Sado Island, surrounded by sea, is a treasure trove of seafood! As a crossroads between warm and cold currents, you can enjoy amazing seafood all year round, from amberjack and tuna to prawns and crab.
Besides that, Sado Island has mountains and plains, amongst a wide variety of terrain types, making it suitable for many types of agriculture, including rice, vegetables, meats, and fruits.
Here, we’ll be introducing Sado Island restaurants that you absolutely have to try while in Sado, from kaisendon seafood bowls, to fried amberjack (also called burikatsu), to desserts made from locally produced fruits, to cuisine that is enjoyed by great literary minds. Do give these suggestions some consideration when planning your trip.
- Table of Contents
- 1. Maruishi: Conveyor belt-style Sado sushi!
- 2. Locavor Style Ajisai: Burikatsudon brimming with love from the residents of Sado
- 3. Oshokuji-dokoro Yūzuru: Sado’s Kaisendon, with crazy volume!
- 4. Namasoba Shichiemon: A taste of home, a bukkake soba recipe passed down for 220 years!
- 5. Fruits Café Saitou: Sweets time at a farm café!
1. Maruishi: Conveyor belt-style Sado sushi!
If you want to enjoy local seafood catches, the Sado Island restaurant Maruishi, run by a local fishery, is recommended for you. Don’t underestimate this belt sushi restaurant! The freshest fish is carefully and expertly prepared by professionals. It’s a Sado sushi shop with a fantastic variety of fish that’s well-loved by the locals too.
The shop has both counter seats and table seats, and the plates, proudly proclaiming “Produced in Sado,” carry the menu around. It’s a shop that makes you go, “Since I’m in Sado, I want to eat food that I can’t get anywhere else”! Each seat comes with the menu, so you can choose your items and order directly with the chef.
The shop’s noticeboard introduces the daily specials. Amongst the items, the “Jizakana Santennmori,” or three types of locally caught fish, is a must-have.
On the day we visited, the three fishes were seabream, sea bass, and flying fish, at three for just 300 yen (with tax)! You can enjoy the best catches of each season at Sado for surprisingly reasonable prices.
On top of that, we tried the purported “white-fleshed tuna,” seaperch, which is the signature fish of Niigata.
The Sado-produced seaperch, which costs 600 yen (with tax), is popular at Maruishi, and the fragrance of the lightly-torched skin is a great plus. The plump and soft fish has ample fat, and you can’t help but sigh with satisfaction when you taste it.
Even within Japan, seaperch is known as a rare and expensive delicacy. When in Sado, one of Niigata’s prime seaperch producers, you definitely have to try it!
Of course, it’s not just fish caught in Sado, but fish from throughout the nation are available too. Every week, a tuna weighing over 100 kilograms is purchased by the shop’s headquarters!
The “Maguro Akami,” or red tuna, at 150 yen (with tax) and the “Maguro Santenmori,” with three different cuts of tuna, at 600 yen (with tax), are ordered by many customers. For tuna produced in Sado, you can enjoy it when you visit the shop in June.
Besides that, you can enjoy a variety of fish caught off the waters of Sado all year round, so you can try out the best catches each season.
Amongst foreign customers, the “California Roll” at 300 yen (with tax), and the “Avocado Shrimp,” which also costs 300 yen (with tax), are popular items. As many other dishes and desserts have received great reviews as well, it can be a bit difficult to decide what to order. Do enjoy your time savoring delicious food.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, all staff are required to wear masks, and customers have to disinfect their hands with alcohol. Spaces between seats are also separated by vinyl curtains, and the belt sushi has been switched to a pop-up menu instead, to prevent the spread of the virus in the restaurant.
Sushiya Maruishiすしや まるいし
- Address 1031-1, Izumi, Sado-shi, Niigata-ken, 952-1212
Access: 20 minutes from Ryōtsu Port by car
- Phone Number 0259-63-3066
Business hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Closed on Thursdays
2. Locavor Style Ajisai: Burikatsudon brimming with love from the residents of Sado
One of the local dishes created in Sado is the “Sado Natural Burikatsudon,” or fried amberjack on rice. Based on recommendations from the locals, there are four shops on the island where you can enjoy this delicacy. This time, we’ll be introducing one of these shops, “Locavor Style Ajisai,” whose motto is to eat delicious foods of Sado while in Sado.
