Tsukiji: Sushi Dai vs Daiwa Sushi

Visiting Tsukiji fish market, the world’s largest and busiest fish market, is definitely a passage of rite we, the visitors go through; from witnessing the early-morning tuna auction to having sushi breakfast. Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai are two of the most popular sushi restaurants among the visitors. Well, yes, both of them also infamous for the long waiting time.

One of the questions people ask is if the food worth the waiting. Well, it depends; the sushi tastes divine but the majority of the people queuing are travelers. I supposed the locals shy away due to the crowd and there are many other shops there selling fantastic food in the area. Beside, waking up really early in the morning and having a heavy breakfast of rice and raw fish is not something we are used to.

Both places serve ‘Omakase’ which means chef’s selection; an arrangement of both regular and seasonal catches. For all the visits, we started off with the omakase set and ordered many additional sushi that are not part of the omakase set.

Sushi Dai

Sushi Dai was run by the owner of Daiwa Sushi; the queue at the son’s shop relatively shorter than at the father’s. On my first trip, we went for Sushi Dai after finishing the tuna auction. (The queue at Daiwa Sushi was just too long). We had pretty great sushi at Osaka but Sushi Dai blew my mind completely. It was really good and worth the 30 minutes waiting time we had.

Daiwa Sushi

Then, on my second trip I woke up really early in the morning for Daiwa Sushi. I was at the shop at 5:45 in the morning but the queue is already quite long. By the time I managed to get a seat was 7:30 and it was only because they have a seat opened and no one in front of me has a solo visitor.

Verdict: Sushi Dai Vs. Daiwa Sushi

Comparing between the two, I had a high expectation toward Daiwa Sushi for being more popular and crowded but as it turned out, I think I prefer Daiwa Sushi. Yes, they have their own strengths but I wouldn’t want to wait a few hours for Sushi Dai.

  • Tamago: Sushi Dai wins big time. The tamago is piping hot and tastes amazing
  • Negitoro Rolls: The son beats the father by a mile; the rolls are seasoned so well.
  • Aburi-Maguro: Easily the highlight of the meal at Sushi Dai. I didn’t try it at Daiwa so I couldn’t tell.

The first thing I noticed is how small the inside of the restaurant (both of them); only enough room to seat 10-12 people. This explains why the waiting time is so long. What I really like about both places is that even though they are aware that there is an insanely long queue outside, they serves you well with patient; no rushing you through the food or chasing you out after finishing the omakase set. You get to see how they prepare the sushi in front you, they mingle with you over small talks and that alone makes the dining experience so memorable.

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2 thoughts on “Tsukiji: Sushi Dai vs Daiwa Sushi

  1. Those photos make my mouth water. I didn’t do enough research beforehand, so after the tuna auction, I made it to the long lines too late….and decided it wasn’t worthwhile to wait 6 hours (yes we were quoted the wait would be 6 hours) for food. I can’t wait for the opportunity to return there someday and finally try it!

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    1. To be honest, there are many other great places to eat in Tsukiji but these two are the most popular among the tourists/travelers, I hardly see any locals queuing. Check out ‘Sushi Kumi’ for their sea urchin bowl, I heard good reviews of the place.

      Sadly, Tuskiji market will be moving next month to the new location, so things might change.

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