I’ve caught fish and taken it to a restaurant to have it cooked, but this is the first time I’ve actually caught the fish in the restaurant.
At Zauo, your table is positioned above tanks of tai (sea bream), hirame (flounder) and more, and staff kit you out with fishing rods, bait and nets. When a customer does make a catch, a huge commotion ensues, involving banging of drums, much shouting and applause before the fish is taken away to be prepared as you like: sashimi, salt-grilled, fried, etc.
My friend and I were going for the sea bream, and even though the staff said that the fish weren’t biting very well during our visit, they were going to make sure that I caught one. It took a few kinds of bait and different hooks, but after about a half-hour I did it. All the while I was thinking there’s a reason that sea bream is an auspicious fish – too smart to be casually caught.
If you don’t like fish, there are plenty of other izakaya standard dishes from snacks to salads to accompany the festivities.
With tables on platforms shaped like traditional fishing boats, Zauo looks like it’s for the tourists. But hey, you are a tourist. Embrace it. Families love it too.