Did you know that seafood within the Tokyo metropolitan area is incredibly fresh? Did you know how delicious squid sashimi is? Have you eaten at any of the restaurants near Tokyo station? If you answered no to either of those questions, you’re missing out! Let us introduce you to a Tokyo seafood restaurant that is sure to impress you with their delicious squid!
Ika (squid) Center Yaesu is a lovely seafood restaurant located in the first basement floor of the Yaenaka Dining space in Tokyo Tatemono Yaesu building. You’ll only have to walk a little way from the Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit, as it’s just eight minutes away.
Here you can find a fish tank that stretches all along the inside of this lively restaurant. It is decorated with ornaments that help create a festive and market-like atmosphere. Inside the long, spacious fish tank, you can find crabs, shellfish, and their specialty: squid! Many visitors to the restaurant enjoy taking a peek at the squid as they swim around the fish tanks.
Treat Yourself to the Fresh Seafood at Ika Center
The otoshi (appetizer) at Ika Center is of course squid, topped with grated daikon (Japanese radish). If you’re still unsure about the taste of squid, you’ll be pleased to find the squid served at Ika Center has a light, refreshing taste that is not sticky at all. It may be surprising just how different the squid here tastes, compared to what you may have eaten before.
The portion you get when you order the assorted sashimi platter is very plentiful. The portions served at other seafood restaurants are usually rather small, making Ika Center the only place where you can eat a big variety and large portions of sashimi at a reasonable price.
Rarities such as nama-gaki (raw oysters) and red bream sashimi are also very reasonably priced and served in plentiful amounts! At the Ika Center, you can feast your eyes, fill your belly, and do so without depleting your wallet. The Ika Center is a seafood restaurant that will meet high standards and a low budget. What an incredible place!
In the image above, you can see one of the Ika Center’s main attractions. The restaurant manager picking up and holding a live squid to prepare right in front of you, one of the main attractions of Tokyo Ika Center.
A Unique Experience at the Ika Center
Immediately after preparation, the squid sashimi is served so fresh it’s still moving. After putting soy sauce on the squid, they will begin to wiggle and move, making some patrons hesitant to eat them. Don’t worry, though, the squid is no longer alive but rather the sodium in the soy sauce causes the nerves to fire, making the arms and legs move.
When you muster the courage to take your first bite though, you'll find that those squirmy little morsels taste amazing! Such a special luxurious dish is only achievable with super fresh squid. It has a distinctive thick texture and flavor that goes very well with ginger soy sauce. The squid sashimi is amazing, but that’s not all they have - let’s take a look at some other seafood dishes they have available.
Here is a freshly prepared squid! You can eat this with salt or you can change the flavor up a bit with grated ginger and sliced lemon which is provided for you on the table. Raw squid is superb and crunchy! The taste and flavor intensifies with every bite you take! It's so delicious that you'll want to savor the taste as long as you can before swallowing.
In the image above, you can see takaashi-gani (spider crab), kegani (horsehair crabs), and taraba-gani (red king crabs) that are often seen over the counter being gathered up and sent for preparation.
The next dish is kin-me (red bream) boiled with soy sauce. Yes, the whole fish! The fish tastes great; slow-cooked so that it is seasoned all the way through. Tender, bite-sized morsels come away easily when you eat them with chopsticks and are matched perfectly with white rice. This combination is a nostalgic comfort food for many Japanese people.
Here we can see the same spider crabs from the previous picture. These are baked rather than boiled. The fragrant, sweet smell of the crabs is mouthwatering. All the meat is cut into bite-sized pieces with great care and precision! It has a strong crab taste, fresh but soft when bitten into. There’s a world of difference between these freshly prepared crabs and the frozen crabs you’d buy at supermarkets!
Moreover, take a look at this luxurious awabi (abalone) tempura. While awabi can also be eaten raw, it is also incredibly delicious as tempura! This is a superb dish covered in a crispy batter, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to create a perfect balance of flavors. Tempura has never tasted so good!
Next, we have a Japanese spiny lobster! It is baked to perfection, just like the crabs. The Japanese spiny lobster tastes amazing, with the umami of the lobster condensed in its rich taste. The deliciousness of this plate will leave you speechless and satisfied.
Finally, we have the uni-ikura donburi (a rice bowl topped with sea urchin and salmon roe)! The shiny salmon roe pop open with every bite, filling your mouth with a delicate, briny flavor. At the same time, the rich aroma of sea urchin stimulates your sense of smell!
Even though the restaurant is named "Ika Center" - and their raw squid sashimi is superb - you will find that all the dishes are truly exquisite! The more you eat, the more delicious they become. There are many seafood restaurants in Tokyo, and indeed many restaurants near Tokyo Station, but the Ika Center really stands out. If you haven't visited Ika Center yet, we highly recommend it!
Katsugyo Oroshi Chokueinomise Tokyo Ika Center 活魚卸直営の店 東京イカセンター
- Address Yaenaka Dining B1, 1-4-16 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 103-0028