Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

In Japan? Craving something more familiar? Sick of eating fish? Or just general Japanese food?

The Outback Steakhouse is a gift from above when in harsh times of craving. They offer up a variety of prime steaks and other dishes all for a good price. Meals range from 1000 Yen for a good hamburger to 2400 yen for a giant 400 gram rack of ribs with sides. You can’t go wrong with this place and there is definitely something for the whole family. Although in Japan the food is authentically ‘outback’ with good sized servings that will satisfy even the hungriest of taste buds.

Granted you have to pay at least double what you’d be paying for a bowl of ramen but one can’t eat ramen everyday. The food is great, the drinks menu is quite extensive and good value. For example a Long Island Ice Tea will only set you back 800ish yen, about 8 – 10 Aussie dollars, definitely bargain for money.

Noteable drinks include their Pina Colada, and the Strawberry and Bailey’s Milk. Both very good value and taste. If the food isn’t enough the atmosphere of place really makes you feel at home, with several gaijin (foreigners) regularly frequenting the bar/restaurant on a daily basis. To skip the queues head in around 6-7 on a Friday night to beat the 8 PM dinner rush where literally the whole restaurant fills up.

Giant crocodiles on the walls, boomerangs, and spears it just doesn’t feel like your in Japan upon stepping inside the doors. What’s better most of the staff speak a bit of English with the bartenders usually being foreigners.

As far as satisfying your home town cravings goes this is definitely something that one should visit. Head to the Outback Steakhouse for good food, good atmosphere, to speak English, and a good time. I will definitely head back whenever I get the chance.

Website: Outback Steakhouse
Location: Several locations throughout Japan, The one I visited:

Osaka Umeda
Telephone: +06-6457-7121

Shinsakurabashi Bldg, 1F,
2-1-24 Umeda, Kita-ku,
Osaka-shi, Osaka 530-0001

0 minute walk from “Nishi-Umeda” station of Yotsubashi-line

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Hello to all of you out there who might one day find this individual blog through the use Google. Today’s restaurant review is the diner chain of Lucky Pierrot’s. The restaurants are located throughout Hakodate and can easily be noticed by the huge clown signage that covers the building fronts of the individual locations. What’s special about these restaurants are they are family based with each restaurant having a different theme for example guardian angels, clowns or Santa clause etc. The theme usually completely covers the restaurants walls and display surfaces, which make for an interesting dining atmosphere.

The actual burger chain has 17 locations throughout Hakodate and serve up fresh burgers from around 400 yen, Japanese Omelet Rice from about 500 yen and a selection of Japanese Curries. What makes this restaurant different is that you order first, pay first then get served your food. In most Japanese restaurants you usually pay after you finish eating. I assume they must of had a history of walkouts.

I highly recommend the onion rings and potato chips as they are very fresh and come out perfectly cooked. I was slightly disappointed with my burger but I suppose it is because I always compare my burger to other good burgers that I had eaten in the past. One particular burger the Special Chinese Chicken burger is reported to of sold over 300,000 pieces between their 17 Lucky Pierrot stores last year alone. Give it a try if this is the kind of thing that your into. Overall I give the quality of the food about a 6/10 except for the chips which were easily a 8/10, the quantity of the food is easily a 8/10 with some of the larger 700 yen burgers stacking about 15 cm’s high and finally the value of the food I would probably give a 8/10 as well as one will easily get filled up on about 1200 yen or about 15 Aussie dollars.

The Lucky Pierrot that I visited was within walking distance of Goryokaku tower and is noticeable by the clown artwork on the outside as stated earlier. This particular Lucky Pierrot was frequented by the current Emperors daughter and her husband at one point which they proudly hang the photo on the wall.

All in All Lucky Pierrot’s is a good overall family restaurant with overzised Japanese portions (based on Japanese standard sizing of food).

