Sushi, sashimi, and yakitori galore, but only for diners who know where to find it!

When your belly starts rumbling in a place like Shinjuku’s Kabukicho, it can put you in a stressful situation. Do you simply go somewhere familiar, but not that memorable, like a fast food joint? Or do you try for something better with all the thousands of options around you, in amidst the glaring neon signs in a neighbourhood that’s known for some unscrupulous establishments?

Well, now you won’t have to stress anymore, because we’ve found a joint in Kabukicho that’ll serve you an unforgettable meal, not only in terms of taste but value, and it’s one of the best cheap eats we’ve discovered in the city yet!

As is often the case, this discovery is located in a nondescript building that you probably wouldn’t walk into off the street. 

Looking more like a private house than a restaurant, this three-storey establishment is actually an izakaya tavern called Medaka, and it has seating for 600 diners.

Our reporter Masanuki Sunakoma was tipped off to this izakaya by one of his younger colleagues, who highly recommended it, so they both went out to try it with another colleague the other night, walking past Shinjuku’s notorious host clubs to reach their destination.

Once inside, the place was lively with noise and chatter, but despite seating 600, they didn’t get any sense that the place was crowded. They’d made a reservation in advance — reservations aren’t necessary but always recommended in a busy city like Tokyo — so when they arrived they were immediately shown to a table on the third floor.

▼ One important thing that diners will want to be aware of is that smoking is permitted at all tables in the restaurant.

Diners who make reservations are required to opt for the two-and-a-half hour all-you-can-eat-and-drink course, which is exactly what our three musketeers wanted to try, as it’s a fantastic deal at 3,380 yen (US$25.57) per person.

As is usually the case with all-you-can-eat-and-drink plans like this, there are some rules to take note of, and here the most important points were like any other: last orders are taken 30 minutes before the end of the time limit, a fee must be paid for any leftover food or drinks and takeout is prohibited.

While wine and Japanese sake aren’t included in the plan, that didn’t bother our reporters, who like to opt for beers when out at an izakaya. So when their first round arrived, they raised their glasses to a night of gluttony and unbuttoned the top button of their jeans in preparation for the food to come.

It didn’t take long for the food to arrive, with their order for plates of yakitori skewers arriving first.

The yakitori were juicy and flavourful, and their next order, a couple of platters of sushi and sashimi, were fresh and delicious.

Masanuki was pleasantly surprised by the quality of everything, with the fish tasting as good as anything you’d get at a fancy Japanese restaurant,

The combination of decadent salty meat skewers and refreshing, light fish was actually a brilliant one that made this a meal to remember.

It’d been years since Masanuki had last gone all out ordering a feast with friends, so he relished the moment with a few more platters…and a few more rounds of beers.

Orders are made via a tablet, which also shows you the remaining time you have on the plan before last orders.

There are a wide variety of other menu items you can try on the all-you-can-eat-and-drink plan, but our three happy diners highly recommend trying the yakitori and the sushi and sashimi for a meal to remember.

While the joint is particularly popular with students and office workers on a budget, Masanuki reckons it’s a great place for tourists as well.

So if you’re in the area and looking for a great place to eat, be sure to step into Medaka…before the place gets written up in travel guides and becomes a hot spot with tourists!

Restaurant Information
Medaka / めだか
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Kabukicho 1-3-6 
Open 5:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m. (Monday-Thursday and Sunday), 5:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m. (Friday, Saturday and the day before a public holiday)

Photos ©SoraNews24
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