At the heart of ritzy Ginza is a time warp to a simpler – and considerably less swanky – Tokyo. A convivial izakaya, Sanshuya has been delivering satisfying and affordable dishes since 1968. By mid-afternoon each day it’s full of Tsukiji market workers catching up over a drink, and it stays busy till closing time with local office workers drawn to its reliably excellent food at surprisingly low prices. It’s as unostentatious as it gets, with straightforward furnishings and communal tables, yet its old-school aesthetics are endearing – the menu items are listed one by one on black and white signs, draped from the top of the kitchen counter like confetti.
Meals at Sanshuya begin with otoshi, typically a small dish of squid sashimi with fish liver, before moving on to heartier fare with an emphasis on produce from the nearby fish market. There’s boiled alfonsino (a fish similar to perch), grilled saury (sanma, similar to mackerel) with daikon, a gentle aromatic dish of tofu and chicken with ponzu sauce, and fantastic mussels and sashimi. Be warned: Sanshuya becomes extra busy during winter’s oyster season, not least because its deep-fried oysters are legendarily good.