Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan 大和

Posted by on Apr 26, 2012

To conclude our morning at Tsukiji Fish Market’s tuna auction, we dodges past vendors that sped on trolleys loaded with boxes  and bee-lined towards the restaurant section of the market.

Packed within a small block lines rows of small, traditional Japanese restaurants.  They sure take advantage of their location. The only way the fish and seafood could get any fresher than being next to Tsukiji is if they were on a boat. Of course, some restaurants are still better than others and it’s quickly apparent which are the most popular.

I was wary of the airy, empty restaurants that were covered with photos of food.  On the other hand, the length of some line ups blew our minds; on one corner, there was even a bouncer keeping the seemingly endless queue at bay. Well, a very slim, friendly “bouncer” wearing gloves and holding a sign but you get the point.

store front line up at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Daiwa's store front

We, on the other hand, set our eyes on the prize. We headed straight to building 6 to Daiwa Sushi (大和) and claimed our spots in the line up. It was about 6:30 AM and we waited for about 20 minutes, which seemed reasonable.

sushi counter  at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

sushi counter and chefs

The counter-only seating in the tiny space was very tight. There was barely any elbow room, let alone for our clunky camera bags. There were, to my estimation, 12 to 16 seats and four chefs behind the counter.  The atmosphere felt intimate and lively.

One could order à la carte but I suggest going for the set menu, which included seven pieces of nigiri, 6 pieces of maki, miso soup, and tea for ¥3500.  In our case, after we engulfed each supremely fresh and expertly formed piece of heaven, we ordered more from the fresh sheet.  At one point, we just had to cut ourselves off because our bill mounted far too quickly.

Allow your eyes to feast on photos of our spectacular meal.

Ikura and maguro maki at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Ikura (salmon roe) and maguro (tuna) maki. The oiliest, most intensely umami laden Ikura I've ever had. It was a revelation of what it's intended to taste like.

Uni sea urchin and toro nigiri  at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Uni (sea urchin) nigiri. There really are no words here. Freshness does not lie. The creamy, briny, and foie grasesque roe was utterly beautiful.

Uni sea urchin nigiri at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Naturally, I ordered another piece.

Toro fatty tuna and uni nigiri at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Toro (fatty tuna) nigiri. It was remarkably buttery and savoury, highlight with the perfect amount of wasabi. You can see how impeccable the rice granules were here.

Toro fatty tuna nigiri at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

I did not want to swallow.

Tai red snapper nigiri at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Tai (red snapper) nigiri. To be honest, this was overshadowed by the its more prominent counterparts. Still excellent, of course, but not the most memorable.

Tamago yaki egg at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Tamago yaki (egg). I've always avoided squishy, overly sweet tamago yaki. This was certainly not the case, as you can see in the pronounced pockets that aerated the egg. Nice palate cleanser.

saba mackerel nigiri at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Saba (mackerel) nigiri. Not to rave on and on but this was one of the best piece of saba I've ever had. Saba has a distinctive oily fishiness, which I love. In this case, the fishy nature was even more intense but it had a bright cleanness to it. Beautifully springy texture as well.

We were fortunate to be served by Daiwa’s master sushi chef.  He timed each piece to our pace and made small talk with us.  He was amused by our attempts to speak Japanese, namely repeatedly saying “Oishi” and grinning like idiots.

sushi master chef at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Daiwa's master sushi chef at work

There were a couple more pieces of nigiri that we devoured before they could shoot them.  For one, the fish was just too tempting and we we didn’t want to waste a moment of consumption.  Secondly, we knew they were trying to turn the seats around quickly, as the line up was growing longer.

When we were thoroughly satiated and were smiling from ear to ear, we settled the bill. (¥9000, it wasn’t cheap!)  We were led through the kitchen to the back exit and said a final goodbye to easily one of the best and most memorable meals in Tokyo.

Sushi master at Daiwa Sushi Restaurant at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo Japan by Melody Fury Photography. Food, Drink, Restaurant Photographer and Writer in Vancouver BC and Austin TX

Sushi master over the counter.

Daiwa Sushi

Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji Bldg 6
Near Tsukijishijō station
Breakfast/ lunch on Monday to Saturday

Read more about our honeymoon in Asia.

 

 

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  • http://linda.curious-notions.net Linda

    My mouth watered on sight of the toro. 

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    I would bring you (or myself) some if I could.

  • Jarek

    I went here when I was in Tokyo two years ago. Still my favourite sushi meal of all time. Your photos and writing just transported me back into one of those seats. Thanks!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Thank you so much. I’m aching to go back again.

  • jenjenk

    I love Daiwa!! 

    When i was there my first time, the longest line was 2 1/2 hours for Sushi Dai [right next door] – not nearly worth it!!  The only difference that I could tell between the 2 is that Daiwa had 2 sushi bars side by side and Sushi Dai just had the one. 

    My happiest point was when my 10 year old McDonald lovin’ nephew said that his best meal on the trip was Daiwa. :)

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Oh, that’s brilliant! Don’t you love it when kids’ palates just make a turning point? That’s one lucky nephew and you’re a great aunt for taking a chance on him :)

  • Nicolb

    Can you share the uni? Mm.. Talk about reminiscent!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    NO SHARING

  • http://twitter.com/BeauCharles Weston

    Saba!!!!  that’s what id eat all the time!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    This piece was exceptionally stunning. You’d love Japan, Wes.

  • Ed Lau

    Love reading other people’s experiences at Tsukiji. I went to Sushi Dai rather than Daiwa. Considerably longer line (2 hours at about 8am.) but I got a bit more (11 pieces + maki roll and miso soup) for the same price. One of my favorite meals of my lifetime. So good that I went twice…complete with lineup.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Wow, you’re one persistent diner! We were thinking about going back the morning before our flight but decided it’s too crazy.

  • http://www.GQtrippin.com Gerard ~ GQtrippin

    Glad to see it was worth the hype. I heard of cheaper sushi alternatives right outside the fish market that were good as well. I’m really curious about this place though. Not sure about waiting  for 2 hours though
     

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    Well, get there early. We only waited 20 min, if that.

  • degan

    this looks and sounds amazing. I’ve been craving sushi since we got back from Spain.

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    I don’t blame you! Your trip looked outrageously deliciously though. I would love to go back. Welcome home!

  • Tina L.

    omg Melody I’ve been doing research on Tokyo for my upcoming trip to Japan for the past week and was so glad when I found this link during one of my random search….and realized it was YOUR article!!! :D loved it!

  • tooearly

    your photos do this place justice which is saying a lot. I have dined there many times and almost never been disappointed!

  • http://www.gourmetfury.com/ Melody Fury

    That’s a huge compliment. Thank you. And lucky you!!

    ——– Original message ——–