The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
Joined: 8 Jan 2009
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(Another interesting topic from the forums. Nominate your favorites, especially those hidden neighborhood gems!)

I had recently been reading the Hall of Shame thread, when that day I went out to lunch and tried a local Japanese restaurant that was recommended to me. I've been on a kind of quest lately to fine a really good Japanese restaurant near my home. There are so many Sushi places here I figured it wouldn't be too hard, but so far I've been disapointed in some way. A lot were pretty good, but missed on some point or other. Some have been plain bad and some have been good, but not good enough to justify the really high price. Which I'm willing to pay once in a while if it's really outstanding food.

Also, would like it to be a Japanese food restaurant, not just sushi.
And I think I found one; Sushi Kuni.
It's right in my hometown too! Cupertino, CA, on De Anza Blvd.

A cute little stand alone cottage house next to a modern strip mall, it used to be a home probably 50 years ago. I don't know how old the restaurant is but the setting is so cute with a tiny garden out front. It is small and can get crowded so it's good to come early. The inside decor had lots of pretty light wood and mats, and lanterns. Very fresh and clean looking. You can take a table or sit at the bar, no boats.
The menu has standard sushi fare, but also lots of other Japanese foods, like udon and such.
Also, I noticed that as it's getting warmer, they had an added menu of cold noodles, like soba. I didn't have them but I will be going back soon, and will try them.
We had the nigiri plate and the chirashi sushi. Oh soooo gooood!! the fish was so fresh! They had octopus on the chirashi and it wasn't at all tough, it was delicious! And the sushi rice!! Ah! I found my perfect rice at last! Glossy and translucent, with just enough chew, but tender. And the seasoning vinegar was just wonderful! Not too strong, but it could be tasted. MMMMM I'm in love!
I'll be going back a lot I think!
If you know of any other outstanding Japanese restaurant, please share!



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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Great topic BarbJ! Maybe we can post the general price range of our favorite restaurants too. I'll think about my favorites and put up a list later...


The Big Onigiri.

- Wherever you go, there you are. -

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I love Mangetsu in Frankfurt in the Varrentrapp Street. It's as close to an actual izakaya as it gets in the heart of Germany.
I don't rembember the prices though.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I love Sushi Kuni!! I lived in Sunnyvale a few years ago. Sushi Kuni is a gem! I would love being packed in shoulder-to-shoulder at the bar, with the doors open to try to offset the heat created by so many bodies in such a tight space. I usually do not like crowded places, but in this case, it is just THAT GOOD that I was just happy to have a seat. You brought a smile to my face to remember!

Another gem in the Bay Area is Jun's on Broadway in Burlingame. It's a bit further out of course, but totally worth it if you're going that way. It's a tiny place, not as aesthetically pleasing as Sushi Kuni, but the sushi is fantastic, and the service can't be beat. This would always be my "farewell meal" when traveling, since it is convenient to the airport. In the colder months, the staff would drag out a space heater just for our table.

Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

In Madrid:

Musashi - calle Conchas, 4. Madrid, 28013

There are lots of good japanese restaurants in madrid but this is the best. It's cheap (like 25 € per person...) and japanese people actually eat there. The princes of Spain went there to have dinner once so they rose the prices a bit since then. But it's good and cheap anyway :)


My bento blog:
My art blog:

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

There's one in my hometown of Summerville, South Carolina named Little Tokyo. It's run by a Japanese woman and her husband; they serve tonkatsu, udon, gyoza, ramen, tsukemono, unagi (my favorite), and a lot more! In the summertime nothing beats their hiya-yakko! It's pretty small, but packed every night, and their prices are amazing! I don't recall anything on the menu that's more than maybe $12.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Small world! I live in Goose Creek, SC, and used to live in Summerville. I haven't tried Little Tokyo -- where is it located in Summerville? The hubby and I need to get over to try it out! Also, if you're ever in the North Charleston area, you should check out the new little Japanese place in the Big Lots shopping center on Rivers Ave. I can't remember the name, but the food is awesome! The owner is Japanese and he personally serves the tables, and is probably the best service I've ever experienced (and the food is REALLY good)! The place is small and located right next to the SuperPets in that little shopping center (there is a McDonald's next to the shopping center, and besides Big Lots, there is a Northern Tool further down and also a bird pet shop place). Oh, and if you're in the area, also stop by the huge Asian market on Rivers (I believe it is called H &L Asian market). The produce and meat sections are great, and they really carry the biggest Asian grocery selection in the Lowcountry! :)

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

The place on Rivers Ave. in North Charleston is called "Hibachi Hut". It doesn't look from the outside like it would be a great place, being in a strip mall and all, but man is it awesome! Went there this weekend and had spicy tuna rolls, tempura fish (and chips). Have had the udon and several other items on the menu in the past, and all have been very good. Really, really great little place!

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

The New Haven, CT there is a great sushi place, Sushi on Chapel. It is downtown, across the street from Yale (I don't think directly across but close.) The prices are reasonable, my spouse and I ate their one evening for around $70. That was for six rolls (inc 2 specialty rolls), two salads and beverages. The service was great, as soon as we sat down we had bowls of wonderfully salty miso soup, its complimentary. The place is small and somewhat hard to find, but so worth it.

