April 24, 2015 Gemmayze & Mar Mikhael Beirut Lebanon Middle East

Mitsu-Ya: A Recommended Sushi Bar and Izakaya
Non-smokers friendly

Phone Number: +961 1 561110

Address: Gemmayze main street, next to La Tabkha

Website: https://www.facebook.com/mitsu325/

Price Range: 80-120 $


Welcoming: 3/5

Food Temperature: 8/10

Ambiance / Music: 9/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 28/30

Architecture / Interior: 9/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Value for money: 8/10

A new place has opened on Gemmayze and it's called Mitsu-Ya. After Tabkha, facing Massaad, a one-door shop welcomes you for lunch and dinner serving a selection of Japanese izakaya dishes.


The place is nice, simple and minimalistic yet classy and relaxing. The door opens automatically on a rectangular space fitted with dark wooden tables surrounded by chairs, a long backlit wall reminds you of Japanese houses, two round paintings decorate the left wall over a long bench of white decorated fabrics.

The house of Mitsu, the place is named just that in Japanese: Mitsu-ya, and Mitsu is the Japanese chef cooking meticulously one plate after the other.

Decorating the ceiling are some colorful Japanese umbrellas. Ten of them, each a different color. Japanese music plays in the background to make you enter into the spirit of the place. 

Behind the bar where Mitsu prepares the food is a stand of knives, the famous Japanese knives. Over that are four lamps hanging from the stone arcade ceiling. Behind this bar a dozen bottles of sake decorate the wall. Again, I appreciated the decor.


The first impression is great. I loved the little ginger procelan cups as well as some others with crushed ice in them. As you sit down, the waitress fills your soy sauce cups and waits to take your order.

The Food:

  • Tataki tuna served on a long plate with Ponzu sesame sauce on the side. Lightly cooked tuna, raw in the middle and covered with peanuts and black pepper. Served warm, the tuna is tender and juicy, melting like butter. Add some sauce for a flavorful experience. I loved it!
  • A foie gras escalope sitting on a marinated Japanese Daikon radish with yuzu skin and mitsu-ya sauce. Served in a round plate, a single fine piece of daikon where layers of foie gras bath in style. I loved the warm feel of the foie gras and the tender pickled radish below. Finesse is the word.
  • Mexican maki: The flavors of Mexico in a bite. I loved the size and spiciness of their makis, the crunchiness of the nacho and the well-cooked rice.
  • Tuna anchovy maki: Tiny little bites of tuna, anchovies and a long lasting saltiness that leaves an enjoyable note after each bite. A mini asparagus adds a light crunch and even more flavor.
  • Marinated Gindara Mitsu-Ya black cod with miso sauce first baked and then barbecued in a hibachi oak grill. A melting, tender fish rich in sweetness served with a full-bodied sauce on the side with a firm texture. Excellent!
  • Grilled Duck beast on magnolia leaf with hoba miso sauce and shimeji mushroom, all served in a Japanese charcoal pot. Pay attention because it's extremely hot! The taste on the other hand is breathtaking. An exquisite sauce, a tender meat, a flavorful experience. A must try.


  • The scallop makis are as good as their cousins. A moist, tender scallop heart wrapped with a thin layer of rice and crunchy tobico. Simple, yet tasty. 
  • Tartar of the house: Salmon, yellowtail, tobico, avocado in layers with oscetra caviar topping yuzu and olive oil. Thinly sliced, the tartar is really enjoyable.
  • The sashimi plate: A generous clay pot filled with ice and covered with a selection of raw fish. Raw shrimp, raw white fish, raw sea bass, raw octopus and raw salmon. Fresh and from a premium quality.
  • Their popcorn shrimp are not like any I've had before. Juicy, tender shrimp covered with a crunchy envelope and nori powder. Like popcorn, once you start you cannot stop.


As we finished dinner, a closed cup landed in front of each one of us. A vanilla ice cream in a tahina sauce. A light flavor of tahina erupts from this black sauce decorating the vanilla ice cream. Simple and tasty. 


The pluses:

  • The ginger is tasty
  • Freshness is felt in every bite
  • The Maki sizes are awesome! Exactly what you need to enjoy, feel the fish and put a smile on your face.
  • I love the ambiance.
  • The staff is professional and caring.
  • The food is indeed unique and tasty.

I’d change:

  • The door opens and closes continuously with wind and sound haunting the restaurant and, more specifically, the table next to the entrance.

That was a pre-opening discovery that I enjoyed and I’ll surely be coming back for more as soon as the menus are printed and the tableware set as planned. I’d call and book the first seats if I were you, especially on the bar, where you can witness Mitsu in action.


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