The stylish Sado Island restaurant serves sashimi set meals and rice bowls, along with kamameshi, a Japanese-style dish of rice and vegetables served in a pot, as well as side dishes and pizza. For dessert, you can enjoy waffles made using rice flour produced in Sado, as well as soft cream parfait made from milk from Sado.
Be it with friends, family, or your significant other, regardless of age, you’ll be sure to be satisfied here.
The unshakable bestseller at Locavor Style Ajisai is the Sado Natural Burikatsudon, at 1,200 yen (with tax). It’s not just the amberjack that’s caught locally; the other ingredients are sourced from Sado too.
For example, the rice used is a strain that is officially recognized by the city of Sado, called Koshikari. It’s a very popular brand of rice. The coating on the fried amberjack is also made using rice flour made from this rice. The fish-flavored soy sauce-based drizzle over the fried amberjack is made in Sado too. This rice bowl comes with miso soup and a small side dish, along with milk soft cream, for a satisfying set meal.
Speaking of amberjack, though the ones caught in winter, called “fuyu-buri,” are famous, in Sado, amberjack is fished all year round. With the wish to spread the wonders of Sado to others even when it’s not winter, the Sado Natural Burikatsudon was thus born.
Besides this, there’s a half-size version that costs 980 yen (with tax), and it’s recommended to eat smaller portions while ordering other items on the menu too. It’s a dish brimming with warm thoughts from the people of Sado. Do please try it out.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, all staff wear masks, and customers are requested to disinfect their hands with alcohol too, as the shop chips in to help control the spread of the virus.
Locavor Style AjisaiLOCAVOR STYLE味彩
- Address 1F, Tabi-no-Hotel, 113-12, Chigusa, Sado-shi, Niigata-ken, 952-1209
Access: 20 minutes from Ryōtsu Port by car
- Phone Number 0259-58-8010
Business hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Last order at 2:00 p.m.), 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. (Last order at 9:00 p.m.）
Closed on Wednesdays
3. Oshokuji-dokoro Yūzuru: Sado’s Kaisendon, with crazy volume!
About 30 minutes by car away from Ryōtsu Port, along the tourist spots along Mano Bay, is a Sado Island restaurant with a long and rich history, called “Oshokuji-dokoro Yūzuru.” It offers up kaisendon, or seafood bowls, displayed prominently on their menu.
We’ll be introducing this kaisendon overflowing with the chef’s wishes to let guests enjoy the delicious taste of Sado’s food.
As a restaurant, you can expect to find a large variety of items on the menu of Yūzuru, including the “Osashimi Gozen,” a sashimi set meal at 1,800 yen (without tax), the “Ebikanidon,” a rice bowl topped with prawn and crab, for 1,800 yen (without tax), the “Mekabu Soba/Udon”, a dish of soba or udon noodles topped with seaweed, at 900 yen (without tax), and the “Kaisen Shio Ramen,” a seafood and salt ramen, at 1,200 yen (without tax).
The most popular items are the Kaisendon Jō, at 1,800 yen (without tax), and the Kaisendon Nami, at 1,400 yen (without tax). The size of these rice bowls is impressive even when compared side by side! You can clearly feel the chef’s feelings, “In Sado, with its rich variety of seafood, you can’t offer up anything less than this!”
For today’s kaisendon, the toppings are extravagant and include amberjack, yellowfin tuna, crab, scallops, turban shell, rockfish, Nanban prawn, sea bream, mussels, and flying fish. You can typically enjoy 18 different varieties of fish, and there’s so much seafood that you can’t even see the rice.
The dish is served also served with a tasty side dish made using seaweed from Sado. Please do try it for yourself!
Yūzuru has several wine breweries in the Kunchū area and organizes visits to them as well, so do give the experience a try. Here, you can enjoy some locally produced Manozuru Hiyazake at 682 yen (without tax) for 300 milliliters.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, all staff wear masks, and customers are requested to disinfect their hands with alcohol too. Social distancing is observed between seats, as the shop puts in its best effort to prevent the spread of the virus.
