Sakanaya, a new Japanese restaurant, replaced Sushi Avenue on Green Street this past November. The menu features many dishes but is best known for its sushi and ramen. A main reason how Sakanaya came to be the restaurant that it is today can be credited to an idea to start a ramen restaurant in Champaign, manager Nick Nakamura said. The owner, Jin Park, made this idea into a reality.
Featuring dim lighting, upbeat music and snug seating, the scene at Sakanaya resembles a cozy club or bar. The restaurant’s interior is one of the nicest on Green Street, making Sakanaya a great place for a special dinner with that equally special someone. You may also want to save your visits to Sakanaya for special, and less frequent, occasions due to the restaurant’s pricing. Typical of an upscale sushi bar, Sakanaya’s twenty-dollar meals may prove difficult for college students to afford on a regular basis.
However, the quality of both the food and the service truly makes up for the restaurant’s somewhat high cost. As soon as I walked in, the hostess welcomed me, brimming with positive energy. The server was extremely knowledgable about the menu and knew exactly what to recommend. My experience at Sakanaya left me fully satisfied. It had great staff, great food and a great atmosphere. However, keep in mind that Sakanaya is known to have very long waits on weekend nights.
“The only complaints I’ve heard about the restaurant, and I’m not trying to be biased because I work here, is that people have to wait about an hour to get in,” Nakamura said, “but if we had reservations it would be like, ‘What month would you like it for?’”
This long wait is partially due to Sakanaya’s recent popularity and partially due to the restaurant’s limited space and seating. Sakanaya can only seat about forty four people at a time.
If you are worried that you will never get to experience Sakanaya, well, I’ve got some good news. In the meantime, although it doesn’t seem like the restaurant will start taking reservations anytime soon, Park is in the process of opening Miga, a versatile restaurant, bar and karaoke lounge located on Church Street, right near Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works.
There will be three karaoke lounges in Miga: one to accommodate up to five people, another to accommodate up to eight and the largest up to fourteen. The bar will be able to serve between ten to twelve people at a time.
Location: 403 E. Green St, Champaign, IL 61820
Hours of operation: Monday – Saturday 11:30 am – 2:00 pm, 5:00 pm – 1:00 am; Sunday 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm