Sho Cho

Imaginative but pricey Japanese food served up with stunning views 12 Reviews

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Souk Qaryat Al Beri is home to some of the city’s finest restaurants – many of which boast the same homely charm as the souk itself (Mombasa Grille, Meat Co). Sho Cho, however, is a world away in terms of decor – possibly because sushi and style seem to go hand in hand in the minds of most of the city’s restaurant owners.

Fortunately, Sho Cho manages to be stylish without being sterile (a trap that’s not easy to avoid), with trendy interiors boasting sleek tables, plasma screens showing underwater scenes and some truly stunning views. We were offered the choice of sitting outside on the balcony looking out over Maqtaa Creek and the Grand Mosque, but with the weather still on the sticky side, we decided to take a seat inside and watch digital jellyfish swim past digital portholes on the interior’s walls.

The food menu is vast, but sushi is clearly the bulk of Sho Cho’s business – page after page is filled with nigiri, maki rolls and sushi selections, while hot dishes are buried in a small slice of space at the menu’s centre. Starters include unusual concoctions such as king fish with jalapenos or seared tofu unusual finds. We ordered the tantalisingly named red snapper crisps and the lounge sushi platter to start. Starters were pleasant, although, despite the menu’s interesting à la carte sushi offerings, the platter bore nothing more exciting than salmon, tuna and octopus nigiri. If we could find just one sushi restaurant in the city that mixed its platters with a little saba, perhaps a salmon skin roll or even a slice or two of unagi we’d cry tears of joy.

The red snapper crisps were not quite what we were expecting: pieces of battered, deep-fried snapper served up with a wasabi guacamole. The fish was well-cooked but lacking in flavour, the guacamole creamy but the delicate taste of the avocado was overpowered by the wasabi. An interesting idea that didn’t quite work.

On to the mains, our dining companion’s salmon had a delicate curry taste that was pleasing to the palate, while our marinated duck was sweet and gamey, if a little tough. Our only real criticism of these dishes would be the presentation – which, considering the price tag, was nowhere near as elegant as we’d expected. While a meal at Sho Cho doesn’t come cheap: stunning views, good quality sushi and an aspirational menu make it worth a splurge.

The bill (for two)
Edamame Dhs15
Red snapper crisps Dhs57
Sushi platter Dhs181
Marinated duck Dhs108
Salmon with chili Dhs108
Fried rice Dhs29
Total (excluding service) Dhs498

By Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

Time Out reviews restaurants anonymously and pays for meals. Of course, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or independence of user reviews.

Details

  • Location: Souk Qaryat Al Beri, Bain Al Jessrain, Abu Dhabi
  • Tel: 02 558 1117
  • Travel: Between the Bridges

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Map

User reviews

ValueAmbienceService
DecorFoodOverall
  • Users voted this restaurant most suitable for: Brunch served

User reviews:

Posted by: Naseem on 20 Apr ' 13 at 19:01
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Overpriced for the quality of food.
Food taste is good but not that good.
Decor looks like a fast food restaurant not a 350 dirham for two japanese eatery.

Posted by: Annonymous on 07 Apr ' 13 at 22:03
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Romantic
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Edited by TimeOutAbuDhabi.com

My first experience to go to the Souk and have a lovely dinner with my brother and his fiance but only to find out that this place was beautiful the lighting was low, very secluded and romantic but when expecting to come for an all-you-can-eat sushi deal only to our finding was that every dish that was there which was called "sushi" (teriyaki) was all cooked in alcohol. There was only a 2-4 different types of sushi which was being served and was absolutely overpriced for what they were charging each person an 125 dirhams. If you are planning to go to this restaurant for a lovely romantic dinner with the ms' then it would be perfect but never would you go with a minor who is illegible to consume alcoholic beverages and food.

