Eighteen packed punches of flavor… three rounds… This Japanese restaurant near metro Bilbao will have you scrambling to the finish line and gasping for air, making you and your friends feel like sumo wrestlers. Dining at Sumo is an experience.
If you’ve ever been to Kintaro, an all-you-can-eat Japanese/Chinese buffet we wrote about in a previous post, you’ll find that Sumo has a similar vibe, leaving you with the same overly-full feeling without taking too big a bite out of your wallet. However, at Sumo, all this comes with better quality food, friendlier service and a nicer atmosphere.
One of the reasons why Sumo is so unique is that you can have a 3-course meal consisting of 18 dishes. Yes, you heard correctly. That’s 18 dishes. Plus it’s inexpensive and you have tons of options, ranging from sushi and soups to salad and rice dishes. All this will cost you 13,50€ (lunch, Mon-Friday) and 15€ (dinner, Mon-Thurs) and 17,95€ (Fri night-Sun). Although Sumo’s dishes are delicious, we dare you to eat 18 of them, as portions are not skimpy.
You should know that Sumo’s ordering process can be a little complicated. Your table gets one sheet of paper with three columns and a list of numbers for each dish on the menu that you tick to order. Everyone orders three times (6 dishes per round) using the same sheet of paper.
This seemingly hectic procedure will become a piece of cake (or a piece of sushi) in time. We’ve developed a system in which one person is appointed scribe (make sure he or she is up to the challenge) and then each person can start out by calling out his or her smallest number, then if someone else hears the same number, the repeated dish can be jotted down. Final check is also done to ensure the number of dishes is correct before turning it into the waiter.
By the third round (that is, if we make it to the third round), we usually can’t order all six dishes. Our friend, Edison, has a great technique to make it all the way–during the last round he orders salads and small, light dishes such as navajas (razor clams) and mejillones (mussels). I, on the other hand, start off with salad and make sure to include at least three light dishes in every round.
A few more things you should know about Sumo–there’s a 2€ penalty for any plate left uneaten (it can be half finished, don’t worry). While you may find this annoying (as did our friend, Kyle, who was really ticked off about that), it does make sense. You shouldn’t order all 18 dishes if you know you can’t finish them, as it really is a waste of food. So, if by the third round, you’ve already had 12 dishes and your stomach tells you that you can only have two more, then just order two more. You will still feel like you got what you’re paying for, trust me.
Lastly, if the 18-dish menu is too daunting, you can order individual dishes off the menu, which cost from 3-8€ each. But if you do that, the whole table has to follow suit. You can’t have one person at the table ordering the 18-dish menu, and others not (no sharing nor taking away allowed). It’s all or nothing. Again, Kyle found this to be very irritating, but I get it. It wouldn’t be very economical for the restaurant, nor would you feel like a sumo wrestler…
Up until now, I’ve had the pleasure of going to Sumo twice, although Edison goes so often with friends that he’s on a first-name basis with the owner. It’s a great place to take people with gigantic appetites and those who enjoy new gastronomic experiences. It’s hands down one of our favorite restaurants in Madrid.
Address: c/ Fuencarral 116
Restaurant Hours: Sun-Thurs 13:00-00:30, Fri/Sat/Holidays 13:00-01:00
Sushi Bar Hours: 16:30-19:30
More Asian restaurants featured on Naked Madrid:
- Ramen Kagura, Madrid’s (almost) perfect ramen bar
- Kintaro – Oy Vey
- Tuk Tuk – Asian-inspired street food
- Chuka Ramen Bar – Madrid’s hottest ramen restaurant
- Hattori Hanzo – Japanese food, straight up. No sushi.
- Nippon 2 – top quality yet affordable sushi, finally!
- Soy Kitchen – a fusion of Asian flavors
- Karachai – A cozy and elegant Thai restaurant in Alonso Martínez