This Japanese Restaurant Lets Guests Fish for Their Own Dinner

Talk about eating fresh.

Farm-to-table is the new high standard in the food scene, and one Japanese-based restaurant is taking that to the next level, letting guests catch the fish they’ll eat. Doesn’t get much fresher than that.

Zauo already has 13 locations in Japan, and another is expected to open in New York in February 2018, according to Eater. When you step inside, the first thing you’ll notice (besides the giant boat-shaped seating area) is a giant tank in the middle of the restaurant. Inside will be at least ten types of fish, ready to be caught, according to Zauo’s liquor license application. Check out 10 more restaurants with the world’s craziest dining experiences.

That’s where the fun comes in. The nautical-themed restaurant offers poles and nets for customers to catch their own fish from that river-like tank. If the New York Zauo works like the Japan locations, the rods and nets won’t cost any money, and bait is just ¥100-200 (between 80 cents and $1.75). Let staff know what kind of fish you’re in the mood for, and they’ll help you snag that sucker. Just don’t ask for these 8 fish you should never eat in a restaurant.

03-This-Japanese-Restaurant-Lets-Guests-Fish-for-Their-Own-Dinner-Courtesy-ZauoCourtesy Zauo

Once you manage to catch your fish, chefs will prepare your tank-to-table meal to your liking: either raw as sashimi or sushi, deep-fried, or grilled and boiled. Indecisive customers will be relieved to hear that you can request half of a fish be prepared one way, and the other half a different style. Tempura and sushi from the same fresh-caught fish? Yes, please! (But don’t visit too often—eating this much fish every week could be a health risk.)

Best of all, having fun with your food won’t cost extra. In fact, in the Japan locations, using your own fresh-caught fish would actually cost about $7.50 less than just ordering it off the menu.

Fish aren’t the only ultra-fresh food on the menu, either. In the main Zauo location in Japan, farmers raise their own chickens and grow veggies. The restaurant hopes by giving guests a hand in their own food prep, they’ll be more grateful and better educated about their everyday food choices. (Learn more from these 10 seafood facts that will change your thoughts on fish.)

We’re hooked already.

[Source: Tasting Table]

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.