Oshokuji-dokoro Yūzuruお食事処 夕鶴
- Address 655, Mano, Sado-shi, Niigata-ken, 952-0313
Access: 30 minutes from Ryōtsu Port by car
- Phone Number 0259-55-2525
Business hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Closed from 15 November to 15 April
4. Namasoba Shichiemon: A taste of home, a bukkake soba recipe passed down for 220 years!
Sado Island restaurants offer more than just delicious seafood. One place you have to stop by is the soba shop that we’ll be introducing. Namasoba Shichiemon is a shop near Ogi port, with over 220 years of history! It is currently being run by an old couple in their eighties.
The literary giant Shiba Ryōtarō and the Enka singer Minami Haruo have visited this shop too. Indulge in a taste of culture, and do give the food a try.
On the menu is just one item, soba at 550 yen (with tax)! Boiled soba is arranged in a small bowl and topped with spring onions, and the eating style is with tsuyu sauce. When ordering, you can ask for either one or two bowls, which is a unique point of the shop. As we were feeling especially ravenous, we ordered two bowls.
The buckwheat, which is grown in Sado, is ground using a stone mill, and the shop owner makes the noodles himself. We tried the noodles with the tsuyu sauce, which includes dashi stock.
When the shop was first started, it operated as takeout only, resulting in the lack of dining space. Because of that, smaller bowls were used to make them easy for takeout, and this easy to eat bukkake soba was born. This style of eating has continued for the past 220 years.
Now, the shop operates by reservation only, so don’t forget to make a call before heading down to the shop.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, all staff wear masks, and customers are requested to disinfect their hands with alcohol, as a shop participating in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Address 643 Ogimachi, Sado-shi, Niigata-ken, 952-0604
Access: 8 minutes from Ogi Port on foot
- Phone Number 0259-86-2046
Business hours: 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (by reservation only)
Closed on Thursdays
5. Fruits Café Saitou: Sweets time at a farm café!
15 minutes away from Ryōtsu Port by car, is Fruits Café Saitou, a sweets spot recommended for break time. This is a café run by Saitou farm, which grows rice, strawberries, peaches, persimmons, apples, and grapes, amongst other fruit. Plenty of homegrown fruits are used, and the simple sweets made with excellent ingredients are very popular.
The “Fruits Kezuri Ichigo,” an extravagant dish that has over 15 types of shaved strawberry in one bowl, costs 550 yen (with tax). It’s the most popular item on the menu. The shaved fruit is made by freezing it, before shaving it into fluffy frozen fruit, and topped with condensed milk. Though simple, you can directly taste the strawberries and is so delicious you’ll want to eat it every day.
Our next recommendation is the “Apple Pie” at 320 yen (with tax), which has many local fans. Though the amount of apple used is a lot, it’s even thicker than expected! The soft and juicy flavor is irresistible.
Besides these, the “Nama Shibori Juice,” or freshly squeezed juice, costs 500 yen (with tax), and the “Fruits Parfait” costs 650 yen (with tax), and both have many customers ordering them. As the fruits used change with the seasons, enjoy the ones being offered during the timing of your visit.
Time flies as you enjoy the beautiful scenery of the orchard while enjoying the best foods that Sado has to offer! Please do make a trip down.
To prevent the spread of Covid-19, all staff wear masks, and customers are requested to disinfect their hands with alcohol. The shop is also regularly ventilated to prevent the spread of disease.
Fruits Café Saitoフルーツカフェさいとう
- Address 667-1 Niiboaoki, Sado-shi, Niigata-ken, 952-0102
Access: 15 minutes away from Ryōtsu Port by car
- Phone Number 0259-67-7088
Business hours: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Mondays
Sado Island is full of nature and greenery and many delicious foods. To top it off, food producers and restaurateurs have great passion for their work, with strong wishes to make their customers happy and let their guests know more about the wonders of Sado.
Do enjoy and satisfy yourself at Sado, with its stories and histories, and its gourmet food, with both your heart and your appetite.
On top of this, to ensure the safety and peace of mind of travelers to Sado, a “new lifestyle” is being implemented in Sado to prevent the spread of disease. Please watch this video to learn more.
Text by: Naoko Iwabuchi
Information accurate as of July 2020.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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