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Best Sushi in Osaka?

San Francisco, CA
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Best Sushi in Osaka?

We are visiting Osaka for two nights, Saturday (9/30) and Sunday (10/1). We are huge sushi lovers and want to find the best sushi in the city. Any recommendations? Also, any recommendations on bars that are suitable for some hip 30somethings that want to get a good feel of the culture in Osaka? Many thanks!

Aoyama Dori and San...
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1. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

One bit of advice based on my observations. The "best sushi in the city" is going to cost you far more than you're probably accustomed to paying and it probably won't give you your money's worth, either. Unless your taste is extremely discerning for the quality of the best fish in the world, you're going to overpay for something that is really beyond any cost-benefit equation you can come up with. I can't recommend anyone paying US$400+ just for some very good fish unless someone else is paying for it.

The other thing that I've observed with foreigners eating sushi in Japan is that they sometimes complain about the small size of the riceball relative to the size of the piece of fish. It's not a hard and fast rule but most of the time the better the sushiya, the smaller the rice (and bigger the fish). If you're the type that enjoys sushi for the rice as much or more than the fish then you may be in for a surprise if you go to a high-end sushi shop in Japan.

I think you would be quite satisfied with a competent, middle-level sushi shop. Also, unlike sushi shops overseas, most decent shops in Japan have whatever is in season and that's about it. I think early October should be fine. You should ask the chef what's best at the time you're there. That's their job to go to the fish market and choose the best available and then serve it to their customers so they take pride in serving you whatever is best on that day.

Avoid the kaiten (conveyer belt) places (I've never seen floating boats in Japan) unless you're in a hurry, but then make sure you see chefs standing behind the bar hand-making the sushi (as opposed to machines that make it in the back) and only eat the freshest dishes that they just put out. There are plenty of decent kaiten places in Japan but you need to seek them out using a website like this one (Japanese only, sorry): http://www.e-value.ne.jp/kaiten_sushi/

Nara, Japan
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2. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

I’m not sure if this is the number one sushi restaurant in Osaka, but if there is “Osaka Nigiri” comparable to Tokyo’s “Edomae Nigiri (a general term used for the way they serve sushi in the Tokyo way),” this is it.

Name: Seitaro

http://www.seitarou.co.jp/annai.html (Japanese language only)

Location: Hozenji Yokocho (Osaka Minami)

In the following website, click on “Map” on the left-hand side below.

…osaka.jp/en/area_osaka/index_minami.html

Scroll down until you see Swissotel in the gray area below right. Hozenji Yokocho is just 2in above it, a bit right. If you use subway, get off at Namba and follow the signs / arrows indicating Exit14 in the underground passageway. There’s a narrow flight of stairs, and when you come of it, you’ll see the red awning to a ramen (noodle) house about 10yards away on your left. Walk to that walled-in ramen restaurant and turn right at the corner. About 60yards away, you’ll see a lot of people walking under Ebisubashi Shopping Arcade. If you cross that shopping arcade and walk 100yards more, you’ll come to this wooden signboard:

http://images.search.yahoo.co.jp/bin/query?p=%C2%E7%BA%E5+%CB%A1%C1%B1%BB%FB%B2%A3%C3%FA&n=5&b=11&c=image&rh=20&d=1&to=13

In here, there’s a cluster of restaurants and bars facing each other separated by an alley. Seitaro is on the left-hand side, about 30yards away from that signboard. Use your hotel concierge to contact them.

Phone: +81 66213 3174(for call from inside Osaka: 6213 3174)

Fax: +81 66213 6095(as above: 6213 6095)

Open between 4:00pm to 10:30pm (they have no fixed off-days).

Ordering “Omakase Nigiri,” or “Chef’s Choice(from Y8925 to Y?????),” may be a good idea.

There’s countless bars in Osaka Minami, but if you like to enjoy good ambience with a glass in your hand, listening to superb live jazz music, maybe you should like St. James. See:

http://www7.ocn.ne.jp/~st-james/insideview/inside.html

Location: Dotombori Street

(See the above map again so you’ll find a red line along the Dotombori River in pale blue)

If you go back to Eibisubashi Shopping Arcade, turn right and walk along it until you can see Ebisubashi Bridge. In here, if you look around, you’ll find this guy:

http://images.search.yahoo.co.jp/bin/query?p=%C6%BB%C6%DC%CB%D9+%BF%A9%A4%A4%C5%DD%A4%EC&n=4&b=0&c=image&rh=20&d=1&to=1

St. James is right opposite him. There’s a coffee shop and a see-through elevator adjacent to it. If you go in that elevator and press 4, and when the door opens, you’ll be right in front of the wooden door to St. James. Since it is closed mostly on Sundays, you’d like to visit on Saturday night.

phone : 6211 1139(for call from inside Osaka)

Enjoy the night in Osaka.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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3. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

Shot,

Seitaro looks like a decent place, looks like omakase starts at Y10500 plus alcohol. A decent meal and you can probably escape for under Y15000 I would suspect. I'm not sure about enjoying the place without some basic Japanese language skills, though.

One word about omakase. It is obviously the best way to enjoy a place but not entirely necessary. Just be prepared to pay a lot of money. When I go to my favorite place in Yokohama, we usually just sit down, nod to the chef and he starts putting stuff out for us that he thinks we'll like. The beer and sake starts flowing and the fish keeps getting better and better. To tell you the truth, I've been to this place more than 20 times but I've never seen a bill because my friend always picks up the tab since this place is a friend of his family's. I do have the menu and their prices are quite reasonable (being located out in suburban Yokohama away from the big city) but the fish here is grade A. It's always best to let the chef decide what to serve because he knows what's best on that day. I've never had any of the cooked fish dishes here, either, unless you count katsuo no tataki as cooked fish.