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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

this place has good food! It's a smaller resteraunt but has a really nice setting. The menu price is pretty reasonable too. You can check out their menu here.
I had their Pork katsu. It was soo yummy!

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Kappa Restaurant
Japan Town, San Francisco
On top of Denny's, right next to Play Ground. It's almost hidden!

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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I nominate Domo in Denver. It serves country style Japanese food. So it doesn't have classic sushi but rather scattered sushi [wanko sushi] and lots more variety of japanese food than I've found anywhere else. Their small bowls of appetizers are delicious and help introduce me to new tastes. And eating in their garden on a summer evening is a wonderful experience. Only negative is no reservations and difficult wheelchair access because of the loose rock area in front of the door.

Denver, Colorado USA

Bento-ing from: Boulder › Colorado › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I agree, Domo is awesome! Another great thing about the restaurant is the owner donates some of the money he makes to charities dedicated to helping children around the world! It's a wonderful kind of Japanese food that you don't usually find at other Japanese restaurants. Recently, my boyfriend and I attended an iaido (sword martial arts) seminar, with a high-ranking sensei who visited us from Japan. We all ate at Domo, and they were kind enough to let us eat in the museum section of it. It was great!

This restaurant not only serves great food, but it also has a wonderful museum section, a Japanese garden, and a dojo that holds regular Aikido practices!
Definitely a jewel of Denver, despite being located in kind of a weird place.


Onaka ga suiteiru!

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I'm in southern California (O.C.) and for ramen, I vote for Shin-Sen-Gumi. They have a few locations and specialties, such as yakitori, besides ramen. [] I frequent the Fountain Valley location. They specialize in Hakata ramen made w/ pork bone soup. So don't expect to see any other type ramen like shoyu, shio, miso, etc. The soup really warms your heart and soul. When you order the ramen, they will ask 1) how firm do want the noodles, 2) how salty do you want the soup, and 3) how much oil do you want in the soup? There are 3 levels, and I like to get "normal" everything, except when I get 2nd serving of noodle, I like that "hard" - which is firm and chewy. The extra noodle is $0.99, just ask for "kaedama" after you finish and the steaming 2nd serving will be dropped right into your bowl. I also like their gyoza; they are 1/2 the size of typical ones you see, but nice and garlicky (if you like garlic). They make a really good creme brulee (better than my local "french bakery"), but desserts are only served during dinner time. Price range $10-20/person. Very casual and very small, so be prepared to wait especially during dinner hours (rush to that clipboard by the door and write your name down!)

Tonight, I'll be trying out a hole-in-the-wall sushi place that got really good reviews on Yelp!. It's supposed to be very authentic place run by a Japanese couple. They would sometimes close as early as 8pm if they run out of fish. I'll let you guys know if it's really good.

Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Oooo! How fun! This got on the front page, thanks Maki!
Great finds so far everyone!

I forgot to report on the prices at Sushi Kuni- The lunch special is about $9 and the nigiri plate and chirashi bowl were both $15 each. Pretty decent prices for any restaurant around here, but really good for a great little restaurant.

Bento-ing from: Houston › Texas › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Domo in Denver is very good. Miyako in Houston is one of my faves..

Bento-ing from: Nagoya › Japan
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

There's this wonderful Korean grocery store called "Han Ah Reum" (I think?) around my parent's house, and a restaurant connected to it that's absolutely fabulous. They serve a few Japanese dishes, which is why I'm counting it here - udon, sushi, and so on - but the Korean food! A starter course of Korean pickles, stone pot bibimba with a real live raw egg on top... it's to die for.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

If you're ever in Tucson, try Sachiko. Yes, they have sushi (which is heaven) but they also have a lot of other Japanese items. I was there just last night and had a great squid salad and scorching hot bowl of udon. And I mean HOT. I even have the tongue burns to prove it. I know I should have waited for it to cool down, but I couldn't help myself!

Later this summer, I'm going to be in Texas for awhile. Does anyone know of good Japanese restaurants in Lubbock, TX?

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

A few of my favorites are:

Los Angeles area:
- Kappo Honda in Fountain Valley for izakaya-style food. They even have a couple of zashiki tables! Lots of yakitori, delicious cooked fish and meat, good sushi and sashimi, and a nice sake list. Oh, and Kirin on draft!
- Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo, LA has great sushi that is VERY well-priced for the quality. I always order ankimo, lots of ikura and uni, and oysters. The fish is very fresh, the service is good, and they shy away from silly Western-style rolls.
- The same can be said of Sushi Ike in Hollywood. It's in a nondescript strip mall on Hollywood Blvd., but the food they serve is incredible. There's a delicious seared octopus appetizer, the soft shell crab is always perfect, and the fish is top notch.

New York:
- For sushi, my favorite hands-down is Taro Sushi in Brooklyn. It's like being in Tokyo (complete with the jazz vocals soundtrack!). And it's a great bargain - the twelve piece sushi omakase comes with amazingly fresh fish (no boring salmon and tuna on this menu), an appetizer, and a roll. They also have soba, udon, curry rice, and a number of small plates from the kitchen that are yummy.
- For traditional home cooking, Tsukushi in Murray Hill is incredible. You walk in, sit down, and are served whatever the chef is cooking that evening. The meal consists of five to six courses and usually includes soup, sashimi, broiled fish, shumai, and a couple of vegetable plates. You can buy a bottle of sake or shochu to keep behind the counter on reserve. Delicious!

