not surprisingly, a restaurant run by the famous tuna dealer Yamayuki. The unique sour vinegared rice, specially made to go well together with the tuna, has many foodie fans from both Japan and overseas. For those who want to enjoy good quality tuna at reasonable prices, I would definitely recommend the lunch course here at Tokami going for 12,000 yen.

5. Sushitsu

Otoro #katiekeikot_sushitsu #katiekeikot_tokyo #katiekeikot_sushi #katiekeikot_sony

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My recommendation for something a little out of the ordinary would be this restaurant. With the chef, who calls himself a sushi freak, carrying out research on fish at the University of Marine Science and Technology, this restaurant serves a rare otoro (that can only be eaten here) aged for 2 weeks, and later cut with a knife over 50 times to cut all of the fibres in the fish. The unique feeling of the fish melting in your mouth without even chewing, will definitely mesmerize anyone.

6. Hatsunezushi

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Last but not least is Hatsunezushi, which has many fans in Japan and overseas. Many people might have seen the photo of the owner, Mr Nakaji, hold up a huge block of tuna proudly with a label from the tuna dealer Ishiji somewhere on social media. Briefly called the “Nakaji Theater”, this restaurant stands out for its style of showcasing the cutting of the fish and preparation process in front of the diners, which allows them to enjoy the tuna with their eyes and ears. The highlight is the tekka maki, with pieces of lean tuna, chutoro and otoro all rolled up into one. When you stuff it in your mouth, you will taste a delightful gem with the umami flavor of the tuna exploding in your mouth.

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Hmm…I did say 6 best restaurants, but I still want to add Ginza’s Sushi Arai to the list.
Despite being a new establishment that opened slightly over a year ago, the master has an extraordinary passion for tuna, and the tuna served here is also of top quality in Japan. This is a place I definitely have to include in my list of recommended sushi restaurants to visit in winter.

about 4 years ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

The number one delicacy of the winter, bluefin tuna. Here, we introduce the sushi restaurants where you can taste tuna of the only the highest quality in all of Japan.

about 4 years ago

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