Updated: October 18, 2019
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5 Mostly Unknown Tokyo Sushi Bars With Incredibly Delicious Sushi


In Tokyo, the most famous restaurants are usually booked for months and incredibly expensive, but going into an unknown restaurant is unsettling. Don't worry! The sushi counters in this article all serve sushi delicious enough to merit fame, yet are still mostly unknown to tourists. Enjoy!

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Sushi Tei Den (Ebisu Station)

Sushi-Tei Den is a newly opened high-end sushi counter in Ebisu, Tokyo. The restaurant serves sushi and tsumami that utilize premium seasonal ingredients prepared in a way that brings out maximum flavor and umami. The head chef, Tanaka Wataru, is a seasoned veteran in the sushi world, and has many years of experience working at high-end sushi restaurants in Ginza and Roppongi, including a Michelin star-rated restaurant. He is now in not only in charge of 'Sushi-Tei Den,' but also of teaching a cohort of young, aspiring chefs who are training at the 'Ebisu Academy,' of which 'Sushi-Tei Den' is one of training grounds.

The restaurant has one 9-seat sushi counter, and another smaller, 6-seat counter that can be reserved for a private sushi counter meal. If you have a party of 6 or fewer people, this is an incredible way to experience a high-end sushi dinner in a very intimate setting.
The menu at 'Den' consists of one omakase course, which means that everything is left up to the masterful chef. For ¥15,000, the course includes 14 pieces of sushi and 8 side dishes and is a luxurious and thoroughly satisfying meal that is a joy to experience.

Shigeru (Akebonobashi Station)

Shigeru is a small restaurant with just 7 seats at a counter. The atmosphere is more laid-back than at a fancier sushi restaurant, and the pace that the sushi is served is slower than other restaurants. This makes for a pleasant and relaxed experience that is refreshing.
The omakase sushi course at Shigeru is just ¥6,500! The course includes 4 or 5 mouth watering tsumami dishes such as sashimi, steamed sushi (see picture below), and charred smelt. These are followed by 7 nigiri sushi pieces that are all phenomenal. One of the stand-outs has to be the torotaku (fatty tuna with pickled daikon), shown below. The umami will blow your taste buds away. The meal is finished off with a sweet tamagoyaki (egg), as is traditional. Until 9:00pm, diners are limited to the items on the course, but after 9:00, until the shop closes at 1:00am, guests are free to order additional items and relax while drinking lots of nihonshu (this place has GREAT sake)!

Takagaki no Sushi (Suitengumae Station)

Takagaki no Sushi is a newcomer to the Tokyo sushi scene, offering incredibly fresh, impeccable sushi served in a cozy and intimate setting (an old building from the Taisho era with just 6 counter seats). It's still unknown among tourists, but that's likely to change very soon!

This is a high-end sushi restaurant serving some of the most delicious sushi money can buy and as such, it is a bit on the pricier end. A meal at lunchtime will cost around ¥10,000, and it will be twice that at dinner time. The price is still not as high as the most famous sushi restaurants in Tokyo, but the quality is very similar. It's definitely worth the money for anyone looking for a high-end sushi meal.

Shimbashi Shimizu (Shimbashi Station)

Shimizu is a favorite spot of locals who know what really good sushi is. For about 1/2 the price of the most famous sushi places in Tokyo, this restaurant serves sushi of arguably equal quality (some would say even better). If you're looking for a really local spot that isn't impossible to get a reservation at, this is it!
Kunuhiro Shimizu, the chef at Shimbashi Shimizu seems to be truly passionate about making the best possible sushi for his customers, without getting caught up in the quest for fame or glory. He even turned down the opportunity to gain Michelin stars for his restaurant, because he wants to focus on delivering an outstanding product and service to his customers.

An omakase course here will only cost around ¥10,000, which is unheard of for sushi of this caliber.
Important note: non-Japanese-speaking guests need to be accompanied by a Japanese speaker, and the reservation needs to be placed on the phone in Japanese.

Sushi Kuriyagawa (Ebisu Station)

Sushi Kuriyagawa is a high-end sushi bar in Ebisu, located at approximately a 10-minute walk from the Ebisu Station. Mostly frequented by locals, it's a bit hard to find since it's on a basement floor. The lantern pictured below indicates the name of the establishment in Japanese (鮨くりや川).
Chef Kuriyagawa's philosophy is to mix novelty with tradition. He uses red rice vinegar for instance, which is the traditional way to make 'shari' (rice of sushi) for Edomae sushi, but on the other hand, he also uses unorthodox 'neta' (sushi toppings) such as salmon and avocado. Another thing the chef is known for is his original side dishes. If you have an omakase (leave it to the chef) course it will include many of them. People say that they enjoy these just as much as his sushi.

This restaurant is pricey, but it's definitely an unforgettable experience. Lunch is between ¥6,000~¥7,999, and dinner is between ¥15,000~¥20,000.
Didn't find what you're looking for? Check out our other Tokyo sushi articles:

Restaurants Mentioned in this Article

    I live in west Tokyo and spend most of my time thinking about food or going bouldering.

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