Town Goryokaku Hakodate 30-14 (Goryokaku tower’s diagonal direction)
TEL 0138-55-4424 FAX 0138-55-0750

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TAkiBi is an Izakaya style restaurant that serves up many of your delicious Japanese Cuisines including Yakitori, Shabu Shabu, Ramen, Sashimi etcetera. Usually a restaurant that serves up so many different kinds of food lacks quality due to each individual cuisines cooking style. TAkiBi on the other hand serves up high quality meals on a range of cuisines for very affordable prices. Yakitori for 88 yen per stick, all-you-can-eat Shabu Shabu for 1700 Yen for one meat and 2000 yen for 2 meats both with unlimited vegetables, ramen for 700 yen a bowl and sashimi starting from 800 yen. The choices are endless when decided what to eat here.

A sign of a good restaurant is a full restaurant and Takibi is usually full with a waiting line but the wait is definitely worth it for any of the food types they serve here. Although it is slightly out of the way and the staff speak very little English, mere pointing at the colourful menu is all you need to get yourself started. I highly recommend the Shabu Shabu here as it is value for money and the quality of the meat served is definitely worth the trip to get here.

To get to this restaurant take the Nanboku Line from Sapporo station on the subway to Kita24Jo station, take exit one, turn right until you reach the T section and you’ll see TAKiBi on the corner across the street. . Google Maps has a good map if your lost.

Daini Chuo Juan Building, Floor 1, Kita-Ku Kita23Jo Nishi 4
Sapporo City – Hokkaido
Nearest Station: Nanboku Line: Kita24Jo Station
Open 5pm – 3am – 10% surcharge after 10pm
Photos Sourced from: HotPepper Website

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Banraiken Second Stage is conveniently located in the Ganso Ramen Yokocho which is pretty much an alleyway which only has ramen stalls. The stalls are all unique to some degree and offer a different take on the popular ramen dish. The stalls that also sell gyoza have roots in Chinese ramen soup while the stores that do not sell gyoza are typically the Japanese style ramen. To get to this restaurant get off at Susukino subway station and make your way to the second exit. Turn left onto eki-mae dori, turn left at Lawsons convenience store, walk a short distance and you’ll find an alleyway that is directly opposite a bank on the other side of the street, the restaurant is about 5 stalls in of which you’ll see the sign.

Once you get here you have the convenience of just pointing at the pictures and saying ‘kore’ this and they will ask you miso or soy. (Ramen comes in four flavours miso, soy, pork, and salt – all of which use a pork stock). I highly recommend the Cha-shu Ramen. This particular ramen store frys the pork and makes the sides crispy then puts it in the noodle soup later. The portion sizes of this restaurant are quite large and well worth paying the 700-1200 yen for. To fill you up more just grab a bowl of rice for about 200 yen and you should be pretty satisfied after your finished with both your ramen and rice. There isn’t much in terms of drinks, you can grab the usual beer as a side for 500 yen for a large 1 liter bottle or just go with the free water. An added addition at this restaurant is that you watch the chef cook the food in front of you (if your tall enough) which is slightly interesting to see how he prepares the bowl of ramen in a particular order.

For the fact that they fry the large slice and that the restaurant only sources it’s produce from within Hokkaido make this ramen restaurant worth trying to find. It is both unique and tasty in its own right.

To get here: Susukino Subway station exit 2 (follow instructions in blog)
Price Range 700-1200 Yen
Tel: 011-533-6460
Hours: 11:00 am – 3:00 am
Susukino Station, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

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There is so much that can said about the gods of ice cream. Well at least that’s my opinion on some of the best ice cream, milkshakes, desserts and fruit drinks that they serve up. There are several Marvelous Cream outlets throughout Japan, so I’m not going to get into the specifics on where they are actually but this review is more to advise you that if you come across one to definitely stop by and grab something to indulge in. To us in Australia the only thing close to this parlor would be cold rock, but coming close would definitely be giving too much credit to cold rock. Some of you would think that Hagen Daas is good, and no doubt it is. But Marvelous Cream is definitely the cream of the crop. The company started in Japan and has now moved to several locations throughout South East Asia (there’s a store in the City Link mall in Singapore). They are well regarded for this ice cream drinks, and more specifically their waffle cone ice cream. You have the option of choosing from their pre set menu or creating your own concoction. This involves select the ice cream, the toppings and the style (cone, waffle or cup). The most enjoyable part of this ice cream store is there extensively large collection of toppings. Not only is there a lot but they are as fresh and as high quality as it comes. Yes that’s right, there aren’t any aged chocolate bars that go into your drink here. In terms of pricing they are a little on the pricey side at a good 5 dollars for a scoop with some toppings, but the quality is about as good as it gets. It’s definitely worthwhile to stop here for a bite to eat.

