Japan has earned a reputation for creative and unusual dining establishments. Cat cafes, themed restaurants, and stand-up sushi bars all cater to people looking for a new dining experience. But what about using a fishing line to catch your dinner, in the restaurant? In the heart of Osaka’s nightlife district Dotonbori is Zauo, a restaurant where you reel in your own fish from the tank!
Surrounded by water and fish, the huge boat in the middle of the restaurant serves as the dining area. If you’re not lucky enough to sit in the boat, there are also plenty of other booths to sit in. Customers take a fishing rod, attach some bait, and do their own fishing from the five types available – sea bream, mackerel, top shell, flounder and lobster. Each type is fish has a different price. What you catch is final (no returns), so try and aim for the one you want! Fishing can be done from the side of the tank, or from the boat itself.
Staff offer tips on how to catch your fish, showing you how to use the net to collect the fish that you pull up on the line. The lobsters and clams are easier to fish for – it’s as simple as scooping them up out of their container. When somebody successfully pulls up a fish, there is an excited announcement accompanied by loud drumming and applause from other diners!
The chef can prepare your fresh fish in a number of ways. It can be fried, steamed or grilled, but also served cold as sashimi, and as sushi for an extra fee. Sides are also available from the menu. Of course, if fishing isn’t your strong suit, there are a la carte options to order as well, which includes other options such as well and tuna . For kids, the restaurant also offers sushi making classes.
Zauo is known for being frequently fully booked, so reserving ahead is a good idea. Fishing is usually only during evenings, but weekday daytime fishing can be done if a full course menu is reserved in advance. But if you can’t make it to Dotonbori, there are also locations in Tokyo, in Shinjuku, Meguro and Kamuro.
Have you been to Zauo restaurant in Osaka or Tokyo? What did you think about the experience? Let me know in the comments below!