Hokkaido cheesecakes are very fluffy and light. It also has a subtly sweet kind of taste that is probably from the Hokkaido milk. We had a few other mini cheesecakes in the couple of days prior to this one and I think this one takes the cake. (Pardon the pun.) OK, maybe marginally comparing to the Mel's cheesecake.
Anyway, we were scouting for dinner at the Sapporo ESTA depachika and was drawn to the counter selling Fruitscake Factory cheesecake by the smell. It was 7:30pm or so and they were still make fresh cakes while all the other stores were slapping on discount labels on their goods. (We picked up some squid stuffed with rice for 300 yen.) We were hoping to get 2 mini cheesecakes for dessert but alas, they only sell the large (8" or 9") ones. As we waffled over whether to buy one, risking having to take the leftovers with us on the overnight hamanasu train, the baker rang the bell telling everyone nearby that there were fresh cakes out of the oven.
We watched them put the cakes in the boxes and the cake was so light that it jiggled as she carried it from counter to box. Lots of people materialized to buy them, so we decided to take the plunge and spend 500 yen on a whole cake we knew we could not finish. Fast forward about 15 minutes to cake cutting time. We each had an eighth of the cake at first, carefully wrapping up the 3/4. The cake literally melted in our mouths. It was like eating a sweet cloud. The cake felt like it was only slightly denser than marshmallows. It wasn't too sweet, tasted rich yet not heavy, and the aroma was wonderful. We quickly unwrapped the cake and cut out another 1/8th each. As we tasted this 2nd slice, we debated whether to get another one for Tokyo. We saw the cakes flew off the shelf (kinda, but could easily be our imagination) and the decision was quickly made. We had to buy another one. For research on the change in taste and texture, of course!
Long story short - we did not accidentally used the cakes as pillows while on the train. The cake became denser and richer as the days went by. We basically split 1/2 a cake for breakfast and dessert, so we finished the last piece 2 days later. It was good all the way regardless of texture. And the change in texture depends on whether the cake was ever out of the wrapping. At its most dense form, it was similar to the Mel cheesecake, which was the softest, lightest cheesecake we had before this one.
Another recommendation from a very fulfilling food trip. (I'll write about the Patisserie Petit Merville that sells the Mel cheesecake later.)
Favorite Dish: Good old plain, souffle-style cheesecake.
My friend suggested I try the crab (kani) banquet in Sapporo. Being more "frugal" than she is, my travel buddy and I decided to have lunch in the hopes of basically tasting the same thing for half the price. Kanihonke's huge crab sign caught our eyes as we were walking from Sapporo ESTA to Jingisukan Daruma, so we stopped by and checked out the menu.
A little about the economics: The dinner banquets start at about 6,000 yen with the prices going up to 13,000 yen per person. The lunch menu starts at about 2,000 yen to 4,300 yen. Since my travel buddy and I do not eat too much, our strategy was to pick 2 lunch sets with the least amount of overlap, so our combined meal is similar to the mid-range dinner set. We figure we could order interesting looking dishes a la carte. If our stomachs are up for it, that is. With that settled, we walked through the front door and were met with the most courteous staff. They led us up to a small private room on the 7th floor. We double checked our selection, pressed the wireless bell and ordered our food.
Anyway, I love these banquets. It's basically like a constant parade of food. Just as we finished photographing one dish (yes, a hobby) and eating, another 2-3 shows up. You don't really feel rushed as the servers seemed to be estimating how fast we ate (or not) but the food were basically served at the right temperatures.
Let me see if I can list all the dishes in our combined meal.
King crab "TOHU"
Crab SASHIMI on drift ice
Rice Porridge with Crab meat
King crab "MOZUKU"
King crab gratin
King crab salad
Vinegared mixd crab
Fried Snow crab
Large King crab Sushi roll
Crab Miso soup
(I can only post 5 pictures, so I picked my favourite dishes. You can see the set meals on the website.)
Pretty much everything was a hit. Maybe except for the miso soup, which tasted just like miso soup with some bits of crab. The seafood was really fresh and tasty and so different from the frozen stuff we usually get at home, so we could not help but enjoy this meal! The crab tempura was especially amazing. I don't know why I was expecting the fake crab meat, and was "surprised" by the fact that it was an actual crab leg. (Yes, my eyes saw the leg, but my brain did not connect.) The sashimi was quite interesting too. I did not know raw crab has this soft texture. The squid sashimi had a softer chew than the squid rice we had in Hakodate. Maybe it was a different breed? I really don't know. By the end of the meal, I half expected crab in my dessert too, but alas, it was just plain old fruit, yoghurt and ice cream. We completely forgot about "Fried king crab with shell" and the "Kanisuki", but we were so full at that time we could barely walk, let alone think more about food. The final bill was just over 6,000 yen, which left us with some extra money for dessert that night (more on that later).
I am sure there are a lot of other options that are as good or better in Sapporo, but I cannot read Japanese, so could not look other choices on tabelog or other Japanese based websites. Nevertheless, you should splurge a bit and try the kani banquet.
Favorite Dish: Really hard to choose - I think the crab sashimi and the crab tempura marginally edged out the rest. It was just so fresh that if you're a seafood and crab lover, you cannot resist.