Price Range: Medium to High
Quality: 10/10
Quantity: 8/10
Value 8/10

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Saizeriya is a original Japanese style Italian, family restaurant chain that emphasizes low price and high quality. As there is a lot of competition in the market of low price bistro style food, Saizeriya really gives you value for money. They are a more or less Italian based dining experience that provide soups, pizzas, salads, steaks and much more. What makes them stand out is that not only are they dirt cheap but the quality you get for paying peanuts is second to none. There are several locations throughout Japan and some throughout South East Asia and are not too hard to find if you attempt a quick Google search. Dishes range from 150 yen for a soup to 900ish yen for a steak which is far better than some of its close competitors that I have dined at in the past.

As the food is so cheap you can feast on a range of meals without putting too deep a hole in your pocket, I would even go as far as to say that dining here is probably a better experience and more value for money than your local KFC or McDonalds (and I love KFC). After you choose what you want to eat you can order bottomless drinks for only 180 yen! Definitely value for money. The pizza here is extremely cheap at only 399 yen for your basic range of cheese and some meat, add a bit of Tabasco sauce and you have a very delicious meal. The garlic bread is also noteworthy at less than 150 yen – you get 4 medium sized sticks that are seasoned to perfection and roasted only the perfect amount to give you a bit of a crunch. Although Saizeriya may have had some problems in the past, the management now has really worked its wonders to provide its customers a top notch, cheap dining experience for the whole family. All in all I would highly recommend coming to Saizeriya if you’re a little short on money or if your on a backpackers budget. They aren’t too hard to find and you wont be disappointed with what is dished up on your plate.

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The 21st of February marked one of my more enjoyable dining experiences at the ‘Kushiya’ fry restaurant in Osaka. The restaurant is located on the 7th floor of the HEP Navio building also known in Osaka for having a TOHO cinemas on the top floor. If your unsure where this is just ask someone from the younger generation to show you were HEP FIVE is and it’s right next to it. The 90 minute buffet costs approximately 2600 yen and for an additional 1050 yen you can have bottomless alcohol (beer and basic japanese sake etc) or for 525 yen bottomless soda. Kushiage (Kushi [stick] a’ge [fry]) Cuisine is a really interesting style similar to Yakitori, in which they put meat, vegetables, and seafood on sticks and deep fry them. Kushiya in the Navio building offers a large selection of Kushiage ranging from prawns, to liver and everything in between. My personal favourites are the chicken breast and the deep fried pumpkin.

Also included in the buffet price is a selection of 7 different sauces to go with your Kushiage, a general selection of miniaturized desserts, miso soup, rice, curry and salads. There’s practically something for everyone here at the Kushiya restaurant. Time is limited with only 90 minutes for the buffet and your expected to leave pretty much as soon as your time runs out. It’s an extremely enjoyable experience as you pick up the raw food on sticks, put them into a batter, coat them in crumbs and then deep fry them. With the small deep frying machine built into your table. The quality of the food is quite high but more importantly it’s a fun place to go with friends and family to enjoy eating together as a family (something that a lot of families lack nowadays). Once your finished cooking and eating your sticks, you can swirl your own ice cream with their soft serve machine or try taste testing the smallest dessert portions that I have ever seen. If that’s not enough, let your stomach settle with some good old fashioned green tea.

Although this is not the cheapest dining experience for a budget traveler at about $50 AUD per person, its is definitely a good, one off experience to enjoy with your fellow travelers. The trick that the restaurant has however is that because your cooking your own food, this takes time, and the food ends up being a bit oily. This oily-ness makes you full quite quickly so unless you eat really fast and bloat yourself you generally don’t get your full money’s worth. But on the other hand what price can you put on an enjoyable experience. All in all Kushiya was some good fun and after a long day exploring the To ji Street markets a 90 minute sit down was just what we needed.

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