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To participate in an omakase experience is, above all, to put your trust wholeheartedly in the sushi chef preparing your meal. Literally meaning “I leave it up to you” in Japanese, omakase implies that you’re handing the decision power over to the chef and allowing them to compile a menu based on the freshest, best-quality fish available—and their creative instincts. Each of these exclusive omakase meals promises an intimate dining experience (usually 20 seats at most) and 10 to 20 courses of meticulously prepared sushi, sashimi, nigiri, and more. These are the best omakase experiences to book around the world:
Sukiyabashi Jiro, Tokyo, Japan
In Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood, you’ll find perhaps the most coveted sushi restaurant in the world: Sukiyabashi Jiro, by famed chef Jiro Ono. It’s also one of the most exclusive sushi restaurants; in fact, Sukiyabashi Jiro no longer qualifies for Michelin stars because it isn’t technically open to the public. Your reservation must be booked through special connections or the concierge at select luxury hotels. Nonetheless, the nearly $400 omakase meal has wowed the likes of President Barack Obama, among other famous guests, and if you can snag a reservation, you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime culinary opportunity.
Q Sushi, Los Angeles
The beautifully prepared 20-course set omakase menu in downtown Los Angeles costs $200 a head but is worth every penny. At Q Sushi, which always lands at the top of LA’s 101 Best Restaurants List, Chef Hiro serves his own “interpretation of artisan Edo-style sushi.” With fish from around the world—from Santa Barbara uni to freshly caught fish flown in directly from Hokkaido—dining on Chef Hiro’s tsumami (small apps), sushi, and nigiri is easily one of the most exclusive and memorable LA culinary experiences.
TAKA, Kuala Lumpur
At the American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, TAKA does “authentic Edomae Sushi served over a 300-year old Hinoki wood counter.” It’s a minimalist luxury experience and the restaurant is meant to be the sister branch to Sushi Saito, one of the best-known omakase restaurants in Tokyo. One of the sushi principles TAKA encourages their guests to eat by is their “10 Second Golden Rule”; Essentially, to ensure you enjoy the sushi at the exact right temperature, guests are meant to eat the course in front of them within 10 seconds of it being served—and in one bite.
Teppei Japanese Restaurant, Singapore
There are 22 seats in Singapore’s Teppei Japanese Restaurant. The restaurant, found in the Orchid Hotel, is known for serving a 17-course omakase tasting menu for only $80. The price is unheard of, and yet the quality is exceptional. Chef Yamashita, a Singapore native, serves a Singaporean interpretation of traditional Japanese omakase and prides himself on cultivating a more relaxed, casual, and interactive dining experience.
Sushi Gion Matsudaya, Kyoto, Japan
Sushi Gion Matsudaya, a Michelin-starred sushi restaurant in downtown Kyoto, serves a modernized take on Edomae sushi. With just seven counter seats, the tucked-away spot, down an alley in Gion is unpretentious and wholly focused on sourcing the unrivaled freshest ingredients for their omakase experience. Each course is prepared by chef Matsudaya, and the privilege of watching the artist meticulously work with the fish, rice, and accouterment enhances the omakase experience.
Sushi Sho, Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Sushi Sho is the premier Japanese omakase destination in Hawaii, to the extent that luxury travelers specifically schedule their trips to Oahu based on when they can secure a reservation at the 10-seat establishment. The restaurant—within The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property, is run by chef Keiji Nakazawa, one of the most influential Japanese sushi chefs. It is the first Sushi Sho location outside of Tokyo, and chef Nakazawa himself prepares the meal at this location. There are only two seatings per night at the chef’s counter-style restaurant; the number of courses is customized to each guest based on how many dishes they are open to eating, but on average it’s 22 courses.
Dinings SW3, London, England
Executive Chef Masaki Sugisaki, who hails from the Nobu empire, serves an off-menu omakase once a month at London hotspot Dinings SW3. The omakase meal is an exclusive, 12-person dining experience and can be paired with a sake tasting, which delves into some of Japan’s best, hard-to-find sakes. The Omakase experience is still served in the restaurant’s traditional Japanese Izakaya style and each dish has a distinctly modern take on sushi, sashimi, or nigiri preparation.