This impressive restaurant ticks all the right boxes in terms of quality, atmosphere, service and price.
In our never-ending quest to find cheap value-for-money meals around Tokyo, we’ve come across some amazing deals offering all-you-can-eat gyoza, ramen, yakiniku, fried chicken, ice cream and cookies. And that’s just scratching the surface of all the specials we’ve come across over the years, without even mentioning the all-you-can drink bargains on offer around the city. Having filled up at a number of these impressive cheapo locations around Tokyo, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji remains on the lookout for even more amazing deals and his latest discovery is one of his cheapest finds yet, priced at 890 yen (US$8.40) for 40 minutes of all-you-can-eat sushi.
The restaurant, called Yamatoya Otojirou, offers the all-you-can-eat deal every day from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tucked away behind a traditional noren curtain in an attractive building, there’s a distinct Japanese atmosphere inside, with long counter seating and a lovely, clean wooden interior. When Seiji arrived, he was guided to a seat at the back of the restaurant with a beautiful wooden table.
The details for the all-you-can-eat offer show a number of options and points to be aware of when ordering. According to the note below, 40 minutes of endless eating will set you back 890 yen, while 60 minutes will cost 1,200 yen. Further extensions to the time can be made, with each extra block of 20 minutes extra costing an additional 500 yen. Drinks are charged separately, and customers with food allergies should inform the waitstaff beforehand, as anyone who leaves leftovers behind will have to pay a 1,000 yen fee. While food is to be taken in a self-serve style, customers should feel free to call upon staff members if there’s anything that’s required.
After reading through the notice, Seiji promptly paid the 890 yen fee for 40 minutes of no-holds-barred eating, and made his way to the counter, where there were about 15 large plates of food to choose from. The array of dishes available included salads, vegetables like sweet potato, simmered daikon radish, and cooked greens, along with grilled salmon and fried sardines.
Seiji filled up his plate with some cooked fish and vegetables before returning for a serving of potato salad, meatballs, freshwater fish, and some simmered burdock root.
What really got his attention was the beautiful selection of fresh sashimi available in the refrigerated tray on the counter. He tried two types on vinegared rice: maguro (tuna) and hamachi (young Japanese amberjack).
With other types of sashimi like tai (sea bream) and toro (fatty tuna) on offer, customers can create a customised sashimi-topped rice bowl of their choosing.
One of the meal highlights was this bowl of hearty miso soup. The key to any good miso is the dashi soup stock, and this one is made with salmon pieces, which give the soup a delicious depth of flavour. Insanely delicious, Seiji had three bowlfuls of miso before the meal was over. This was the perfect dish for an unusually cold day.
The other highlight of the meal was the sushi. The raw fish toppings were incredibly fresh, and were the high-quality type you’d expect to find at a dedicated sushi restaurant. For our sushi-loving Japanese reporter, the fact that all this deliciously fresh sushi was available in unlimited quantities for a 40-minute period made him nearly weep with joy!
To avoid the 1,000 yen leftover-food fee, Seiji decided to keep his servings to a moderate size, preferring to go back to the counter numerous times rather than fill his plate to overflowing. The Japanese meal set he made for himself, with miso soup, sushi and hors d’oeuvres, was an excellent way to enjoy the dishes on offer, and after filling up numerous times, he decided this was one of the best meal deals he’d found to date.
The all-you-can-eat sushi plan was only recently made available from 9 November, and while the restaurant hasn’t announced an end-date for their lunch special, Seiji recommends getting there soon in case they make any changes to the deal. If you love sushi and traditional Japanese food, this is the haven you’ve been looking for!
Yamatoya Otojiro / 大和屋 音次郎
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kajichō 1-2-12
Open 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; 5:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday until 10:30 p.m.)
All-you-can-eat deal available at lunch time only.
[ Read in Japanese ]
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[ Read in Japanese ]