Each evening at around 5pm, a cluster of people congregate out the front of a shiny shopfront on Marrickville’s Illawarra Road. They’re here for Okami, an all-you-can-eat Japanese diner with around 50 outlets all over the country. Not only is it outrageously cheap – $39.80 for two hours in which to tackle more than 30 dishes – but the food is fresh and tasty.

When you see the menu for the first time, it’s not hard to wonder if there’s a catch. At other all-you-can-eat venues at a similar price point you might expect a couple of meat or seafood dishes alongside a lot of low-cost carbs such as potatoes and rice. But at Okami, the menu is actually packed with dishes you’d happily order at any other Japanese restaurant. Think generous sushi and sashimi platters, beef carpaccio and prawn gyoza.

Other small dishes include squid salad, takoyaki (octopus balls) and chicken karaage. It’s wise not to fill up on those, though, considering the main menu includes hearty dishes such as chicken katsu, miso steak, udon noodle soup, prawns and yakiniku (grilled) beef. The dessert menu of ice-cream (vanilla, black sesame and green tea) and mochi rice cakes is a welcome light end to a meaty, carby meal.

Plus, there’s an à la carte takeaway menu of sushi, bento boxes, rice bowls and katsu. And if you can’t get to Marrickville (or struggle to book a table), Okami’s growing list of Sydney locations includes Silverwater, Penrith, Pennant Hills and Sutherland.

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Updated: November 7th, 2023

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