Sushi is still all the rage in Cairo and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, but with Makani and Mori Sushi dominating the market, it pays to shake things up once in awhile. Enter Sakura Sushi, a hidden treasure tucked away not far from Ethos Café in Maadi.

While a sushi outing to Sakura holds none of the glamour of a night out at Mori Sushi, the food’s quality makes up for the underwhelming atmosphere. Sakura Sushi has the atmosphere of a true family-style Japanese restaurant: while the decor is kitschy, service is impeccable and the staff are knowledgeable about menu options and helpful in providing suggestions.

To start off, try a traditional miso soup (10LE) or go off the beaten track with a Japanese-style seafood soup full of crab, shrimp and salmon (20LE). Salad options are much better than the usual selection at sushi joints, with interesting offerings like the wastachi, which is made from dried fish, spinach and soy sauce (10LE).

As for Japanese appetisers, we like the classic yassai tempura, which consists of vegetables fried in a light Japanese batter and served with a flavourful dipping sauce (25LE) and the tori karage, a scrumptious fried chicken concoction with ginger and soy sauce (30LE). There is also a noodle menu with basic ramen and soba options priced at between 10LE and 50LE.

Non-sushi main course options provide something above and beyond typical Japanese menus in Cairo. The salmon teriyaki (60LE) is a well-executed classic at Sakura, made with the freshest salmon and glorious homemade teriyaki sauce. We also like the shouga yaki, a delicious beef dish with ginger and soy (55LE). Order rice with these main dishes– Sakura does justice to this Japanese staple in a way rarely found in Cairo; so take advantage.

Sushi options are divided into per-piece selections which range in price from 7LE to 15LE and include standard selections of shrimp, eel and salmon. The per-piece special sushi options include interesting offerings such as salmon and tuna slices marinated in ginger soy and wasabi.

Sashimi is a great value at Sakura, at 40LE to 65LE for 10 pieces. Maki rolls come in 6 pieces and are priced at 15LE to 40LE. The 8-piece California rolls are a great choice. Priced between 25LE to 50LE, there are unique fillings like tuna, onions and spicy sauce with caviar. A variety of hand rolls and special combo plates are also available.

With a menu like this, taking a break from your typical sushi joint is more of a culinary adventure than a risk: next time the sushi craving hits; head to Sakura Sushi for unique and delicious Japanese dining.