When Filipinos talk about foreign cuisine, Japanese food is probably ranked high up together with Italian, Chinese, and American dishes. But with the many well-known and newly established Japanese restaurants in the metro now, deciding where to go isn’t always easy.
Considering quality of food and budget, here are some Japanese restaurants that always first come into mind:
One of the standouts in Little Tokyo in Chino Roces, Makati, is Izakaya Kikufuji
. People looking for a restaurant that has an authentic Japanese feel will find this place highly ideal. The open kitchen and sushi bar can be found right upon entering the restaurant. The atmosphere is relaxed and never uptight. Even though the restaurant staff and customers do not speak Nihonggo, you’d still imagine you’re in Japan because of the restaurant’s interiors. This Japanese dining experience is why people come to love the place aside from the hefty servings of Japanese staples like udon (PhP190 to PhP320)
, sushi (PhP45 to PhP175)
, sashimi (PhP148 to PhP1,120)
and yakimono (PhP370 to PhP1,460)
, among others.
Sashimi Platter normally consists of tuna, mackerel, salmon, eel, and lapu-lapu (PhP560). The combination depends on the ingredients available. (Photo by Writer)
It’s best to visit Izakaya Kikufuji during lunch because lunch meals come with free side dishes. Just be prepared to either wait a bit longer when ordering or not linger at your table as courtesy when people are overflowing the place. It is interesting to note that waiting time during peak hours such as lunch is not as long as one would expect it to be. Servers are friendly and accommodating which makes anticipating a Tempura Platter (PhP269) with a free side of Miso soup, Spicy Tuna Sashimi, and mixed veggies all the more a rewarding experience.
For lunch, mixed tempura, just like the sashimi platter, comes with free miso, sautéed vegetables, spicy tuna sashimi, rice, and cabbage in Japanese soy sauce. (Photo by Writer)
There is a reason why Crazy Katsu
branched out to different locations in the metro. From its first branch in Maginhawa Street in Teacher's Village, Quezon City, this katsu joint has since put up branches in B.F. Parañaque, Archer's Place in Taft Avenue, and another in Marikina to cater to their growing clientele.
Crazy Katsu first put up shop at Quezon City’s food street that is Maginhawa in Teacher’s (Photo by Writer)
Loyal patrons say they are smitten by their flavorful dishes, especially their famed Chicken Katsu (PhP155). And even with the new and established katsu-serving Japanese restos around, Crazy Katsu has become and is still the go-to Japanese food stop in Maginhawa despite having a limited menu. They have eight to ten main entrees (PhP130 to PhP190) plus Chicken Katsu Salad (Php130), miso soup (PhP30), and pudding (PhP100). Food there is delicious it’ll drive you nuts, if not enough to convince you to come back often. They’re not called Crazy Katsu for nothing, that’s for sure.
Crazy Katsu’s Chicken Katsu rests on a bed of cabbage on top of Japanese soy sauce. Red chili garnish this awesome breaded dish. (Photo by Writer)
NEW KAMAMESHI HOUSE
According to their Facebook page, New Kamameshi House
pioneered Japanese food in the country. Though the restaurant is not exactly “new” (it’s been around since 1981), the food here can definitely keep up with newer Japanese restaurants. Their kamameshi or kettle-cooked rice (PhP165 to PhP300)
, is one of the best, if not the best in the metro. So much so that its aroma alone, which has a smoky flavor to it, is enough to make your mouth water.
Photo from New Kamameshi Facebook page
Aside from their signature dish, their tori (chicken) karaage with fried potatoes (PhP260) is also a must-try. The boneless chicken meat is tender with a tasty, crispy skin. You also can’t go wrong with their yakimono barbeque/grilled dish or dishes prepared on an open fire, (PhP44 to PhP370).
In front of the branch at Quezon City Memorial Circle (Photo by Writer)
Who doesn’t think of Nihon Bashitei
whenever Japanese food is mentioned? Ask people where to get good Japanese food and this restaurant always finds its way into the conversation. How so? It’s simply because they serve good, quality dishes and at very reasonable prices to boot! The steaks and Wagyu are a bit pricey (which is actually the case in most if not all Japanese restos) but guests can still find meals and dishes that are suited to their budget.
Not to take away anything from its mother branch in Makati, the one in Tomas Morato has a more modern feel. (Photo by Writer)
Most of their visitors rave about the Spicy Salmon Sashimi and they’re right about it. It’s not too sweet and is dashed with the right amount of spice. For food to share, the Nigiri Sushi Mori (Assorted Sushi Platter) is a way to start. Their soups and ramen are also good for sharing as each bowl is good for 2 to 3 persons. For a group of three to four, a modest yet filling meal would amount to PhP1,400 to PhP2,000. That’s definitely a good deal!
Their Gyoza, priced at PhP180is, in a manner of speaking, “filled, full, and overflowing.” (Photo by Writer)
Their branch in Makati is a good place to hang-out with friends after work. Though some find it dim and old, the atmosphere doesn’t get in the way of you enjoying your meals. Also, just last year, a new (more modernly designed) branch opened in Tomas Morato, Quezon City. People from the north side of the Metro need not travel anymore if they want to experience Japanese food the Nihon Bashitei way.
The first floor of the branch in Tomas Morato. (Photo by Writer)
Whether you’re a fan of Japanese food or one who wants to try Japanese cuisine without risking not enjoying your meal or overspending, then don’t miss out on any of these Japanese restaurants. Each one is definitely worth a try!