If you want to know a little secret about eating well at Toyosu, this is it; some of the best meals in the market aren’t sushi but are the shops catering to the staff working in the market. Toyosu’s beef bowl and curry restaurants are well worth a visit to if you find yourself in the area. However, if you’re committed to sushi, there are a handful of places worth checking out super early in the morning. Here are some tips on where to go and what to eat.
The original Yoshinoya
There’s arguably no name more synonymous with convenient but delicious Japanese cuisine than Yoshinoya. The now multinational fast-food chain has built a legacy on “tasty, cheap and fast” and has always challenged the assumptions of what fast food can be. Sure there’s a Yoshinoya on practically every corner of Tokyo, but this is where it all started over 120 years ago. The first Yoshinoya opened in 1899 as a family-run store serving up hearty, affordable beef bowls to Nihonbashi workers, since then the menu may have expanded, but the quality has stayed true. If you can’t choose what to get, go for the classic beef bowl, for an authentic, foray into the city’s culinary history.
Indo Curry Nakaei
It may not be as internationally famous as sushi or ramen, but Japanese curry is one of the nation’s most widely consumed dishes. A little sweeter, thinner, and not as spicy as its Thai and Indian contemporaries, Japanese curry rice is the ultimate local comfort food. Initially opening a Nihonbashi store in 1912, the team at Indo Curry Nakaei have spent the past century perfecting the art of Japanese curry, so if you’re in the area be sure to check out their modern Toyosu outpost. There are a variety of local style curries on offer, but they also serve a popular version of spicy Indian style curry for those who like a little extra bite.
For some of the best sushi in all of Tokyo, head straight to Sushi Dai. This humble restaurant has a reputation for being home to some of the best sushi you’ll ever taste, but a set menu of the chef’s recommendations costs only 4,000 yen, which is surprisingly affordable for sushi restaurant prices. With a line already snaking out the door by 6:30 am, Sushi Dai is a special treat best reserved for the super-early birds. There are plenty of reports floating around of eager diners camping out overnight to secure a seat at the table first thing in the morning. However, after you try it once you’ll realize just what all the fuss is about.
If you can’t quite stomach waiting over four hours for a 40-minute meal at Sushi Dai, there are plenty of other worthy alternatives. Nakaya Tsukiji is an excellent choice for those wanting to dive into a big bowl of ‘donburi,’ which is a spread of fresh seafood served on a bed of rice. The Nakaya Tsukiji staff are masters of the donburi, so there may be a short wait. A set here with miso soup and tea will set you back around the 2,000 yen mark depending on your choice, but it’s well worth it.
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Sushi Masa The Impression
It may be stating the obvious, but there are no shortages of sushi options in the area, and competition is fierce, so no matter where you go the quality assurance odds are always in your favor. For a more luxurious dining experience, consider Sushi Masa The Impression. The restaurant covers all the bases serving sushi, sashimi, and kaisendon (a bowl of fish on rice) as the main menu staples. Given the atmosphere, the restaurant feels a lot more high-end than its price leads on, but expect to pay around 2,500-7,500 yen per person.