Breakfast at Sushi Dai


When traveling we definitely like to try unique foods that are considered a specialty in the area. Sushi of course comes to mind when travelling to Japan. When you Google search for the best sushi in Tokyo, Sushi Dai comes up quite often. Sushi Dai is notoriously known for its early morning long line ups. We decided we had to find out what the craze was all about.

Beep beep beep!​​ It's 2:50 am as our alarm goes off. We both look at each other in hopes that one of us would be the one to say "Sushi for breakfast? So overrated. Let's go back to sleep." After hitting snooze a couple times, we finally came to our senses and got up. We turned on the coffee machine and got ready to leave. We poured the coffee into a thermos, grabbed our iPad and dressed warmly. We were visiting Tokyo in March and morning temperatures are about 5°C.

We took a cab to Sushi Dai, which is at the outer part of the Tsukiji Fish Market (The inner part of the market is where the actual fish auction takes place). A good tip is to save the name of Sushi Dai 寿司大 (or any other place you visit in Japan) in its Japanese written form. Do not expect anyone to speak English, so have the Japanese name handy. It is a little tricky to navigate the fish market especially in the dark. The fish market is already busy at this time in the morning. Show one of the fishermen the Japanese name for Sushi Dai and they will gladly point you in the right direction. Once you see a long lineup of people, you've most likely reached Sushi Dai.

We got to the lineup at around 3:45 am. There were already 12 people in line. This most likely meant we would be the second seating. While waiting, we kept ourselves occupied with some shows we had uploaded onto our iPad. We also had our thermos with our warm coffee to keep us warm.

Finally at around 5:45am the line started to move and the first group was seated. A lady came out and served a much welcomed cup of tea for all those who were waiting in line.

At this moment we moved around the corner and saw the glowing light of the restaurant. The restaurant is quite small and fits about 10-12 people. It's literally just a sushi bar with seats around the counter. After about 45 minutes the first group left the restaurant. They let in the next set of people in.

Everyone quickly moved inside and out of the cold. Right before it was our turn to enter, we were stopped and the door shut in front of us. We were a bit confused as we had done the math and we should have been let in. Like sad little puppies we veered into the window and noticed that two people from the previous group did not leave and were still eating. We were a bit annoyed now at how unlucky we were. At this point we really started to feel the cold and slowly started to shiver. After 15 more minutes the two people were done, got up and left.

We entered the warm restaurant and drank some warm tea. It was almost 7 am when we entered. Since we joined our old group later we had our own personal chef. She was very nice and tried her best to name our dishes in English.

After having our set menu (chef's choice), also called "omakase" in japanese, we had the option to purchase additional dishes. We decided not to purchase anymore as we were quite full. The sushi was the freshest we've ever had - our shrimp ebi was literally still moving. The price was reasonable and the selection was great. Would we do it again? It was the best sushi we had ever had, but the wait was a bit too much. The cold was an issue. If the weather was not a factor maybe we would do it again.

At the fish market there are other restaurants that are supposedly good as well. Some of which had their own line ups too. The next name that comes up a lot is Daiwa which has a much shorter and faster moving line because there seems to be more seating. There's also rumour that Daiwa is opened by the son of the owner of Sushi Dai. The market has many delicious little restaurants to try with some famous for other delicious treats like uni bowls or aburi sushi. I guess it will have to wait until next time!

Would we recommend Sushi Dai? If you are a sushi lover who doesn't mind waking up early and waiting for about 3 hours, then we say go for it - at least try it once. In our line there were people who have been to Sushi Dai numerous times. On the other hand there were other people in our line who were not too thrilled with the wait.

Omakase Menu

The menu is a chef's choice menu of about 9 dishes and one dish of your choice. The menu changes and is not always the same. You can order from an a la carte after the set menu.

#Japan

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Welcome to Messie Adventures! We are Mitch & Jessie. We're currently living on the beautiful island of Sint Maarten. We travel as much as we can part-time and enjoy all the adventures that come our way!

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