Nara, Japan
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4. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

In my guess, the highest-priced Omakase(Chef’s Choice) they offer barely comes down to Y13000. As omakase goes, that’s an eye-popping experience for an average sushi diner in Osaka, though. Those who pay more than 15K are, in my opinion, mostly sushi gourmets and they eat on a la carte basis at the counter, not at the table.

One thing to note is that alcohol beverages are relatively low in price, compared to sushi. Like you say, there’s a tacit understanding between “silent” regular customers and the chef that fish meat on the sushi starts from grade C’s to grade B’s to grade A’s and in some cases to extra grade A’s, price-wise. But they are all fresh, of course, regardless of the classification in price.

I’m not a gourmet, but as a guy having often visited the sushi restaurant (in Osaka Minami) run by one of my relatives, I think I know the proper order to eat sushi. Yes, those who sit at the counter and like to take their first bite at high-priced fatty fish meat like toro(tuna) or a super pricey abalone or a middle-priced ikura(salmon roe) are kind like amateurs. I’m not saying I’m professional, but local sushi lovers are in the habit of ordering low-priced, “light,” white meat for their first bite. I may be wrong but it’s like having soup / veggies first in the western dinner.

In my case, I often start with 1)squid 2)yellow tail 3)scallop, and (to not get all too fishy) proceed to 4)veggie tempura, and restart with 5)prawn 6)sea bream 7)fatty toro 8)fatty eel, and finish with 9) sweet egg roll to go nicely with 10)miso- soup or chawan-mushi. If I did that in a 5star hotel in Osaka / Kyoto, maybe I’d have to pay 25K to 28K. Yes, sushi restaurants in major hotels are just notorious for the price. As it is, eating at an out-of-the-place, yet decent, sushi restaurant in Osaka costs me one third as much.

Aoyama Dori and San...
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5. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

Shot,

Nice narrative of how it is. Thanks for that. The top places in Tokyo (usually in Ginza or Akasaka) can't post their price because it's based on market conditions. The places I've been to (expense account or someone else paying, BTW) were all understated and relatively small with mostly tatami room seating (obviously). I remember one place in Akasaka, the general manager told me to order whatever I wanted and to eat as much as I wanted because it's all a set price. He didn't say "all you can eat" as that would be making it sound like a low-tier joint. His secretary told me the price the next day (something like Y40000/person) but that included unlimited alcohol, too. I remember it well because in the next room was a cabinet minister and his party when we were there, along with the limousines parked outside and down the street. I'm not even sure if they paid the bill at that time or if it was on account because they all just walked out in a hurry when they were done.

Japan
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6. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

These have been some very graphic discussions of sushi. You two have made me so hungry!!

To add my two cents worth....I'd emphasize that you avoid kaiten sushi places. Sometimes they are fine, but you just won't find the kind of amazing food that is available elsewhere, and I have known people to come away from the conveyer belt shops saying they do not like sushi. That's too bad. You might ask at your hotel for suggestions, too.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

I am heading over to Osaka in August - did SandZ1 end up going to the Seitarou restaurant recommended by Shot?

I'd love to hear some feedback. I'd be keen to try this place out. Do they speak some english (enough to get by?).

Nara, Japan
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8. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

<I'd be keen to try this place out. Do they speak some english (enough to get by?).>

I just talked over the phone and a lady there at Seitaro answered, "We have a fairly good number of foreign guests coming, and as I see it, they point to the fish meat they like saying 'koh-reh, koh-reh,' (or 'this one, this one') so there's no problem on language. They do that most of the time, after eating up all the stuff in the osusume plate, it seems. Oh, no worries. You don't have to keep them company. We'll take a good care of them."

Yes, the lady never mentioned anyone being able to converse in English. I may be wrong, but naming names in English will get you nowhere... Like she says, sticking basically to the set menu called 'osusume(oh-su-su-meh)' and some additional pieces is the way to go, I think.

One piece of suggestion here:

We're going into summer, and when in summer, sushi / sashimi / hot pot lovers in Osaka and Kyoto love to eat the fish named "hamo(hah-mo)." Its white meat is an object of envy for every Osakawan / Kyotolite with distinctive palate. Not all sushi chefs are able to prepare hamo, it is said. (As I remember, there was a challenger from Kyoto beating Michiba, an Iron Chef, by doing just that. Um, that's the TV program I'm talking about.) Yep, Seitaro is known in Osaka for the way they do with hamo. If you like, go for it also.

Depends on the level of the addiction you have to sushi, but maybe you'll be within a Y8500 to Y10000 budget range for osusume only. Addtional items consumed on a la carte basis, you'll perhaps settle around 15K. The lady says, "Rarely seen one of them eat more than 20K's worth."

You can sit anywhere you like, be it at the counter, table, or in a tatami-mat room. But if you're adventurous and like to order on a a-la-carte basis, which sure ends up costing high, you may like to occupy part of the counter just like a local gourmet.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

Thanks, Shot! We'll be sure to try the hamo - if it's good enough for Michiba,it's good enough for us :). My husband and I are nuts for sushi so we'll be going to town here.We are very adventurous so we're happy to be guided by the chef.

We'll report back afterwards to let you all know how our experience went. We are very excited.

10. Re: Best Sushi in Osaka?

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