Top quality sushi, an Edo atmosphere, and era-appropriate clothing to boot – welcome to a perfect night of dining in Tokyo.
When you walk into the new Itamae Sushi Edo restaurant in Akasaka, the first thing you see is a wooden sushi stand that looks as though it had been plucked straight out of the Edo period – except the sushi pieces displayed on the cart are sampuru (samples), and you’ll likely end up posing with them for Instagram rather than heading off home with your takeaway box, as the customers of years gone by presumably did.
Of course, posing is all part of the fun and, when we visited, a sizable portion of our evening was spent trying on colorful yukata and pulling faces with plastic prawns. As you do.
Things get even more impressive when you turn the corner and step into the main restaurant area. With the aim of completely immersing diners in an Edo atmosphere, the restaurant interior is modeled after sajiki-seki box seating in a Kabuki theater, and decked out in traditional decor such as Japanese panel screens, ukiyo-e paintings, lanterns, and rolls of kimono fabric turned into 3D wallpaper. To get into the spirit, guests are invited to wear yukata while they dine.
Elevated booths are positioned at different heights, with stairs in between leading down to the main attraction: an “Edo food stand” where chefs prepare food as a kind of live performance. As though they were at a bite-sized version of the Tsukiji fish market, guests can choose the fish they’d like as well as the preferred preparation method – nigiri, sashimi, or more.
Itamae Sushi is known for serving top quality fish – and they take pride in having won the opening auction at Tsukiji for four years straight. They already have around 60 restaurants in Japan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, and Indonesia, and this latest opening in Akasaka looks to be another step towards Itamae’s goal – to spread sushi culture around the globe.
There’s also a brand-new menu to be tasted, and it’s full of originality – be sure to try the “sushi tower,” which extends upwards like a spiral staircase of wooden sake cups, with sushi placed like works of art on each level. Here are a few more dishes to look forward to…
Official opening on October 27. Map and contact details here.