There’s no more compelling reason to visit Japan than its food. Others might say to keep an LDR alive, to finally see cherry blossoms in person, or to test your sense of direction at Shibuya Crossing. To those weak reasons, foodies all say: “NOPE. Food is always the answer.” Just imagine tasting sushi, sashimi, ramen, yakitori and other Japanese grub as authentic as authentic can get.
While there’s no doubt that tasting the real deal in Japan is incomparable, the cost of getting a ticket and visa to Japan is also no joke. As you save up for that, appease your longing belly with these restaurants that come very very close.
8. Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant
21 West Capitol Drive, Kapitolyo, Pasig City
(02) 631 0597 | Facebook
Open everyday from 11am to 2pm, 5:30pm to 10pm
Budget for two – PHP1,000
Stepping into Haru is like being welcomed into a Japanese family home. The ambiance is on-point, from the quirky decorations to the servers in traditional Japanese costumes. With Haru’s wide selection of fresh and delicious Japanese food, your sense of taste will be just as satisfied as your sight. Try the Tako Sashimi or raw octopus meat for a change. For mains, their generously-filled maki rolls won’t disappoint. As for dessert, you can hop on over to Café Juanita, which is right beside Haru.
7. Arigatori Yakitori-Ya
Acacia Grove, Multinational Avenue Corner Judea Extension, Multinational Village, Paranaque City
0915 807 1888 | Facebook
Open Monday to Thursday and every Sunday from 5pm to 12mn | Friday to Saturday from 5pm to 2am
Budget for two – PHP500
Arigatori Yakitori-Ya is a breath of fresh air from the frigid and typical Japanese restaurants saturating the metro. Here’s a laidback, no-frills and genuine food spot for awesome yakitori and Japanese booze. If you’re confused with what to order, the Butabara and Enoki Maki are sure to please. A better decision, though, would be to take the whole gang to try everything on the short but well-curated menu. Don’t leave without trying their unique Matcha Beer and Cherry Blossom Shot, too.
Unimart, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan City | (02) 721 8816, (02) 721 8869
3F Trinoma Mall, North Triangle, Quezon City | (02) 901 0813
4F Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City | (02) 621 6791
Facebook | Website
Budget for two – PHP2,000
An oldie but a goodie, Kimpura is absolutely the go-to place for teppanyaki. Try not to drool as you watch the chef expertly cook your orders. You can’t go wrong with the Black Angus Ribeye Steak as well as with the Blue Marlin. Make sure you leave your no-carb-diet at home because Kimpura’s fried rice is a moan-inducing must-try.
5. Ogetsu Hime
5F SM Aura Premier, C5 Road Corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
(02) 519 9850, (02) 519 9740 | Facebook
Open on weekdays from 11am to 2pm then 5:30pm to 10pm | Weekends from 11am to 11pm
Budget for two – PHP1,500
Here’s your chance to try the best beef in Japan. Ogetsu Hime houses Matsusaka Beef, the highest-graded variant that’s considered even better than Kobe Beef and Japanese Wagyu. Seafood-lovers won’t be disappointed with the fresh selection at Ogetsu Hime as well. Look forward to rare finds like Chutoro sashimi and foil-wrapped maki rolls.