Okiya restaurant features Japanese cuisine with a fusion twist, often under-rated by its location, being set in a mall on top of a casual food court, it still has quite some tongues wagging and mouths drooling.
As you enter Okiya you immediately feel the calm and zen atmosphere through the decor, with soft lighting and stone slabs that lead you to the main dining area. We first pass by the Horigotatsu style private dining areas (traditional Japanese seating with a low table and an area that is lower than the ground for your legs to fit as you sit on the ground) which are perfect for private groups. The bar is the centerpiece of the space with dining tables around and a recent addition of the Teppanyaki live cooking station, which always has people clapping and cheering for the Teppanyaki chef with his expert tricks and playful cooking.
Having been to Okiya a couple of times already we chose to sit at the sushi bar for a change, where we got a live view of the sushi making station. It was great to have a front row seat, seeing the chefs make the sushi and plate them for serving, there’s something quite therapeutic about watching the whole process. One thing that could have made it even better would’ve been great would be for the chefs to interact a bit more with the customers who are at the bar which would give a more friendly feel and even lift the spirit around the bar. But we really enjoy how zen it feels, it’s not loud and faint ambience music is playing in the background, it’s perfect for small groups and date nights!
We started by ordering some Japanese tea and they brought a tray with small glass vials of different types of tea that we could smell and choose from, which is a nice sensory touch, since we usually eat and drink with our eyes and nose first! Our orders consisted of a mix of traditional sushis and more fusion sushis, from the salmon sashimi to the beef tenderloin sushi with spicy mayo to their crunchy tempura. The salmon pieces were very tasty and they definitely were not shy with the thickness of their slices, the beef tenderloin was a heavier type of sushi especially with the sauces and spicy mayo on top but it was a great combination. Their shrimp tempura was piping hot from the frier with the tempura batter super crunchy and the shrimp inside was tender yet with the type of crunch you would want to have biting into it making it taste fresh, the ratio of batter to shrimp was well balanced and accompanied with a spicy, smokey mayo and tempura sauce. We’d say that Okiya isn’t a traditional Japanese restaurant, but a Japanese fusion restaurant as they have added sauces and a more westernised approach to their ingredients and sauces.
At the entrance we were led by the waitress to our chosen seats with a smile, our order was taken promptly and our drinks came within minutes. What was nice about Okiya’s service was that they left enough time in between checking up on us and serving us so that we got to enjoy our conversation and relax in between. The whole purpose of going to a nice restaurant like Okiya with such a nice setting is to be able to sit back and take the time to converse, drink, eat at your own pace and this is what Okiya does well from the moment you enter the restaurant.
However, if you are a big foodie and are used to eating a lot of food like us, expect the bill to be a bit on the higher side of the scale. But so far in Mauritius the nice sushi restaurants all fall in that price category, it will definitely not match the cheap All You Can Eat sushi restaurants out there. But the quality, setting and service makes it worthwhile, so maybe you won’t go to Okiya every week depending on your budget, but a nice dinner or lunch for a small or special occasion is worth it don’t you think?
Have you been to this restaurant yet? Let us know what you thought! We’d love to know what your experience à table with Okiya was like!
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Disclaimer: All restaurant reviews are written from our personal experience at the restaurant on this specific date and time. These are recommendations that we hope you add to your list of places to try and enjoy.