Sneak Peak: Sabi Omakase & Izakaya is Coming to Oslo The Return of the Sushi-Master Alex Cabiao!

Ad for Sabi Sushi

Ad for Sabi Sushi

Sabi Sushi is coming to Oslo – full throttle! In March, Sabi Omakase opens at Vikaterrassen as an Oslo version of the successful Stavanger restaurant, but you know that already if you read my restaurant rumors. What you don’t know, however, is that the Nordic rendition of an authentic Japanese edomae sushi-ya will have 12 seats, an omakase (“trust the chef”) tasting menu and none other than Alex Cabiao behind the counter! Yes, that’s THE Alex – the former co-founder and -owner of Alex Sushi.

Presentation of the produce – the first step in the omakase experience.
Presentation of the produce – the first step in the omakase experience.

The Return of the Sushi-Master Alex Cabiao!

Alex Cabiao has left Alex Sushi to join Sabi Sushi’s expansion, and once again work as the edomae sushi master he truly is. Cabiao will be fully in charge of the restaurant, just like Roger runs the Omakase in Stavanger. A fun fact: Alex has been responsible for training basically every skilled sushi chef who works in Norway – including Jonathan Uy Romano of Jonathan Sushi and Roger Asakil Joya of Sabi Omakase.

Master Alex Cabiao once trained, the then young Padawan, Roger Asakil Joya
Master Alex Cabiao once trained, the then young Padawan, Roger Asakil Joya

Sabi Izakaya – Informal Japanese restaurant

Sabi Izakaya will open shortly after – serving both sushi and izakaya classics like shabu shabu, katsu, and binchotan-grilled yakiniku (just google them and drool!). «Izakaya» means an informal Japanese gastropub. The place will be run by head chef Vladimir Pak, who secured the 3rd place in the World Sushi Championship last year. He previously worked at one of the regular California-style Sabi Sushi restaurants at Hinna outside Stavanger.

One of Roger's creations at Sabi Omakase
One of Roger’s creations at Sabi Omakase

Jonathan Sushi Becomes Sabi Sushi

In addition, most branches of Jonathan Sushi in Oslo (Vinderen, Fornebu, and Stabekk) will become Sabi Sushi franchises during 2017. Sabi has also announced that they’re moving into Bergen with at least one restaurant, maybe more. This is full Sabi takeover!

Exclusive seats around the omakase sushi counter
Exclusive seats around the omakase sushi counter

Sabi Omakase is an Award-Winning Concept

Sabi Omakase was the most exciting new restaurant I visited in Norway in 2015. You can read about my first visit here, and I’ve later been back two more times last year as well. My fourth visit will be in February this year, but now it’s getting increasingly difficult to secure a reservation. No wonder, when you consider that throughout 2016 head chef Roger Asakil Joya continued to prove his skills over and over again. First, by being included in the White Guide at a Global Masters Level next to Maaemo and Re-naa. Secondly, by winning the Norwegian semi-finals of The Nordic Prize (also known as the Nordic 66 Best) – and Sabi Omakase might still win the finals in May.

White Guide and the Nordic Prize found it worthy – what will the Michelin Guide say?
White Guide and the Nordic Prize found it worthy – what will the Michelin Guide say?

Michelin Stars Next?

Last, but not least, Sabi Omakase was mentioned by the Michelin Guide in a recent tweet stating «Superb Norwegian ingredients at Sabi Omakase #Stavanger.» February 22nd has never been more exciting. Obviously, the inspectors have been there. I think there could even be a star in the horizon for chef Joya – who, by the way, secured the 4th place in the World Sushi Championship in both 2015 and -16.

People Say Sabi In Stead of Sushi

Sabi Sushi has been a huge success in my home region of Sandnes and Stavanger for years already. Within Rogaland, they’ve expanded to Haugesund and Bryne as well. Capital cities have a tendency to either not notice or certainly care less about stuff that happens in smaller cities. Maybe that’s why one of the countries largest newspapers described Sabi Omakase’s ranking in the White Guide as “unknown Stavanger-restaurant ranked at the same level as Maaemo.” In either case, Sabi is about to become a household name for Oslo citizens as well. In Sandnes and Stavanger, Sabi is close to being the generic name for sushi. Just like we say «google» instead of «search,» they won’t say «do you feel like sushi?» but rather «do you feel like Sabi?»

Sabi Sushi
Sabi Sushi

Make Sushi Great Again

Most sushi shops in Oslo are small, cheap, and let’s face it – rather low-quality establishments. Some notable exceptions are Alex Sushi, Jonathan Sushi, Kamai, and Jonoe. What Sabi Sushi has meant for Rogaland inhabitants is a stable quality, guaranteed fresh produce, and great tasting combos. Sabi Sushi has made sushi fun, safe and enjoyable, rather than risky and dull. In 2017, they will make sushi great again in Oslo and Bergen too. I say that in the least Trump-friendly manner possible, by the way.

Sabi Sushi has been a great success in Sandnes and Stavanger
Sabi Sushi has been a great success in Sandnes and Stavanger

Have you been to Sabi Sushi or Omakase? Please share your experience in a comment.


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Anders Husa

Anders Husa and Kaitlin Orr are food & travel bloggers and creative content creators. From their base in Copenhagen, they operate the largest and most influential restaurant-focused travel blog in Scandinavia.


  • Interesting read! I’m glad to learn about the izakaya in addition to the omakase concept. I have only been to Sabi in Haugesund, and although I was not extremely impressed, I greatly anticipate Sabi Omakase to arrive in Oslo. I really hope it will raise the bar for Sushi in the city. Someone who has already made an effort, and really deserves to be mentioned among your notable exceptions, is Babylon Surøl og Sushi. Personally, I think it’s the best sushi restaurant in Oslo now, and it will hopefully stay competitive with a slightly lower price range than Alex Sushi and Sabi Omakase (I assume).

  • Alex Sushi and Jonathan Sushi are a staple here in Oslo for me but I am pumped for the Sabi take over and honestly, it´s about damn time we have some proper Izakaya action in town! Love me some good ol´ Shabu Shabu and yes, Yakiniku too- already salivating!

    And that says a lot….from someone that has travelled a few times to Japan for some legit sushi- including Sukiyabashi Jiro, which was an experience in itself albeit a tad rushed! Speaking of, if you ever go to Sukiyabashi, check out Bird Land which is literally right there at the bottom of the Ginza station too! Was a super randomly awesome find and some of the best yakitori of my life!

    Great write-up, I am all pumped!

    • Happy to hear that you are as pumped about this as me! I was at Sabi Omakase in Stavanger again last night – Snapchat “andershusa” if you wanna have a look. It’s amazing. Thanks for the recommendation in Tokyo!

  • I’m so glad to hear about the news that Sabi Omakase is coming to Oslo!! I’m a long time follower of Alex(since 1984)and so happy to read that he is going to be in charge of the whole concept here in Oslo. You mentioned Alex, Roger, Jonathan but didn’t mentioned Mark, who I understand won The Global Sushi Challange in Norway 2015 and represented Norway in Tokyo. I saw photos with him together with Alex, Roger and Jonathan. Is he going to be with the others too or isn’t he? In any case, I wish them all the best!!

  • I am picky when it comes to eating Sushi. I just love Alex Sushi & I will follow & eat in the restaurant where Alex is the chef, The best Sushi in Norway. I’m lucky I live in Oslo & I have been in Stavanger too when they opened there. Best sushi ever❤️???

    • Hi Jennifer. Thanks for sharing. Alex Cabiao is now opening a new and more casual sushi restaurant together with Sabi in Oslo. He’s not the head chef at Omakase Oslo anymore.

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