Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I hereby proudly introduce to you, my dear reader, my favourite Japanese Restaurant in Berlin, Sasaya.

Let me start with this anecdote. A decade ago, before the Ishin that we all knew and love became the cheap, lower quality, franchised Japanese Deli that it is today, there was a tiny imbiss in Steglitz, Berlin also called Ishin. Everything they offered, the fresh sashimi, warm/cold dono, and my favorite grilled salmon, were prepared with love. And best of all, everything only cost 5 euro. The menu were simple, but Japanese food is about simplicity and quality. The Chef himself took his time to come out and greet his customers, asking whether the food was fine. No wonder that this tiny imbiss was always full, with a long line outside of the imbiss. After some time, this tiny Ishin announced that they were closing down. It was a great dissapoinment for everyone. Then the Ishin, that we know nowadays opened its very first store in Mitte. The concept was similar, sushi, sashimi, warm and cold Don, but the Japanese Chef was not there, and the touch of love was missing. The new Ishin was fulfilling but not satisfiying. I still miss the old Ishin that I love.

Then I heard a rumor that the Chef from the original Ishin decided to open his own restaurant called Sasaya. It is said that Sasaya is the chef's name. I don't know whether this is true. If any of you ask the Chef in Sasaya (the one behind the counter making sushi), if this is true, do tell me.

Without further delay, here are some highlight of the food in Sasaya

Salted grilled mackerel. A simple dish consist of a filet of mackerel that's grilled with some salt. Though it's simple, the flavor shine due to the freshness of the fish. It cost around 4 euro.

Tempura set: One huge shrimp, sweet potato and shitake mushroom. The shrimp was fresh and springy, the sweet potato was crisp and sweet and the fresh shitake mushroom was meaty and most importantly, the batter was light and crispy. Around 5 euro.

Stir fried takana, a Japanese version of preserved mustard green. A fresh and crunchy veggies for around 2 euro.

Here's everything I ordered, the small green stuff on the side is their complimentary pickles. They continue the custom!

Soba with Mackarel, A friend of mine ordered this. I didn't taste it, but according to him, it was really good.

Tuna Kama with Ponzu sauce. I'm going to sound like a broken record and say this, it's really good because the tuna was fresh! And with the addition of the salty & sweet ponzu sauce, it was one of the best grilled fish I've ever had.

Roast Beef, look at the medium-rare roasted, juicy, beef slices, served with some nutty rocket salad and sweet salty shoyo sauce ... ahhhh match made in heaven

Because hubby always wanted some sushi, here is his sushi. Again, the fish was fresh. We do not have a choice for the type of fish. It's more like whatever fresh fish they have, they serve.

Matcha Macchiato, bitter from the real matcha powder and very milky. A friend of mine who also ordered the same stuff, commented that the drink is fishy. I don't share her opinion, but it's
just interesting to note that someone can associate green tea with fishy.

For dessert, we shared a matcha cake with some adzuki (red bean) on side. I'm a matcha lover, there's something about the bitternes of the green tea combined with the sweetness of dessert that makes a great dessert.

This one is vanilla ice cream with adzuki and mochi. It looks really good, and according to those who ate it, it was really good.

So as I've already mentioned, there's the "love" that was missing from Ishin. everything is beautifully arranged. You can taste quality in every bite that you take. It might be a little costly, but again Japanese food is all about quality. Chinese, Indian or Indonesian food can mask lower quality ingredients with a lot of spices and condiments but Japanese food is about letting the ingredients shine. So I will repeat myself again, Sasaya is my favorite Japanese Restaurant in Berlin, and what are you guys waiting for? Just go there already!

Lychener Straße 50
10437 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Telefon: 44 71 77 21
Fax: 44 71 77 21

U-Bhf. Eberswalder Straße, Tram M1, M10

Do-Di 12-15 + 18-22.30 Uhr


  1. Hi there,

    I stumbled across your blog and enjoyed your reviews about different restaurants in Berlin. Many thanks for taking the time to write them up

  2. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
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  3. Dear Mel,

    I am writing from Traveller Magazine, the onboard publication for Easyjet Airlines, and we are putting together an article on places to eat in Berlin. I have seen a lovely pictures that you have taken of Sasaya Berlin and was wondering whether it would be possible for us to use a high resolution version of one in the magazine? You will of course be credited correctly and sent a copy of the finished magazine for your portfolio.
    If you could reply to my office email that would be great, it is megan.eagles@ink-publishing.com

    Thank-you so much for your time and I will look forward to hearing from you very soon.

    Kind regards
    Megan Eagles
    Picture Desk