Okuyama no Sushi

One of Budapest’s best sushi restaurants is buried in the basement of a strip mall, it doesn’t have a functional Facebook page, let alone an Instagram handle, and its website looks like it hasn’t been updated in a decade. Perhaps Okuyama no Sushi's obscurity is a marketing tool itself? After all, who doesn’t enjoy an unexpected discovery? Know before you go that Okuyama's interior is puritan at best - this isn't a fancy shmancy sushi restaurant, but it's very good.

Owner and sushi chef, Sachi Okuyama, has been working with raw fish for over three decades (he ran a sushi restaurant in the Hilton Budapest before opening Okuyama in 2001) and he knows his craft. Mr. Okuyama's signature sushi is the oversized nigiri, which he usually tops with salmon, tuna, prawn, or butterfish. The rice is warm and has the right amount of vinegar. The mixed sushi plate comes with 8-pieces and commands €21. Okuyama also offers an omakase based on a pre-agreed price, whereby diners put themselves in the hands on the chef, who decides the dishes.

Outside of sushi, there are small plates of appetizers and grilled fish. One of my favorites is the asari tsukudani (€3): it’s a bowl of preserved clams seasoned in a rich soy sauce, mirin, and rice vinegar-based sauce, imparting a flavor of sweet, salty, and sour, and a distinct gummy texture. Also good is the grilled pike mackerel (sanma; €13) with freshly grated radish, and the tamagoyaki, a slightly sweet Japanese rolled omelette (€5).

Perhaps Okuyama no Sushi wouldn't stand out in cities bigger than Budapest or with better access to saltwater fish, but for the time being it’s one of the best sushi restaurants in the city. Cash only!