Toraya: Oysters Natural!
Toraya is a great introduction to famous Robata Yaki style of Kushiro. Robata Yaki is said to have originated in Kushiro. The food is cooked on a charcoal grill and often served with an oar-like pole. Tora means tiger and no doubt the master of Toraya is a fan of the Tigers baseball team in Japan with memorabilia tastefully combined with the rustic feel of Robata Yaki. Robata Yaki is a great way to eat seafood but is certainly not confined to just seafood. At Toraya, customers sit around the charcoal grill and drool as they watch the food cooked in front of them. If travelling alone, this is a great place to eat as it is very easy to strike up a conversation with the staff or the friendly local customers.
Favorite Dish: I first visited Toraya because I was told it was a good place to enjoy fresh oysters. Tanaka-san the master of Toraya prides himself on selecting the best oysters from Akkeshi (An oyster farming town north of Kushiro). I wasn`t dissapointed and went perfectly with the house sake. Another not-to-be-missed dish is the grilled hokke (Pleurogrammus azonus - a species of mackerel). This fish is split open along the back bone and semi-dried before being grilled. Being a cold water fish, the oil of the white flesh hisses on the grill as it drips off the fish while being cooked. The perfectly cooked fish can just about be eaten completely starting with the soft moist flesh to the crispy skin and head. mmmm Yum.
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Nagoyakatei: Sushi with Enthusiasm!
Kaiten sushi bar (and booths) with cheerful staff who call out to each other often in chorus.
Favorite Dish: I like most sushi (excluding natto), but the soba rolls and crab gratin (served in a thorny crab shell) are worth trying.
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Kaiten Sushi: Cheap and Varied Sushi.
Bright informal restaurant with bar and box (booth) seating available.
All the dishes are just 126 yen each including tax! You can get all the favourites (salmon, tuna, etc.), but also chicken karaage, tempura prawns, chawan mushi, soba, caviar, whale meat (ugh!), and many others too numerous to mention.
Favorite Dish: I love the crab salad and tako (octopus) salad, and the maguro tuna. The chawan mushi is very nice as well.
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Shusen Izakaya: Family atmosphere
Family run. Ren (master) cooks to perfection and his sister Ayumi serves the food with a smile. Tatami floors (sit on cushions on a weaved grass matting) or bar stools. I love the Hokke (some kind of small cod) and Karage (fried chicken). Their speciality is yakitori though. Most of their customers are regulars and will make you feel at home. My home away from home.
Favorite Dish: Hokke. Dried fish, grilled and served with grated daikon (Japanese radish).
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