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March 2023
Photography: Brandon Scott Herrell

Sankaku Onigiri Cafe and Bar is a warm and welcoming space inside of the Melrose Market, specializing in a selection of Japanese rice balls and sides with an inventive menu of cocktails and drinks. Founded by our dear friend Rie Otsuka, Sankaku originally started as a pop-up in 2019, has now found a permanent home next door to Glasswing.

Since moving to the US in 1999, Rie has dreamt of opening a restaurant inspired by the meals she grew up eating in Japan and Sankaku has a thoughtful menu that does just that. The idea is to mix and match menu items to create a complete meal, Rie recommends trying two different onigiri, one side item, and a cocktail. The menu will feature the same simple and delicious classic side dishes with a few rotating, seasonal options. The cafe has a intimate bar and table seating where you can watch Rie’s prep in the kitchen while dining.

"The Nasu Miso Onigiri, eggplant miso, is based on my mom's recipe that was one of my favorites growing up. My personal favorite dish always changes but I think right now it's the Ume Konbu Onigiri, the rice ball with pickled plum and seaweed," Rie says. Sankaku is one of our favorite places to eat in the neighborhood and some of our staff's go-to dishes include the potato salad made with sweet potatoes and red peppercorns, the Corn Onigiri, and the Japanese curry special that happens on select weekends. Sankaku just celebrated their one-year anniversary and we’re looking forward to all of the delicious meals we’ll have there in the year ahead.

"Onigiri is one of the most home-y foods in Japan, and at the same time is a very convenient quick snack that you can get anywhere in Japan.

Onigiri is such a great thing but it's not that popular in Seattle. I wanted people to know what Onigiri is, to be more familiar with it and for it to be everyday food for everyone."
-Rie Otsuka