Japanese cuisine is one of the world’s most recognized and sophisticated, even designated by UNESCO as one of four world heritage cuisines. And it is not only about its delicate, ancestral techniques, or its developed sense of balance combining flavors and textures. It is also about the enormous respect the Japanese have for food. There are strict rituals and protocols for the preparation, presentation, and consumption of their dishes. Such is the case of omakase.
Omakase is a gastronomic experience based on the act of mutual respect between the chef and the diner. The phrase translates to the concept, “I leave it up to you,” signifying that the diner puts their trust in the chef with their choice of food, understanding that it will be of the highest quality. At the bar, which seats a limited number of people, the chef prepares each dish on the spot for the diner in a personalized manner. Sushi is usually offered, but the concept is not limited to this style of food. Meal times vary between 5 and 20 minutes and may also include miso soup and dessert.
In Mexico City we can find restaurants honoring this tradition, offering omakase with the seal of each chef, in spaces that will surprise you as much as the dishes themselves.
Deigo y Kaito
A fundamental factor in omakase is the quality of its ingredients. At Deigo and Kaito, founded in 1995 by Chef Genshin Oyakawa, the requirement is more than met. Using Kobe beef and a selection of fresh, raw ingredients, it adheres to the classic forms of Japanese cooking, making it ideal for a first approach to this concept. It also offers an extensive fixed menu, with different styles of Japanese food, such as nimono (simmered) or izakaya (dishes inspired by traditional Japanese canteens).
Enrique Pestalozzi 1238, Del Valle, Benito Juárez
T. 55 9133 1476
Kai Sushi Bar
This omakase stands out for the quality of ingredients, in particular the premium fish sourced from Japan, New Zealand, Canada, and the Mexican waters of Ensenada. Kai Sushi Bar, located in the heart of Polanco, is run by Chef Alberto Díaz. The service is limited to 16 diners and has five courses of traditional dishes that include sashimi, nigiri, temaki, miso soup, and dessert. In addition to the omakase, there is a terrace where you can order the terrace box – a tasting selection of nine pieces of sushi served in a bamboo box. All with exquisite preparation.
Anatole France 79, Polanco, Miguel Hidalgo
T. 55 5038 6053
In the west of the city, Kumoto is the omakase venture of the Tori Tori group. The dishes offered always vary depending on the seasonality of the ingredients, thus ensuring the freshness and quality of the food. In addition to putting us in the hands of the chef, Kumoto has a menu of its own classic dishes from Tori Tori. The austere and elegant design of the space, created by renowned designer Héctor Esrrawe, creates a calm and refined atmosphere, conducive to enjoying this culinary experience to the fullest.
Monte Everest 635, Lomas de Chapultepec
T. 55 5109 7343
One of the most popular sushi restaurants in the city (and rightly so) is Hotaru, with omakase service at its Lomas location. The contemporary bar, run by talented chefs led by Chef Alejandro Pérez, never disappoints and always surprises. Each piece of sushi served is as appealing to the eye as it is to the taste. This also includes the traditional ceramic tableware, as well as the cutlery and furnishings. Here, cooking is an art to be enjoyed with all the senses. The nigiri is a standout.
Calzada de San Isidro 44, Reforma Social, Miguel Hidalgo
T. 55 8022 2325
Finally, we should not fail to mention the renowned Rokai, from Edo Kobayashi, which, in addition to being recognized for its traditional omakase bar, is known for the various types of ramen (some say the best in the city). There is also an extraordinary bar with typical Japanese drinks, always stocked with sake, shochu, and Japanese whiskey, as well as house cocktails. The establishment strictly complies with Japanese service protocol, undoubtedly enriched by the traditional and cozy atmosphere.
Río Ebro 89, Cuauhtémoc, Cuauhtémoc
T. 56 3035 4220