Not far from Tokyo’s frenetic Tsukiji Fish Market can be found Marushizu (丸静) – one of the best places to eat freshly grilled eel, known as unagi (うなぎ). One of my colleagues took me there for lunch and it was quite a treat!
Tucked down a narrow alleyway, the restaurant isn’t very easy to spot from the road unless you know where to look (see the map at the bottom).
As a family-run affair, Marushizu has changed location over the generations but still serves exactly the same single dish as it always has: unajū (鰻重) – grilled eel served on a bed of rice in a lacquered box.
The only option you have when ordering is the size – Regular (Choku), Large (Muraji), Extra Large (Omi), XX-Large (Mikoto), XXX-Large (Oh) – I had the large version. It comes served with a clear liver soup (Kimosui) and pickles (Oshinko).
The unagi fillets are grilled and then steamed before being served with a sweetened soy-based glaze called tare. They precook the eel so the service is pretty fast. There are only around a dozen seats so there may be a queue at lunchtime.
Like with Jiro and his sushi, the chief at Marushizu has clearly spent a lifetime perfecting his art and honestly, this was among the best food I had in Japan – so simple yet so delicious. I really appreciate the way so many Japanese restaurants are dedicated to a single dish or style of food which eschew variety for quality and taste.
Highly recommended – around 2,000 – 3,000 JPY per head.