Upon my visit to Osaka, Japan, I’ve discovered this really great website, http://www.tabelog.com, where it’s like Urbanspoon or ChowHound, only everything is written in Japanese. Nothing to worry about, as a picture says a thousand words. With the site’s help, I discovered this little hidden sushi joint さか卯 somewhere inside Umeda. Thanks to Osaka’s not so confusing subway system (well in comparison to Tokyo anyways) and the greatest development of human-kind, Google-maps, I was able to find my way to the restaurant without too much hassle. (Update 2016 – Tabelog is now available in multiple languages!)

The Omakese (chef’s choice) lunch is $4,000 yen, roughly equal to $40 CAD. I would not consider it cheap, but with the quality of the food and service, I would definitely say it’s worth a try. One of the chef could speak a little bit of English. Knowing that we don’t speak a word of Japanese, he actually took out a book to show us what sushi was being served to us on each course. That is what I consider benchmark service, in which all restaurants should learn from.

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I am a huge tofu fan, and this is probably the best piece of tofu I’ve ever had. It’s not only smooth, but kind of chewy. Hard for me to describe, but just trust me when I say it is good. On top is a dollop of mustard.

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A small flask of Ginjo sake to accompany to meal.

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Tai (sea bream) ~ A piece of orange and some sea salt were given to us. For certain fish with more delicate flavours (such as this), a spritz of orange juice and salt is preferable over soy sauce.

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Maguro (tuna)

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Ika (squid) ~ The liquid was from the freshly squeezed orange juice.

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Aji (horse mackerel)

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Ebi (shrimp)

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Hotatekai (scallop)

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Saba (mackerel)

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Hirame (halibut)

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Tako (octopus)

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The miso soup served to us was deliciously hot and concentrated.

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Anago (eel) ~ Very soft and juicy piece of fish.

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Maguro roll (tuna roll) ~ The seaweed used to wrap the roll was extremely fresh and crunchy.

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Tamago (egg)

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After the meal, I wasn’t stuffed, but comfortably full. This is probably also because none of the fish served to us were extra oily or fatty. Just the right portion for lunch, but for dinner, probably something more substantial needs to be served. All in all a very good authentic dining experience at a local Japanese restaurant, not a tourist trap.

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Most recommended: Although all of the fish served to us were fresh, I particulary enjoyed aji, saba, and hirame.

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Suggestions for improvements:

1. Perhaps serve a soba or udon at the end of the meal as the omakase wasn’t quite filling. I tend not to eat a lot at lunch so if I felt it was just right, others may be hungry afterwards.

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