Bento-ing from: Albany › New York › USA
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Some suggestions in New York City; Kyoto; Albany, NY
jen wrote:

- For traditional home cooking, Tsukushi in Murray Hill is incredible. You walk in, sit down, and are served whatever the chef is cooking that evening. The meal consists of five to six courses and usually includes soup, sashimi, broiled fish, shumai, and a couple of vegetable plates. You can buy a bottle of sake or shochu to keep behind the counter on reserve. Delicious!

Yes, yes, yes! I'm glad to see it mentioned -- I think the meal my fiancée and I had at Tsukushi a few years ago (see for her account of the menu) is quite possibly the best Japanese meal I've ever had, and not too expensive for what we got. (Beware...reservations are required.)

Closely matching the quality of Tsukushi is Tsurukame-dō (鶴亀堂, I think) not far from the north end of Teramachi (寺町) in Kyoto (I can't seem to find an exact address at the moment). Unfortunately, if I'm reading this page correctly, it may have gone out of business. That would be a pity -- it's a very, very good restaurant, not terribly expensive. One of the highlights of my meal was some sort of white fish, skewered and grilled over charcoal in such a way that the fish was charred for flavor, yet still melt-in-your-mouth tender. I have no idea how they accomplished that!

In the Albany, New York, area, where I live, everyone agrees that the best sushi is to be found at Yoshi Sushi in Latham. It's every bit as good as the sushi shops you'd expect to find in New York City or the expat areas of Westchester. There are also a couple of good teppanyaki places (notably Miyako and Hana, which also does good sushi).

I'll post more as I think of them...


Marnen Laibow-Koser
Composer / Web developer

Re: Some suggestions in New York City; Kyoto; Albany, NY

That's around the corner from me!!

Bento-ing from: van nuys › California › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

My all time favorite will always be Edoko in Northridge, CA sadly it's no longer there and was replaced by something else =( the sushi was fresh and the atmosphere was relaxing, and not to mention very affordable!

Chop Sushi
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Tasmania, Australia:

I nominate "Hana", which is next to the Big W complex in Glenorchy. It's almost hidden behind the cinema, but it has great sushi, authentic Japanese meals and tasty soups. The shop is run by a Japanese family and has mother, father and son working in it. I go there so much they actually know my name and greet me when I come in. The service is so friendly and prompt and everything is made fresh before your eyes.

If you live in the Hobart area, I can definitely say Hana beats non-Japanese owned resturants like Niko Sushi Train.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Hi folks,
I just got some sushi for lunch and they were absolutely delicious!

highly recommended.


Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

San Diego-there are so many places, but not many good ones unfortunately ;__;

in Kearny Mesa: izakaya sakura (overpriced for an izakaya, but it's good. the lunch menu is better priced. they just started selling hiyashi chuuka! I'm so excited to go tomorrow~)
santouka ramen (flavor isn't exactly the same as Japan, but it is still the only ramen I will eat in town! cash only)

Bento-ing from: Avignon or Lyon, depends › France
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I should be ashamed, because even though I love japanese cuisine and cook japanese recipes regularly, I rarely eat in a japanese restaurant... ^^p (I've got an excuse, though : around here japanese restarants tend to be expansive but not so good).

Anyway, there's three japanese restaurants standing out from the usual sushi-yakitori places, judging from their menu and reputation among expats :

76, rue d'Anvers - 69007 Lyon
Métro Jean Macé

phone : 04 37 28 08 77

Closed on Sunday and Monday

A restaurant held by a korean-japanese family with reasonable prices, serving good quality food. Try their Korean specialities too !

Chez Terra
81, Rue Duguesclin - 69006 Lyon
Métro Massena
Tél : 04 78 89 05 04

Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 - 13:30
19:00 - 21:30

- lunch menu : 11 - 21€

A rather unique restaurant in lyon - don't stick to sushis and try more original dishes ! A word of warning though- the place is tiny, so you'd better have a reservation if you go there on the weekends.

11, Rue Lanterne - 69001 Lyon
Tél : 04 78 39 31 91

An okonomiyaki restaurant ! And very good prices, too : it's perfect for a quick break.

