Sushi Zanmai is one of the most popular sushi chains in Tokyo. While it is not the best, highest quality sushi, it is a great value for the price. There are many super high end omakase only sushi places in Japan that can be anywhere from $150-400; however, these are obviously not places that everyone has the means to go to.
Sushi Zanmai has good quality sushi, but at a much more reasonable price. When I go to Sushi Zanmai, I normally get the tuna set special. It comes with about 10 different pieces of tuna, and it is about $30. This includes otoro, chutoro, maguro, etc., and they are pretty good quality. Also, for about $3 a piece, you definitely cannot beat the price.
Another thing that Sushi Zanmai is known for is their convenience and quickness. Unlike some other restaurants in Japan, you can be in and out of Sushi Zanmai in half and hour or less. Also, there are plenty of locations all around Japan. This makes it a great place to go to after eating another meal for a snack, or a great late night meal.
If you remember hearing of the story of the bluefin tuna selling for a record $3,000,000 a couple of years back, this was bought by the owner of Sushi Zanmai. The owner of Sushi Zanmai is known as the Tuna King, and he definitely bought himself a lot of publicity with his purchase. However, this also shows that the fish they use at Zanmai is of high quality, even if it is not as good as some of the highest quality sushi places.
If you are a casual sushi fan (but don’t think you could really tell the difference between a $2 sushi and a $25 sushi), Sushi Zanmai is a good place to start. Maybe on your first trip to Tokyo you could start with it, and gradually work your way up to the 3-star Michelin restaurants. Or, if you are just looking to enjoy some good sushi on a budget, this is a great place to go in Japan.
Just look for the bright pinkish/red sign that has a picture of a guy and sushi, and you have probably found a Sushi Zanmai in Japan.
Sushi Zanmai Recommendation Rating: 3
1: Something worth checking out if you have time
2: Something that is a hit for some people, but not a must for everyone
3: Something worth prioritizing if interested
4: Something worth making time to check out
5: An absolute home run, worth going out of your way for