domo arigato

After a full day of sightseeing in Suba, Seth and I enjoyed a relaxing dinner at Arigato, a small Japanese restaurant in Chapinero Alto. After my coworker Diego heard about our recent experience at Teriyaki, a Colombian-based Japanese chain restaurant, he advised us against dining at all similar establishments. “If you want real sushi, you have to go to Arigato,” he told me. “It’s the best in the city.”

As is true of most restaurants in Bogotá (including those that don’t offer Colombian fare), the menu was quite expansive. We sipped our hot sake and poured over pages of soups, seaweed salads, dumplings, tempura vegetables and shrimp, sashimi and nigiri, maki, ramen, and Japanese curries. We ultimately ordered the nishiki plate (fives pieces each of salmon and tuna sashimi) and the matsuri combo—five pieces each of the kenji (salmon, tuna, and fried avocado), kensin (eel and salmon), salada (shrimp, crab stick, cucumber, lettuce, and tartar sauce), and kaisen (octopus, clam, and seaweed salad) rolls. The sashimi was incredibly fresh and generously sliced, while the rolls were uniquely delicious and surprisingly legit. I suppose it goes without saying, but all of the food was beautifully presented; even the chunk of wasabi was molded to resemble a leaf!

Although the restaurant was completely empty when we first arrived, two other tables were occupied by the time our sushi was served—one, by a Colombian woman and her gringo companion and the other, by a Japanese man who was obviously a frequent customer. He and the owner chatted away in their native language, while Seth and I struggled to translate the Spanish names for fish to Japanese and English. We were so pleased with the quality of both the food and the service that we plan to return on a regular basis, just not exclusively for sushi. (There are too many other items to sample and, not to mention, we can’t always afford the raw stuff.) And, on days when we don’t feel like walking the sixteen blocks to the restaurant, we can call in delivery! Suteki!

[Arigato: Calle 76 # 12-22, Bogotá-Colombia]

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