And no, I haven't tried those places myself. My friends are a bunch of chikens, they stick to 3 sushi restaurants... But I heard good things about those places.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

In Madison, WI, USA, I nominate the Sushi Box restaurant on Old University Avenue at Highland Avenue. Close to University and Veteran's Administration Hospitals, and the Forest Products Laboratory (where I work), I eat there every couple of weeks (as carryout). My favorite is the nori-maki, especially the Negihama-Maki (yellowtail and scallion), but the salmonskin tekamaki and tonkatsu are wonderful, and the chicken teryaki is best with the japanese vegetables (includes pickled daikon, lotus root and a number of other vegetables I can't identify). Also excellent miso soup. I'm still working my way through their menu, last week I had inarizushi for the first time--very nice! You can see the menu here:

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

My favourite japanese restaurant in Paris:
- Hotaru
18 rue Rodier
75009 Paris

I used to live just in front, and would always take their chirashi salad away. The chef is a French-born Japanese who went to Japan to get cooking training for 8 years... It was worth it! The menu is varied and ever-changing (especially the "plats du jour"). Fresh and good quality products, prepared with great care in kaiseki style.
The decoration is not very appealing, that's why I think it had some trouble getting started... but now the word seems to have spread, and it may be better to make a reservation on weekends.
Price range: 30€-60€

Bento-ing from: San Francisco Bay Area › California › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Yuki in Fremont, CA: great sushi and sashimi (their uni is extremely good and they smoke their own salmon, IIRC), and they sometimes have special items like kiridanpo. The Japanese friend who recommended it said "the Japanese chef likes to experiment" so sometimes they have things like baked oysters ... hmm! They have excellent cooked food; it's the first place I ever liked saba shioyaki. Last night I had fried seaweed for the first time.

Clover Bakery in San Jose, in the same shopping center as Mitsuwa but often overlooked, serves yoshoku at dinner. They have a wonderful curry with kabocha, and a really good omuraisu with demiglace (much better than Curry House's).

Ajisen in Fremont, CA is a branch of the Japanese chain with ramen and kara-age, and is my favorite nearby choice for ramen, even though my pocketbook weeps as I recall $5 ramen in Nara with all the garlic I wanted to add to it just sitting on the table...

On the Bridge in San Francisco, CA, makes their own curry from scratch and has other yoshoku specialties like pepperoncini spaghetti, mentaiko spaghetti, hamburg steak, etc.

I could go on and on! (I might have to try Sushi Kuni sometime--I know there are a bunch in the Cupertino area, and lots of others.)

There's a lot of excellent Japanese food in the Bay Area, but you really need to get recommendations. If you just pick a random Japanese restaurant, it will probably be an inauthentic teriyaki-California-roll place essentially run out of a kit by a non-Japanese-trained staff, with low standards and boring (at best) flavors, or a mile-long list of fancy, exotic sushi rolls made with low-grade fish. Those places are everywhere, and some of them even look very nice.

Oh, I just went to Chin-Ma-Ya in LA's Little Tokyo, which was Japanese-style Chinese food, and it was good too!

-- (for English learners) (for teachers)

Bento-ing from: Cupertino › California › USA
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Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Thanks for the list Wintersweet, I'll have to try them. A lot of them aren't too far from me.
Mitsuwa is pretty close, I'd like to try that Clover Bakery soon! Sounds great!

It's great to hear about so many good places in so many different areas of the world. Keep 'em coming! This could be a useful list for those who'll be traveling.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

For the western United States, I'd recommend Sushi Ya; I'm not sure of all the locations, but there's at least one in Orem, Utah. Their tempura rolls are delicious, and my girlfriend cannot get enough of their unagi nigiri.

Another restaurant (multiple locations) that my family enjoyed visiting was Benihana; dining groups are seated around a hot, flat grill where the cook comes out to prepare their orders at the beginning of the meal. My family visited for my grandmother's birthday; we were impressed and sated.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Tokyo Japanese Store in Pittsburgh, PA.

It's actually more of a convenience store than anything, but they have dynamite bento boxes for lunch. The gyudon is utterly amazing. I usually stop by at least once every other week to stock up on groceries and other miscellaneous snack foods. When I worked in the area, I stopped by every day for lunch. Truth be told, the only thing that kept me sane some days was the promise of a fresh tonkatsu bento and an ice cold CC Lemon.

Top it all off, the prices on pretty much everything are fairly reasonable.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Atlanta, GA

Tanaka off of Alpharetta Hwy.

Great little restaurant that serves bento boxes, udon, donburi, Soba, Sukiyaki, shabu shabu, shioyaki, chirashi sushi, onigiri, and the list goes on. So good > . <. Prices are anywhere between $11-$20 for dinner

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

In the Ann Arbor/Canton Michigan area:
Yamato, in Kerry Town Ann Arbor: Must be the best Katsudon in the US. A friend from Japan says it is the only Japanese owned Japanese restaurant in the city (and there are a lot of Japanese restaurants) and so maybe that is why. He also thinks the Katsudon is comparable to places he liked in Japan.

Matsuchan in Canton:
The best ramen I've ever had. Even the various places I ate in Japan don't quite match up, for me at least. The curry ramen is the way to go. I hear they make the noodles themselves. Most customers and all employees are Japanese, so that speaks well for it. Also, I like the bookshelf of Japanese manga and magazines to read while waiting.

