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Is O Ya worth it?

Hi All -

I've been MIA traveling this winter - please don't hold it against me...I've missed my boston chow!

Now for my query: going to take fiance out for birthday dinner and the next place on our list of places to try is O Ya. Most people seem to love it, but then I've heard the people who think its insanely overpriced. What are your thoughts?

Thanks as always,

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    1. I'd say it is as well. I have had meals there where I have dropped big bucks there and left feeling a bit peckish, so I have changed my approach when visiting O Ya.

      I'll start the evening there and just have a few well thought out tastes then move on to different places and sample some other small plates or apps. Overall I don't drop as much cash and I end up with a wider variety of tasting experiences. While I understand this approach may not work for everyone, or may not be everybody's cup of tea, it works for me.

      1. Having been to O Ya twice, I will have to admit that I probably placed more into the 2nd camp, and would not be totally sure that it is worth it for the full dinner...

        BUT - that opinion comes with two VERY important caveats -
        First, and probably most importantly, I don't eat any meat or poultry, so the wonders of the pork dishes and the wagyu beef are lost on me. Some might say that they are definitely worth the price of admission, but I wouldn't know.
        Second, I love fish. I adore the tastes and textures of ALL kinds of fish. I will eat sashimi all day! I say this because at O Ya, I always feel totally overwhelmed by the accompaniments - personally, I think that many of the dishes have just too many taste sensations, between sauces, toppings, etc.

        Some really enjoy this incredible layering of tastes, I'm just not one of them - I love really wonderful, FRESH food prepared well. Given that, I tend to favor a more simple approach and so my dinners at O Ya always start out with excitement but end with a bit of disappointment.

        On the other hand, I love the space.... And Nancy and Tim and the staff are fabulous! So, my recommendation is maybe go for a wonderful sparkling sake and a few tantalizing bites for moving on....

        1. I agree that it is definitely overpriced. That being said, the first time I ate there I was blown away and figuring out how I could justify getting back often. On subsequent visits, I have left feeling a bit gouged. We have not been there in several months and are not rushing back at their prices (coupled with inconsistent service).

          I don't think you will regret at least trying O Ya, it is unique and excellent. You will have an outstanding meal and it is a great speacial occasion place.

          1. I'd say yes too. For me, the experience and the quality and creativeness of the food make it worth the price tag, especially for a special occasion meal. If you like sushi and sashimi, you can go to a cheaper place and gorge yourself for almost the same price by ordering a la carte, or you can let the chefs at O Ya take you through their fantastic selection of dishes.

            1. Simply: yes.
              On the other hand, it's all relative. If you don't go here, are you going to drop a similar amount of money at No.9, or another $$$ restaurant? If so, absolutely go to O Ya. If your other option is less money, but at a place you really like and have lower expectations of, it's a more difficult answer. I think that O Ya is serving the best food in Boston right now. I spent last weekend eating my way through NYC and thought it was better than many of the places I went there as well, including WD-50, certainly at that price point.

                1. There was a pretty extensive thread about O Ya's value or lack thereof about a month ago:


                  My personal take: I've been twice, and really enjoyed myself both times, but it did suffer from the "magic trick effect". My first experience was nothing short of a revelation. The second trip suffered a little from reduced novelty, as well as expectations having been set already. I'd still love to go back, but I'd personally like to wait a while before I do, a notion my bank account won't complain about.

                  1. There is no doubt that O Ya is insanely expensive, but value depends on what you look for in the dining experience and what you think you pay for with that. My circle is definitely split into the "value is all about the food - big, small, quality, taste, etc." vs the "value includes the experience - the space, the service, the atmosphere, the uniqueness and creativity of the food, etc." I usually fall into the former (as do most of my friends), though I have appreciation for the latter as well. Most of my friends would never go to O Ya. I've tried it once, enjoyed the experience (a number of the dishes were truly extraordinary!), would be glad to recommend this experience to others, but am in no rush to return.

                    1. Absolutely. I've been twice within a time span of about 3 months, and it was worth every penny. I'm generally not a fan of places where one ends up hungry after going, but O Ya succeeds because every bite is so exquisite that somehow you end up feeling sated even if you didn't eat a ton. In fact, I would argue that less is actually more in this case, and that if each dish came in larger portions, it wouldn't actually end up tasting as good...palate fatigue, I suppose? I probably won't be going again for a while, because it does practically require a second mortgage on one's house to dine there, but I will dream of it until I can afford to go again.

                      1. Short answer: yes.

                        Longer answer: you've got to pay to play. I've not enjoyed doing it on the cheap, it works, for me, only as either a blow-out (say $225 or so per person plus tip, but that includes a goodly amount of sake), or as few snacks with drinks after dinner.

                        1. My first reaction when someone asks if O Ya is "worth it" is that the answer for them is probably no.

                          It's like owning a yacht. If you have to ask what it costs, you probably can't afford it..(JP Morgan)

                          That said, I think the place is fabulous. "Worth it" is too much an individual decision. It costs a lot of money, but there's no where else in Boston to get what they offer...and it's more money in other places around the world.

                          Gini recently posted a $100 p/p omakase...+ drinks and tip..sounded great.


                          I think that's a great way to go...set a budget and go.

                          I doubt you'll walk out and say, "that was a great value"; but it's the only game in town for this type of cuisine.

                          1. Thanks everyone - great points. Good point Bostonbroad...we would go to another restaurant in same price caliber, so the $$ isn't the issue more of the feeling of will we feel totally ripped off afterward. From the sound of the thread, I don't think we will. I'm excited to try it and will report back.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: gramercyfoodie

                              We just went to O Ya for the first time tonight. Very pricey - $275 for two with tax and tip. However, we had 2 bottles of sake ($40 each). The food was really delicious, we thought. Definitely a few cuts above all other sushi/sashimi places we have been. And we sat at the bar and watched the care that goes into each preparation. We won't do this often, but definitely will go again, and well worth the trip.

                              1. re: wkathym

                                Thanks so much for reporting back! We are going to sit at the bar too - seems fun to watch the action.