Aside from its authentic taste, the whole premise is patterned after a little village in Tokyo. For this reason, you can get lost, especially if you don’t know where to go. Depending on what you feel like eating, you can be able to try the authentic Japanese food in the area. But if you don’t know what each restaurant does best, you can get lost and end up disappointed. In order to have a pleasant experience in Little Tokyo, here are the restaurants that you must know of:
The first restaurant in the vicinity is called Oishinbo. As a combination of the two Japanese words: oishii (delicious) and kuishinbo (someone who loves to eat); the term roughly translates to ‘the gourmet.’ Despite its homey appearance and size, this restaurant serves up the finest dishes. Known for its Teppanyaki dishes, the restaurant is perhaps the only one in the area that is serving several items on their menu. When dishes have been cooked using an iron plate, it is called Teppanyaki.
Next stop is one of the famous restaurants in the area called Urameshi-ya. This little restaurant is patterned after a Japanese funeral ceremony as they have made use of sotoba (grave sticks) for their decoration. The food that you can find in this restaurant is the highly recommended, Yakiniku. Translated into English, it simply means grilled meat. These are thinly sliced pieces of beef, pork, and offal (internal organs and entrails) which are cooked over a grill. When served, they come with a soy sauce based dip.
If you’ve never heard of Japanese pizza, then this is one restaurant you should not miss. Kagura is most famous for its Okonomiyaki. When translated into English, okonomi means ‘what you like’ while yaki translates ‘to cook’ or ‘to grill.’ The reason why this dish is considered as a Japanese pizza adaptation is largely due to the fact that it is circular in shape and is served in slices. Prepared with a pancake batter and noodles, you can ask the cook to combine any other topping along with your order. When it is cooked, it is then topped with okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, nori, and thinly shaved bonito flakes that seem to be alive when the air conditioning hits them.
If you are a big fan of Takoyaki that is usually seen in the malls, then you have not tried authentic Takoyaki. A visit to Hana will introduce you to how well their version is different from those cheap ones in the malls. Because they are authentic, Hana cooks their Takoyaki according to order. So while waiting for this dish, you can try out the restaurants other specialties such as their donburi plates and salads. But make sure you try their Kakigori, a Japanese dessert composed with ice shavings, flavor, and milk.
When you want to eat something heavy, Choto Stop is the ideal place you should visit. Armed with a big serving for Bento dishes and Ramen noodles, you can fill up your empty stomach with just a couple hundred Pesos before calling it a night. This restaurant not only resembles a small and casual home but also has its own grocery lurking in the side. At only P75 a piece, you can buy just about any authentic Japanese item in the grocery. Don’t forget to try their ice cream imported straight from Japan.
Finally, the last restaurant on the list is Nodasho. Unlike the other restaurants in the area, this one caters to the people who have a higher budget. At the same time, the dishes here are good for one person only. But the good thing about this restaurant is that they are the ones that are really serving authentic Japanese foods. Nodasho is most famous for its sushi, sashimi and maki.
~o~Little Tokyo is located beside Makati Cinema Square along Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Although there are a few restaurants open for lunch, it is best to come here at night when you can really see the intricate Japanese designs of the vicinity.