Izumi Restaurant (Antwerp)

© Izumi

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The sun has risen a redder hue over the port of Antwerp ever since Izumi set up shop near the quays. The setting? A dining room done up with wood and cream-colored tones, with a Japanese-style paneled ceiling, block prints and lanterns on the walls, windowed doors with rice paper panels, a traditional L-shaped counter, and even a soothing miniature waterfall! In short, everything you need to imagine yourself somewhere in the Honshu Mountains, rather than seated along the Scheldt River. You can thank Amsterdam native Ed Balke and his daughters Fiona and Hanna for this magical experience, who recruited Tokyo-based master sushi chef Shuichi Ishige and chef Yoshiki Sasano (from Nagora) to stew up the postcard-worthy menu. The day we went, we dug into a set lunch menu composed of perfectly made chirashi topped with salmon, bluefin and Albacore tuna, scallops, mackerel, amberjack and salmon roe, paired with a classic bowl of miso soup. At night, dig into the selection available à la carte (which is obviously a little pricier), featuring sea urchin sushi, shoyu-grilled eel, an assortment of sashimi, fried oysters with ponzu sauce… Unless you’d rather share a nabe (a hot pot filled with udon noodles, tofu, egg, beef and vegetables) with your better half. // Jean Gourmand

FEELING THIRSTY? A large selection of sakes – Kakurei junmai ginjo (€8.50 a glass, €30 a carafe) or Ryusei White Label (€10 a glass, €32 a carafe) – and a few beautiful bottles of wine, including a natural Burgundy chardonnay from Athénaïs de Béru (€52)…
PRICE: Set menu €26-38, appetizers €4.50 to €18, sushi €4-12 a piece, hot dishes €20-39, nabe €82 (for two).

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