An incongruous sight amongst the glass-and-steel high-rises of Nihonbashi, the traditional two-storey building housing unagi specialist Izumoya seems to have somehow been shielded from the modern world. Run by the grandson of the original owner, Izumoya is a pocket of tradition and serenity – and, more importantly, a source of the highest quality eel-based meals in town. Although an extensive menu is available (featuring a variety of non-eel dishes such as cured mackerel, vegetable tempura and horse sashimi) most customers order the dish Izumoya has been known for since the 1940s: grilled unagi over rice, served in a gorgeous lacquered box (¥4,000-¥7,000 depending on the quality and size of eel).
The fish, brushed with the restaurant’s trademark sauce, grilled to a brownish-bronze hue and sprinkled with sansho pepper, is both salty and sweet, and compellingly moreish. Bred to Izumoya’s high standards in Kyushu, the slippery fish are served alongside kimosui, a clear broth of eel liver and shiitake mushrooms, in addition to pickled vegetables and a portion of pear. It’s a popular dish, with around 300-400 eels served every day during summer’s high season. Portions are enormous, but Izumoya helpfully packs leftovers for those who wish to take theirs home. There are three private dining rooms upstairs for those craving peace and quiet, while the ground floor is dedicated to ‘European-style’ dining.
3-3-4 Nihonbashi-Hongokucho, Chuo-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, 5pm-10pm (last orders 9pm); Sat 11am-9pm (8.30pm) / closed Sun & hols|
|Transport:||Mitsukoshimae Station (Ginza, Hanzomon lines), exit A8; Shin-Nihonbashi Station (Sobu Rapid line), exit 2|