Keiko Sushi and Wok has been open since December 2017 and has quickly found its feet as one of Laureles’ most popular Japanese joints. The owner, Arnaldo, and his team spent ten years working together in their sushi restaurant in Venezuela before coming to Medellín and bringing with them their beautiful food and perfect hospitality.
When I arrived at Keiko on a rainy Tuesday evening I was warmly greeted by the waiting staff and was shown to a table inside the cozy restaurant. The décor is clean and simple with wooden accents that give the place a Japanese feel, and there’s a nice patio area for al fresco dining if you’ve picked a nicer day to visit than I had. The kitchen is semi-open to the restaurant which creates a nice busy vibe, even if the restaurant itself is a little quiet.
Once seated, the waiter brought me a menu and took the time to answer my questions and provide dish recommendations. He also spoke English which is handy if, like me, you’re still working on mastering Spanish.
To start, I had an order of their fresh spring rolls, otherwise known as summer rolls. Seafood, avocado and noodles were wrapped neatly in rice paper, making for a much lighter appetizer than regular deep fried spring rolls. Eight pieces were 14,000 COP ($5.00), and they were the perfect introduction to my meal.
To follow, I had a serving of salmon sashimi and a portion of their most popular sushi dish: the Samurai roll. The sashimi cost 13,000 COP ($4.65), was beautifully fresh and tender, and was served in generously thick slices. It melted in my mouth and had a lovely light flavor to it, just as it should.
On to the Samurai rolls, which are 25,000 COP ($8.94), and I can certainly see why they’re such a popular choice with Keiko’s customers. Any sushi fan knows that it’s all about the rice, and Keiko’s was on point. The seasoning and the temperature were perfect, and the rice itself had just the right amount of texture and bite. The Samurai roll is filled with smoked salmon, cream cheese and chives, and then fried with a light and crispy tempura on the outside. These crunchy rolls are then topped with breaded prawns, palmito, and a drizzle of three delicious sauces. The rolls were incredibly light and in no way greasy, despite having been fried, and the balance of flavor and texture was perfect. They were so moreish that I was genuinely concerned I was going to order another portion.
Other than the extensive menu of individual sushi rolls, there are a few combo platters for 34,000 COP ($12.15), which are perfect for sharing. If you’re not in the mood for sushi, there is also a selection of hot rice dishes, and if you want to finish your meal on a sweet note, the dessert menu offers tempting Asian-inspired treats, including helado frito (fried ice cream) and banana tempura, all for 8,000 COP ($2.86) or less. Drinks-wise, I ordered fruit tea to warm my rain-soaked bones from the walk over to Keiko, but there’s also a wide selection of soft drinks as well as a couple of beers on offer.
My dining experience at Keiko was nothing short of brilliant. Service was efficient without being pushy, and I felt well taken care of. The food was delicious and plentiful, and it came out quickly, accompanied by plenty of ginger, wasabi and soy sauce. The food was so good, in fact, that I carried on eating for much longer than I should have and took the leftovers home for lunch the next day (food that good shouldn’t go to waste).
You can tell that the team have worked together for a long time, and this camaraderie is what makes Keiko such a comfortable place to eat. But, if you don’t fancy venturing out, Keiko will come to you, and their entire menu is available for pickup or delivery in the Laureles area.
If you choose to pay a visit to Keiko Sushi and Wok (and I think you should), I recommend that you order too much food, too. Trust me, you’re going to want to eat more of their delicious food than just one meal’s worth.
Calle 42 #42, Medellín (half a block from the 70)
Open 12pm – 10pm Monday to Saturday and 4pm – 10pm Sunday
All photos courtesy of Keiko Sushi and Wok except where noted.
This post was written in collaboration with Keiko Sushi and Wok.
Sophie is a freelance writer from the north of England. She has been traveling and working in South America since August 2017, and currently lives in Medellín. She runs the blog Table for One, where she writes about what it’s really like to travel as a solo woman.