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I'd like to suggest the following for San Francisco (the dollar/euro signs are out of a max. of 5):

Kiss Sushi - Tiny itsy bitsy restaurant with a more or less one man show. I had the omakase menu and really, it was exceptional. $$$ 1/2

Sushi Sho (north Berkeley) - Father and son sushi team (not sure if that is still the case though...). Strictly traditional, no exotic fillings to be found anywhere. Pressed sushi is extremely well done. The owner Aki-san is known to correct people who eat their sushi incorrectly. $$$

Minako Organic Japanese restaurant - A mother daughter team who serve up some classic home style cooking. Hospitality is warm, food is always good, and they are super attentive to vegetarians and vegans. $$$ 1/2

And in Paris:

Kunitoraya - Their noodles are addictive, made in house. There are also some very tasty classic side dishes one can order as well. You will have to wait in line for at least 20. min.s to be seated, unless of course you eat at 3pm. €€

Toraya - Classy Japanese tea salon. €22 is the going price for a prix fixe lunch, but it is excellent and comes with dessert and tea, etc. They are well known for their wagashi. €€€

Ozu - Just changed their menu strategy so instead of pricy prix fixe meals, they are offering tapas style which is way more affordable. Finely executed food, and you get to dine by a huge aquarium to boot (it's housed in the aquarium, well more like hidden, by Trocadéro).

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

in houston, try sasaki. it is run by a japanese man and the food is authentic. having lived in japan for 18 years, it brings back home. no offense to the earlier person who posted miyako as their favorite but miyako has nothing compared to sasaki.

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Put "city / town / county" in subject heading for easier sorting

I do lots of traveling so I like this thread, but before the listing gets to overwhelming, I've got a suggestion. In the SUBJECT heading, can the posters put the name to the "city / town and country" of their favorite restaurant. It makes it a lot easier for me to scroll through and find a good Japanese restaurant when I get to a certain city.

The information about the Japanese restaurant in Madrid is helpful. About 15 yrs ago, I was in Malaga studying Spanish for a month & there was a Japanese student who was studying Spanish to lead Japanese tourists on trips to Peru (I never asked him why he was studying Spanish in Malaga instead of Peru). He was there for 12 months. Anyway, one day we got a craving for Japanese food, but all we could find was a bad Chinese restaurant. Luckily, the restaurant did serve edible rice and Wor Won Ton soup which satisfied our food craving. I felt bad for him because he was only on week one of a 12-month stay. With access to so much seafood, I wonder if a good Japanese restaurant ever opened up on the Costa del Sol area?

Anyway, finding a good Japanese restaurant is fairly easy on the west coast of the USA / Canada. If anyone has any recommendations for Hutchinson, Kansas and Bloomington, Illinois (or surrounding areas), I'd sure like to know about them.

I'm also curious about Mexico. Puerto Escondido had a Japanese restaurant, but when I went there, it had gone out of business.

Johann Redenbacher
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

There was this place out in Las Vegas in Bally's, used to go by the name "Monorail Sushi". I always ate there at least once every time I was in town for the NAB convention. I loved the decor, the Chef was an enjoyable fellow and very skilled, and it must have been good because the delegation from Hitachi was always there and it seemed Sony always had a private affair going on in the dining room.
Alas, I haven't been there in 3 years.

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
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Zürich and environs, Switzerland

Great idea SojoMojo! I put the location of my listings in the subject field.

I have two suggestions for Zürich, my home town for more than a decade (soon not to be…but I’ll coming back for work etc. stuff a lot, and probably eating out more as a result!)

For nothing fancy but reliable: Restaurant Takano City, at Löwenstrasse 29 (map, restaurant web site), just a few steps from Migros City or the main Globus store on Löwenstrasse. (From the main train station, just get out at the Löwenstrasse exit and walk down the street past Migros City, on the right side of the street. Or take a tram to the Löwenstrasse stop.) They have set menus ranging from 22 CHF to 48 CHF for lunch (you can also order a la carte) - things like katsudon, ebi furai, sushi, etc. It’s on the level of a teishoku-ya or a better quality Japanese department store restaurant (complete with plastic models of the food in the window), so if you’ve been to Japan you won’t be wowed, but it’s reliable and authentic. It is rarely full at lunchtime really so you can usually walk right in. At dinner time they have an expanded menu, plus ‘sushi a discretion’ (all-you-can-eat) 3 times a week, which partly comes by conveyor belt, partly just on a plate. The prices are quite reasonable for expensive Zürich.

Incidentally, their website is exactly what a restaurant website should be - the pertinent facts on the main page (location, business hours, phone numbers); easy to read menus (big popup .jpgs), no self indulgent Flash splash page and other la-di-da. As a web geek at heart, for that fact alone I love this place! (See my rant about restaurant web sites!)

The other one is about 30 minutes drive from Zürich and in a rather different league, and very unique for Europe. Hotel Restaurant Hasenberg, Hasenbergstrasse 74, 8967 Widen (location, web site) or in Japanese 割烹温泉旅館 「兎山」- Kappou Onsen Ryokan Usagiyama. (Hasenberg, or Usagiyama, means Rabbit or Hare Mountain. How can you resist a place called Bunny Mountain?) This is a real hot springs traditional Japanese inn, serving kaiseki-style food and sushi, in the quiet countryside of Switzerland. They have a small inn with some Japanese style rooms complete with private open-air hot spring baths with real mineral water piped in from Baden (they also have regular Western style rooms). You don’t have to stay there though to enjoy the restaurant, which can be a bit pricey (they got their first Michelin star this year, which would clue you in to their price range); however they do have all-you-can-eat conveyor belt sushi every Thursday lunch, takeout bentos, and a new café. I was waiting until I could afford to stay for a night in one of their Japanese rooms, but that day hasn’t come yet, because the room I was aiming for costs 500 - 600 CHF per night per person!! Their hot springs spa is open to all restaurant guests too, says their website, but I’ve never asked about that.

