If you’re in Shibuya and craving fresh, tasty sushi that won’t break the bank, look no further than Uoriki.
Uoriki's daily special sushi set. - image © Florentyna Leow
Saito, Sawada, Jiro. These hallowed Michelin-starred sushi restaurants are highly sought after, and given the quality of their sushi, justly so. But that’s not how Tokyoites eat on a daily basis, especially when dinner at any of those places will set you back around JPY20,000~30,000 (around USD200-300). Instead, everyone should have a go-to place for times when you need to scratch that itch for decent sushi without breaking the bank.
The entrance to Uoriki restaurant is marked by white noren curtains. - image © Florentyna Leow
Enter Uoriki. Their name translates to ‘strong fish,’ which is particularly apt as they are mainly a seafood retailer. Luckily for us, their secondary business is sushi, which they offer at competitive, reasonable prices.
It's mainly counter seating here, and another two seats next to the window (not pictured). - image © Florentyna Leow
Their Shibuya branch is in the very heart of the whole hub, right in the basement of Tokyu department store in Shibuya Station. Despite this, it remains a relatively quiet restaurant, probably because it’s sequestered away in a little corner of the west wing of the food basement.
The view from the front of Uoriki - cashiers to the left, bagging tables to the right. - image © Florentyna Leow
The easiest way to find Uoriki is to look for Seijo Ishii supermarket. Walk past the cashiers towards the elevators, and you’ll find the white noren curtains to the restaurant.
The English menu comes with photographs of each set meal.- image © Florentyna Leow
Ordering sushi sets or rice bowls at Uoriki is super easy, as you can simply point at the photo of the set you’d like.
The back of the menu has a list of fish with names in Japanese, romanized readings of the Japanese names, and the English equivalents. - image © Florentyna Leow
The a la carte sushi section on the flip side is also well-translated. They have a wide selection of seafood, including several grades of tuna. Do try some of the less widely-eaten fish for nigiri (hand-pressed sushi), such as flounder or turbot. Both are delicious. Horse mackerel can be a little strong for first-timers. And, if you prefer your sushi without wasabi (as I do), you can specify this in your order. Try saying this in Japanese - “sabi-nuki.”
The daily special - they print this up every day. - image © Florentyna Leow
I decided to try their daily special sushi set. You’ll find this on the laminated Japanese menu pictured above - it’s pronounced “gensen nama neta sushi.” This is a 10-piece set which changes daily depending on the season and the catch available at Tsukiji. I like that they take care to list where the fish was caught. That day the fish was from Miyazaki, Ehime, Russia, Kochi, Iwate, Aomori, and Nagasaki. It doesn’t look as though they have the resources to translate the menu everyday, so consider this a more adventurous option for non-Japanese readers! As long as you have no particular dislikes or allergies, it’s a fun way to eat.
Fresh, generous slices of fish on vinegar rice, with a little heap of pickled ginger on the side. - image © Florentyna Leow
Clocking in at JPY2,380 or around USD20, this 10-piece sushi set is ridiculously good value for money. The fish was fresh and tasty - not premium, but that’s not what you’re paying for. It even comes with a sea urchin and a large botan ebi (spot prawn)!
Saving the best for last - a large spot prawn nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi). - image © Florentyna Leow
Incidentally, when it comes to hand-pressed sushi like this, it is completely acceptable to eat it with your fingers if you want, instead of chopsticks. (But you probably shouldn’t do that with sashimi.) You’ll want to pick it up, dip it fish-side down into the soy sauce and eat it all in one bite.
All sets come with miso soup with green scallions and seaweed. - image © Florentyna Leow
I really liked the green seaweed miso soup served alongside. I suspect that they throw in all the fish bones and clam shells they accumulate every day, since the soup has so much umami depth you can taste the bottom of the seafloor.
There’s a row of chairs and a stand with a clipboard outside, indicating that Uoriki can see longer queues - likely during peak lunch and dinner hours. Consider yourself forewarned! - image © Florentyna Leow
Name in Japanese:
B1F Tokyu Toyoko-ten Depachika, 2-24-1 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
10:00~21:00 (L.O. 20:00)
:: Read customer reviews of Uoriki on TripAdvisor
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