[Tokyo] 1* Obana 尾花 - Traditional Edo-Mae Unagi Restaurant
Rating: ❤❤❤❤1/4 (4.25/5)
In search of unagi all the way in Minami-Senju - a good 30 minutes train ride from central Tokyo! Obana is a traditional Edo-mae unagi restaurant established in the Meiji era. The restaurant is very popular and doesn't take reservations so expect long lines throughout the day. I had heard that it's best to arrive before opening time to secure a seat - the restaurant opens twice a day from 11:30am-1:30pm and 4pm-7:30pm. The crowd seems to be thinner at the latter seating though as we arrived 10 minutes before 4pm and the restaurant was only half full by the time we sat down. You have to take off your shoes before entering the main dining room where you have to sit tatami-style.
Most people are here for the unaju (grilled eel served on rice) which is available in 2 sizes - ¥4300 and ¥5300. Once you place your order, you will still have to wait a good 40 minutes as the unagi are made to order! So it's recommended that you order snacks to eat while you wait such as the yakitori (chicken skewers) and umaki (Japanese omelet with eel). Literally every table had one of each on their table but since we were not that hungry, we decided to just stick with our unaju and shirayaki (plained grilled rice).
Finally the unagi started coming out and the first to arrive at our table was the shirayaki. The eel is only lightly grilled and served with with soy sauce and wasabi on the side. It's the best way to taste the super fresh and delicate flavors of the eel and I think it's a must-try in addition to the unaju.
The unaju arrived next and it was well worth the wait! The unagi was very flavorful with just the right amount of tare sauce while the texture was very soft. While I haven't been to Kabuto which is the highest-ranked unagi restaurant in Tokyo on Tabelog, I think Obana is definitely better than 1* Nodaiwa - another long-standing unagi restaurant in Tokyo.
5-33-1 Minamisenju Arakawa Tokyo
東京都 荒川区 南千住 5-33-1
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