Food wise…the conveyor belt sushi is okay, nothing special to me, but hey - that price for decent sushi in Switzerland? Not too bad. The other food is better; not up to top kaiseki standards in Japan perhaps, but about as good as you can get in Europe I think. And the name…Bunny Mountain! How can you resist. Well worth a side trip from Zürich I say. I’ll be going there tomorrow in fact, and will report back with more details.

(Edit: See reply to this comment…I was a bit disappointed by my latest visit to Haseberg >( )

Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
User offline. Last seen 3 weeks 2 days ago.
Update on Haseberg and Takano

(Apologies, this is a long somewhat borish rant.)

Update on both Haseberg and Takano, since I was uh, lucky enough to go to both yesterday...well it was a special day, so it was a day of ...specialness ^_^;

Anyway, Haseberg. I have only had the conveyor belt sushi there before, and have been a bit...underwhelmed. Yesterday, we had the 'kaiseki menu' for the first time, for lunch. It started out okay. The home made edamame tofu (made with kuzu, like this sesame tofu) was nice though not amazing or anything. The trouble started after that though.

The second course of the 'kaiseki' courses (and note the quotes around 'kaiseki') was a Sushi Roll Of The Day. Now, as I mentioned previously Haseberg got their first Michelin star this year. Well, that Sushi Roll of the Day dish consisted of one cooked shrimp with arugula, two imitation crab/surimi, and...2 pieces of ... tuna mayo roll. (Yep with canned tuna.) How the heck can you get a Michelin star and serve *tuna mayo roll* as part of a menu that costs nearly 80 CHF pp? I was speechless.

Then the main course. I'd ordered tempura, and the other people at our table had ordered sukiyaki, which we expected would be cooked by us at the table. Unfortunately it was cooked at the table behind us, sort of out of sight, by a very inexperienced waitress. It took her ages, and in the meantime she'd already brought out my tempura, so I either had to wait for her to finish cooking everyone else's sukiyaki, or let the tempura get cold. (The tempura itself was fine, hot and crispy, and it came with some nukazuke.) At the urging of the other ppl I started on my tempura, as slowly as I could. At one point I was almost eating my rice one grain at a time. And she STILL wasn't done with the sukiyaki. Since everyone else was Swiss/not that exp. in Japanese food I felt embarassed, though I know that's irrational. (I didn't recommend the sukiyaki, since to me sukiyaki is home cooking, not restaurant, but someone in the group wanted it.)

So anyway, the meal was basically almost ruined by the inexperienced waitress. One other thing that bothered me lots about the waitress was that she did not speak German. I mean, in Switzerland? Granted, most Swiss ppl do understand English, but still, not acceptable in a restaurant with pretensions to high standards. To make things worse, she was speaking English to everyone in a tiny, cute voice that we could barely hear. And she also left our water on yet another table, while we were all sitting around with empty glasses, so that one of our group had to stand up and walk over to fetch the bottle to pour it. Why not leave it on our table ffs?? And it wasn't like she was busy - she only had 1 other table of 2 besides us to take care of! She really was a classic case of how incompetent floor staff can seriously mess up a restaurant meal.

Anywho, I think that all in all, from my experiences, Haseberg is very uneven. I really can't believe that the Michelin reviewer or reviewers or whoever went there really knows about Japanese haute cuisine. I will probably give them another chance sometime but...if I run into *tuna mayo* roll again, other than perhaps as part of the all-you-can-eat sushi, then that's it. And I sooo want this place to be really, really good! The setting is so beautiful (gorgeous views of rolling green countryside, with Lake Luzern (I think) and mountains beyond). And the concept of having a Japanese onsen ryokan in the Swiss countryside is so intriguing. But....tuna mayo roll!

Moving, I felt so dissatisfied by that lunch, that on a whim The Guy and I decided to go to Takano for dinner. I've never been to Takano for dinner before, just lunch, so I didn't know that they have sushi a la discretion (aka all-you-can-eat) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is 58 CHF, so actually more expensive than the 38 CHF Haseberg charges for theirs. But, no tuna mayo in sight! The fish was quite fresh, not up to top Tokyo sushi standards certainly, or even top NY or top LA etc. standards, but really perfectly acceptable. I think I had about 20 pcs (yipes) and was happy with almost everything, though the tamago was a rather wishy-washy and the unagi was a bit sad. The shimesaba was nice though - haven't had that in ages. Overall I'd say it was a very good value, and the best sushi I've had in more than a decade of living in Zürich. Takano has no pretensions to haute anything, but everything I've had there is honestly prepared, reasonably authentic, and a good value for this expensive city.