Posted by: VK on 05 Dec ' 12 at 21:12
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Having ready the reviews, we were a bit apprehensive but our experience from Sho Cho is overall positive. The sushi was very good - a bit pricey it is true - and the tempura was also very tasty. Everything was fresh, nicely prepared and the service was excellent. The music was not to our taste but Sho Cho is more of a bar/lounge than a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Posted by: VK on 05 Dec ' 12 at 21:11
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

Having ready the reviews, we were a bit apprehensive but our experience from Sho Cho is overall positive. The sushi was very good - a bit pricey it is true - and the tempura was also very tasty. Everything was fresh, nicely prepared and the service was excellent. The music was not to our taste but Sho Cho is more of a bar/lounge than a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Posted by: Alex on 23 Nov ' 12 at 08:49
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Wildly overpriced for very average (dipping down to mediocre) food. Tired nightclubby decor that feels out of place at lunch. With the doors to the terrace open, loaded with flies. Too many better destinations in town to waste time at what is basically a bar trying to be a Japanese restaurant.

Posted by: G. on 10 Sep ' 11 at 19:42
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

With still many vouchers to redeem, and after having tried two other bland sushi places in town, we decided to give this restaurant another try and this time it was great! Here the simple rule we followed: stick to raw fish.
And everything was ok: from the tuna and caviar salad to the seared sashimi to the exquisite (but still way too small) nigiri and makis.
Even the service this time was impeccable.
I will go back for sushi ( with a voucher).

Posted by: G. on 24 Aug ' 11 at 21:04
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Quite disappointing.
First of all it is definitely not authentic japanese sushi. The tempura are deep fried and oily, we left one entire plate virtually untouched and the waiters pretended not to noticed. The chicken yakitori was overcooked. The miso soup was a watery beverage with no flavour at all. As it happened to the autor of the review, the sushi at least saved the evening: very good sashimi and decent maki and nigiri. Nothing spectacular but very fresh and well prepared indeed.
The mi cut sashimi was also very satisfactory.
Unfortunately that is not enough when you consider the tacky ambience with fled screens to fake aquariums, clumsy service and the annoying smoking policy.

Posted by: Greg on 18 Jul ' 11 at 06:31
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Best for: Brunch served
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

My wife and I tried Sho Cho's in Abu Dhabi last night—their all-you-can-eat Sunday buffet—due mostly to my university students' rave reviews. Almost decided against it based on the rest of the user reviews here. In reality, at 110 AED per person, Sho Cho's Sunday buffet is a decent buy, although they will gauge you on the drinks (17 dirham for a fountain drawn diet soda, really?).

I found the blue and white decor to be cold, stark, and uninviting—as if I was in a hospital waiting room. Nevertheless, while variety is more limited than usual for an Abu Dhabi buffet, the quality of the food was better than expected. Their single table spread included fried calamari salad with several dressings, fried shrimp (spring) rolls, a standard assortment of tuna, salmon, and California rolls with fresh sashimi that is sliced to order, several hot dishes, and a fresh assortment of sliced fruit and delicious chocolate mousse.

Of course, Sho Cho in Abu Dhabi cannot complete with Wasabi but the food is a lot better than you'll find at many other places including Sumo in Masdar City and, at 110 dirham per person, if you can overlook the outrageous prices they charge for bottled water and fountain sodas (27 and 17 dirham respectively), it's a good buy. We won't return next week but—as we live nearby off the Island—we will be back for another Sunday evening buffet at some point in the foreseeable future.

Posted by: A Sushi Lover on 04 Oct ' 10 at 20:04
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  • Would you go back to this restaurant? Yes

ShoCho serves the best Sushi in town- no joke, perhaps slightly overpriced, but worth every fils. Everything tastes fresh!

Posted by: Phil on 19 Mar ' 10 at 14:33
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FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

great atmosphere with average over priced food

if you are after outdoor seats with great music then you should go, but please don't expect decent japanese food.

Posted by: MH on 07 Mar ' 10 at 12:14

Good food, but the high prices and small portions, not the wasabe, made my eyes water. Lovely patio with cool blue lighting, but can be noisy from the Meat Co. next door.

Posted by: Nina on 19 May ' 09 at 13:58
OverallDecorService
FoodAmbienceValue
  • Would you go back to this restaurant? No

Unauthentic overpriced sushi. Not as good as Sho Cho Dubai which despite the fact that it also has average sushi, it at least makes up for it by having amazing cocktails and a brilliant party atmosphere. Sho Cho Abu Dhabi's serene, cool atmosphere is ruined by having the noisy Meat Co. next door with its non-stop singing staff. There are far better sushi restaurants in Abu Dhabi.

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