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“Amazing Sushi and Good Izakaya”
Review of Royal Izakaya

Royal Izakaya
Ranked #585 of 5,035 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Restaurant details
Reviewed 26 June 2018

If you love sushi (true Japanese style raw fish, no rolls), you have to go to Royal Izakaya and try to get a reservation for the tasting menu (they have a junior or a full tasting). I did the full tasting and Jesse Ito did not disappoint. If was truly a culinary delight and I did enjoy his take on uni dishes (i.e. battleship...uni and scallops).

If you cannot get a reservation for tasting, the Izakaya/Bar is also a great place for date night or with friends. Izakaya basically means tapas/small plate in Japanese and they have a well-rounded menus for people who like sushi (chirashi and maki) and people who do not enjoy sushi (karage, tonkatsu, yakitori, yakimono). Moreover, they have decent beer, wine, and sake menu and has a speakeasy feel for their cocktails.

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1  Thank Helen K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 7 of 17 reviews

Reviewed 3 June 2018

Really wonderful sushi! Some of the best we've ever had! Had the omikase. 10 pieces of beautifully prepared, fresh fish. Rice melts in your mouth. Wonderful service! Would highly recommend!!!

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Thank WSWe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 April 2018

While traveling in Philly, we found an interesting Japanese restaurant. It has a certain speakeasy feel to it, with no name or address on the door.

It was kind of stormy evening, very windy and cold, with heavy and cold snow coming down. But, this place was almost full when we walked in with lots of locals. A great sign of delicious food! The inside is not large, with the right side occupied by a nice big bar. The left side has bench and chair alongside the wall from the front to back.

The real fun thing was the projector on the brick wall, playing clips of Japanese TV shows and movies! In order to get this going, the lighting in here is kind of dark…darker than “dim” lighting. Many of the TV show clips were really old, from 80s I think, super fun!

The menu was filled with Japanese and Japanese-inspired Izakaya fares, I was very excited! We had Tuna Mentaiko, Kurobuta Sausage, Yaki Curry Tofu, Chashu Buns, and Saba Shioyaki. They were all excellent, delicious, comforting and really hit the spot! The quality was high, and we enjoyed every single dish very much.

Our server, Greg was awesome, he was super helpful and informative. He was very knowledgeable about the food here, and gives great explanation and recommendation to the customers who are not familiar with Japanese food on what to order, and how to eat them. He took a really nice care of us, we were very happy with the service. Other staffs here were also very nice and sweet!

One extra note, they have nigiri sushi omakase hidden at the back behind curtains. It is like speakeasy inside speakeasy… They are reservation only, and I heard they get booked up about two weeks ahead since they only have eight counter seats.

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1  Thank foodlovergirlny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2018 via mobile

My husband and I absolutely love this place. The food and service are incredible. The sushi is on par with Morimoto. The friendly atmosphere is great for any day of the week.

1  Thank Go599862
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 November 2017

What a terrific find! The red lantern in front is the only sign you have arrived. 居酒屋 “izakaya” (to be – liquor (drinking) – place) is like a bar serving food, a gastro pub, a tapas establishment. The location is odd for such a special place, except that it is “neighborhood” (and I wish it were in my neighborhood). By the way, there is no parking anywhere nearby – may as well take Uber. The front part looks like a neighborhood bar with some tables. The bartenders and wait staff are friendly and efficient – all really wonderful. More important, the food is fun (and authentic) Japanese comfort food. I could go every night. The more special treat is to be able to claim one of the very limited spaces at the 8-seat sushi bar at the back, behind a noren. It’s like entering a different world. While some rolls and sashimi may be available in the front, nigiri is only available in the “back.” It is also only omakase (chef’s choice), although there is a separate menu for adding on more, if you like. At $125 for 18 pieces it is only about $7/piece (not bad for perfection), but with ad-ons, drinks, taxes and tip, we usually spend $250-300 per person. The sushi is perfection and served as in Japan – one piece at a time. This gives us time to talk and socialize – and to appreciate each offering. Jesse Ito starts with shellfish and progresses to more and more rich, tasty fish near the end. The menu changes almost daily, since it all depends on what he can get seasonally and fresh. Perfect way to run a restaurant in my opinion.

I have now done it several times and still cannot wait to return. There is an excellent sake list. What’s nice about an izakaya vs. restaurant is that they also focus on drinks and add food, so they have a wide variety of excellent drinks (sake, shochu, whiskeys, craft beers, wines and a huge variety of liquors). Most restaurants seem to have a more limited offering, since they focus on food and add drinks.

This kind of “sushi” restaurant and/or izakaya isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for me and reminds me so much of Japan. I wish them success (it is inevitable), but hope there’s always room for my friends and me.

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1  Thank DonCapeMayBeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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