Thumbs up to Takano! Thumbs wavering on Haseberg. Thanks for listening if you made it this far. (Now you know why I rarely do negative restaurant reviews on my blogs ^_^;;)

Bento-ing from: › Vermont › USA
Joined: 11 Mar 2008
User offline. Last seen 7 years 46 weeks ago.
West Lebanon & Hanover, NH, US

Yama is my favorite restaurant in the Upper Valley area, serving Japanese & Korean food. Their original location, at 96 Main Street in old West Lebanon, (603) 298-5477, is small, sweet, and pretty no-frills. One charming feature are the walls full of hundreds of snapshots of happy customers & kids, plus another wall with the artwork that kids make on paper placemats. In other words --it's a homey place.

Yama opened a second larger location in Hanover (Yama II) for the Dartmouth college crowd, and while some of us were worried how the expansion would effect our original favorite, it turns out that the food is still excellent and the service just as attentive, and now it's easier to get a table at peak hours. Yama II is located at 72 South Main Street, Hanover, NH 03755 (603) 643-4000.

The owners, Insook & Huang, are exceptionally nice people, and good restauranteurs: making a point of remembering the favorite dishes of regular customers. The sushi is delicious, and the traditional Korean dishes are uniformly fresh and flavorful. They have lunch box specials which are so delicious and, honestly, crazy-inexpensive. My favorite is the salmon teriyaki lunchbox: the salmon itself is always perfectly cooked, moist, and flavorful. And there are so many small dishes and salads to accompany the salmon that even I, with my hearty appetite, can have leftovers for a light dinner or breakfast. I particularly like to make congee/jook for dinner/breakfast, and eat it topped with all the little leftover pickles & salads. Yummy!

The spicy pork bulgoki is very good, and their ma po tofu is yummy, if not authentically Sichuanese. I like their playful local sushi rolls too, and agedashi-tofu, and their kimchi pajun (pancakes) are yummy. The kimchi chigae is spicy and delicious, and the stone-pot bibimbap is also excellent.

I have celebrated my birthday dinner at Yama for the last several years, and the Yama folks treat me like a princess, bringing out a huge scallion pancake with a birthday candle, compliments of the house :-) Some of my friends say that they have experienced slow service, but I actually never have. The waitstaff are mostly Korean, with a few really lovely guys from El Salvador.


Bento-ing from: › California › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 30 weeks ago.
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Oh Barb, you have to go to Fuki Sushi.

4119 El Camino Real | Palo Alto | California

It's absolutely beautiful, the fish is outstanding, an amazing sushi list and a whole menu of non-sushi stuff, the wait staff is attentive but not overbearing ... it can get pricey but it's tooooootally worth it. They even have a recessed area under the table in their private tatami rooms for some of us older western folks to sit comfortably.

Penguin Girl
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

For one near me, there is Lindo, in Pleasanton, CA - it is the Rose Pavilion. They have delicious, affordable lunches....and wonderful dinners. It's my favorite restaurant in my area, and I've introduced many friends who now consider it their favorite restaurant also!

Take care,
Penguin Girl

Joined: 2 May 2009
User offline. Last seen 9 years 10 weeks ago.
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

International District of Seattle has "Fort St. George" a wafuu restaurant. You won't find sushi or tempura here. You will eat some of the best Japanese style American and Italian dishes. Kare raisu and wafuu pasuta. Yum.


Bento-ing from: San Diego › California › USA
Joined: 1 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 7 years 38 weeks ago.
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

There are apparently tons of Japanese restaurants in San Diego, but I don't go out to eat that often since I'm on a budget ^_^". When I do go out for Japanese food, I usually go to a place in Carmel Mountain called Yummy Sushi. It's only 5 minutes from my house, but I had often passed it by because I thought the name was stupid, haha. When I finally tried it out, I was pleasantly surprised. It's actually very nicely decorated - with a kind of cool, modern feeling. Best of all, they've got a good selection of cooked foods (yakisoba, soba, udon, teppanyaki, teriyaki, tempura, donburi, etc.) and a combination of traditional and non-traditional sushi. I definitely enjoy eating there, even though I still don't like their name, and I'd recommend it if anyone's in the area!

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

Normally I'm a lurker around here, but I had to chime in on this one!

First off, HUGE plug for Akashi Sushi in Dayton, Ohio. The food is great, and the proprietors are wonderful people. It is very close to an air force base, and it tends to be frequented by servicemen who had been stationed in Japan as well as local Japanese immigrants. I'm sad that I don't live in the area anymore, simply because of this restaurant.

Secondly, in Chicago, is Itto Sushi. This place is an oddity in Chicago in that it's actually a Japanese restaurant and not a sushi bar (and when one out of three Chinese/Thai/Korean/Vietnamese restaurants in my neighborhood has sushi. . .). They've got a wide variety of cooked foods as well as a decently sized sushi menu, and a HUGE appetizer menu (seriously, there's a full page of appetizers in the menu plus a two-sided supplemental appetizer menu). I tend to judge Japanese restaurants on how many Japanese people I see eating there, and it's not uncommon for the restaurant to be full and for only two or three tables, mostly around the sushi bar, to have non-Asians seated there.

Finally, I have to mention a fantastic restaurant my mother and I ate at while visiting England, just down the street from Regent's Park in London, sandwiched next to a Chinese Apothecary and not really noticeable from the street. I think it was on Baker Street. I don't know what it was called, but it was wonderfully tasty.

