Despite past desperation to eat Isao’s super cute, sushi plates it wasn’t until recent when I finally live that dream. While I do live close to Isao and pass regularly it has taken me a good three years to pass through the front doors; the reason for this is Isao’s popularity where any given day brings queues out the door, across the front, backing up onto the street. Isao Sushi Restaurant is likely one of Bangkok’s most highly rated eateries of all genre and now having feasted there I can understand why. On our visit we arrive mid-week, 11am, front of the queue, in time for the lunch hours opening. Leaving an hour later the queues are backed onto the street (as below). Isao Sushi Restaurant is said to have the best Sushi in Bangkok and I find it hard to argue. My advice would be to arrive early or make advanced reservations but most importantly, do go.
I’m far from a sophisticated sushi eater but do have a fair idea of what tastes good, and everything at Isao tastes good (more so with lashings of soy and wasabi, sophisticated?). So you will find a number of unique tweaks in Isao’s ‘fusion sushi’ the more obvious being the super cute presentation, some so cute you can’t not order them. We fail to see past the cuteness ordering both Jackie (350 Baht) and the Dragon (420 baht). Jackie is the big favourite at Isao, the sushi chef’s recommendation with crisp insides of ebi tempura, avocado and ebiko eggs and a prawn face and adorable smile. Next up is the dragon, again crispy insides of ebi tempura (batter fried prawn), ebiko eggs, crab meat and cucumber this time wrapped with fresh water eel and avocado. Yes they taste better than they look. Note there’s a whole lot more to explore on Isao’s menu, while few are as cute as Jackie, many sound to be more delicious. I’m now excited to get back for the rest (maybe by takeaway).
With my sushi-phobe mum in tow we were hoping for a little more than sushi and, while not overly extensive, we do find a selection of Japanese bites to keep her happy, the giant prawn tempura (250 Baht) and Deep fried Chicken Karaage (forget Baht) have her relatively satisfied and the pot of green tea keeps her busy. All in all the bill comes to 1300 Baht (incl vat) which for filling the three of us is a job well done.
Isao is found a short walk on Sukhumvit 31, on the left hand side, arriving from Sukhumvit Road. While walkable from the Phrom Phong skytrain it isn’t ideal as Sukhumvit 31 sits roughly half-way between Phrom Phong and Asoke. The restaurant is easily identified by its bamboo exterior and if not early the queues of Bangkok’s cute middle class. The restaurant is relatively small with downstairs sushi bar and limited seating and an upstairs with larger table seating.
Location: 5 Sukhumvit Soi 31, 150 meters from Sukhumvit Road.
BTS: Phrom Pong
Opening Hours: 11 am-2:30 pm, 5:30 pm-10pm (mon-sun)