Oxford and London, UK

Hands down the best Japanese food I've had outside Japan is at Edamame in Oxford. It's tiny tiny, there's normally a queue, and it has erratic opening hours (closed all day Monday and Tuesday, only open for lunch on Wednesdays, sushi only on Thursday nights), but it's absolutely marvellous. The menu's pretty small, but everything tastes nice, especially shogayaki. Evening mains run about £6-7, plus however much you want to spend on side dishes. I normally spend about £12 on dinner and £8 on lunch.

I like Abeno (and Abeno Too + Abeno Three) in London as well. They only serve okonomiyaki, and it's pretty tasty. However, it costs a lot of money - far more than it should. Side dishes, especially, are prohibitively expensive.

West Ken Girl
Bento-ing from: London › Select one.... › UK
Joined: 22 Sep 2009
User offline. Last seen 8 years 29 weeks ago.
Re: Oxford and London, UK

I have some really fond memories of the food at Edamame, as well as the "cosy" atmosphere and ever-changing menu!

I hope Gashi Gashi on the Cowley Road is still going strong - the sushi there (as well as the staff) was just lovely.

Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 17 weeks ago.

Not a great restaurant by any means, but we put it to the ultimate test be going there just after arriving back from a two week trip to Tokyo.

We weren't imagining it, the restaurant can hold its own.

Restaurant is called Asakusa near Mornington Crescent station. Set meal (rice, protein, pickles and soup with an extra portion of rice on request) comes out at under £6/7 (ask which grilled fish are available, I've even been served ayu here, although it's hardly a fish at its best in London. The aji really is excellent). Plenty of izakaya style appetisers and starters at around £4. To be honest, the prices are almost exactly the same as in Tokyo with the current exchange rates and at a comparable restuarant.

The takoyaki is very good. I love the vegetarian gyoza (it comes with a vinegar and chilli dipping sauce - I suggest adding a little soy sauce to the sauce dish) and the spinach with cold dashi is wonderfully refreshing. The restaurant also makes noodles, yakitori and tempura as well as sushi and sashimi. However, neither my husband nor I have ever eaten sushi here - the place is almost too similar to places we might frequent in Tokyo where we wouldn't choose to have sushi either. We do notice that it's generally just the non-Japanese customers that order it.

A meal here for two consisting of 3 shared appetisers, a set menu and a non-alcoholic drink (complimentary genmai cha is served at the end of the meal) comes out at under £15 each. If you forsake the starters you can easily eat here for well under £10 and not go hungry.

Best to reserve your table though - lots of media types frequent this place (I've even seen an actress from Coronation Street shuffled off to the dank basement - which is beautifully egalitarian) and it's usually full.

Another recommendation is the Aki Japanese Bistro on 182 Grays Inn Road
It's kind of similar to Asakusa but perhaps a tad more refined (which is probably why my husband prefers Asakusa!). It's also that bit more expensive - although not horribly so.
When I've been asked by my mother to introduce her friends to Japanese food, Aki is where I've taken them.
This is another good place to try takoyaki amongst many, many other things...

London Sushi recommendation.
Alas, it's quite a schlep from the centre, but I really don't know anywhere better in London for sushi.
Sushi Hiro near Ealing Common Station.
Opening times are strict and not always convenient. The itamae can be a bit moody but he definitely knows his business. Best to use cash here.
I had a couple of so-so experiences there quite a long time ago but did return and am happy to report that these were aberrations. However, long drawn out mobility problems mean that I haven't been able to return for a couple of years.

Bento-ing from: Sioux Falls › South Dakota › USA
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 5 years 51 weeks ago.
Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!

I haven't been to many Japanese restaurants. But I'm VERY fond of the one we are so fortunate to have in our little land locked town. My family and I go to Sushi Masa here in Sioux Falls, SD when ever we can!

They serve sushi and a variety of other dishes. Everything I've ever had there has been delicious! But my fave is still the sushi and sashimi. (Heck I even tried octopus one day. Very brave for this little Midwesterner.)


Blog and Shop: and

Re: The good Japanese restaurant Hall of Fame!


Sushi Express, Beacon Street at the St Mary's T Stop (basement level, outbound side of the street past the supermarket.)
Tiny hole in the wall sushi basement. I lived across the street my senior year of college, definitely jumped over the snow-covered T tracks many an evening to fetch my dinner. At the tim (2006) it was more than possible to have a full sushi meal (3 maki rolls, 6 pieces each, plus seaweed salad,) for $12.

KYOBASHI, rue saint Maur, near the corner with Oberkampf.
Make sure you jot down the name because there are two other sushi joints on the same block. This is the last one if you're walking north up rue Saint Maur from Oberkampf. The quality and variety at this place is excellent, not just sushi but great porc pané, tempura, and other specials. The prices are astonishing compared with anything of the same quality in the city. Last Friday I had lunch there for 12.50€, including: amuse bouche (some marinated vermicelli, and bamboo root,); miso soup; salad (delicious - not the typical Paris Japenese coleslaw,) three slices of salmon sashimi, rice, porc pané served with Japanese potato salad, and some melon for dessert.
Compared with my other sushi experiences in Paris, I cannot recomend this place highly enough!

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