We heard that jingisukan (i.e. Genghis Khan / mutton bbq) is quite popular in Sapporo, so we must try it out. My friend recommended the all-you-can-eat & drink Sapporo Biergarten at close to 4,000 yen, but since we had a late lunch, we were not able to stomach the all-you-can-eat, so we looked to the interwebs for some suggestion. Daruma's name pop up in many of the posts.
Daruma is now a chain of 2 or 3 restaurants serving Jingisukan and I think they are all within blocks of each other. We went to the honten at Minami 5 Nishi 4, which was kind of hard to find. Luckily, I had a screen shot of the map from the website on my tablet, so I was able to find the landmarks (i.e. 7-11, etc) to locate the alley. (I didn't realized the alley was an actual street. I just thought it was the back of some restaurant.)
The honten was a very small restaurant, with a bar style counter with stools and the "kitchen" in the middle. The picture I posted is pretty much showed the entire restaurant. It is as local as you can get. We walked in and one of the 3 ladies pointed us to the last 2 empty stools at the back. By the time we made our way there and hung up our jackets, she already started up our grill and put down 2 plates of mutton for us. Then she handed us the menu. I have not seen such efficiency at a restaurant in a long time.
The menu mainly consists of about 4 types of drinks and some sides. Basically, the only meat course is the mutton, but then again, you really shouldn't be going to jingisukan if you don't want mutton BBQ. The prices are quite reasonable, with one portion of mutton costing 750 yen. The drinks are between 200 to 350 yen, I think. If I find my picture of the menu, I'll add it to the post.
The mutton was so fresh and juicy that we were quite tempted to order another portion to split, other than the fact that we were still hoping to try ramen that evening. Most people in the restaurant were locals and many that night ate quickly and left. We didn't stay that long either. There is an understanding that you let others have the seat once you're done. The dinner was really good that we wished we were staying in Sapporo for longer so we could come back. The lady cleaned up the grill as quickly as she set it up, while collecting our money and giving us change at the same time. My friend and I each had a plate of mutton and a can of oolong tea, which set us back just under 2,000 yen. This price was very agreeable to our wallets.
We actually arrived at the restaurant around 6pm on Sunday and by the time we left, there were people lining up outside. I guess that is why they opened 2 other locations in the same area. The link included below actually have some pictures & maps of the 3 locations.
If you are into mutton BBQ, I highly recommend this little gem in Sapporo.
Last notes: while you may not feel it inside the restaurant, you will basically come out smelling like mutton for at least the rest of the night. Also, the restaurant is very small, so try to not bring too much stuff with you.
Favorite Dish: Jingisukan, of course! Basically, mutton is the only meat dish in the menu at 750 yen per portion. You can get drinks and sides.
In a backstreet of the upper class side of Sapporo, the Cote Dor French Restaurant looks more like a dark castle than a restaurant from the outside. The winding staircase circles the flower shop and follows a cave-like entrance to the bright restaurant. We went there to celebrate Valentines Day. The lunch, at a very reasonable 2,000 yen is as good as you will find in any exclusive French restaurant around the world.
Favorite Dish: I had the pork and my wife had the fish as the main course. Both were wonderful but the most memorable dish of the day was the Tiramisu. I have never had the same Tiramisu twice, but lets hope they can repeat this one. Thank you to the wonderful staff who made our visit so special.
enough tip on this eating place, just to add some additional pointers:
1. The 'eat-all-you-can' price has a time bar of 100mins.
2. With some (reasonable) additional yens, it includes free flow of beer - good choice if you like to drink freshly brewed beer
3. With yet more additional yens, it includes free flow of red wine - not a good choice as the red wine doesn't really teaste like what we use to. ie. the Australia, French or California red wine. it is a fresh harvest wine, too light & sweet for the lamb.
Took the 3rd choice without asking to see the wine. End up only drinking beer ..
** side note **
met a strong, healthy 100 yr old lady (just past her brithday) sitting next table enjoying her grill lamb... wow, 100 yr old, eating lamb, drinking beer & move around freely, I can only dream of it ...
Favorite Dish: fresh lamb slice - a good break from seafood and Ramen & sticky rice
If you like ramen, try at least a variety of them. Usually, the soup bases come in 3 flavours - salt, soy sauce and miso. There are a variety of toppings, mostly roast pork with vegetables, but i'd recommend trying those with seafood toppings (like squid and shells).
After all, Hokkaido is famous for its fresh seafood.
The Ramen Alley in Sapporo is just a stone throw away from the Susukino Station. As the name implies, the Alley has two entrance or exit point and a narrow alley between.
All the eating house there are pretty small. The one we went can seat 15-20 guests maximum. The ramen dishes are labelled A, B, C, etc and the owners can call out the alphabets without much problem.
Prices range from about 500 Yen to about 1,500 Yen. Some eating house may have more expensive menu items.
This shop that we patronised had alot of signature of well-known guests on its wall.
This restaurant chain has a few restaurants in different locations in Sapporo. I went to the one at Ramada hotel.
Place is nice and was fully booked the first time I went, so I made a reservation and went again the next day.
Wide variety of food, but the baked potato was really simple and good. We ordered about 8-10 different things for 2 of us and total bill came up to about 8000 yen. not cheap but food is not bad.
This restaurant along the main street sells live seafood. It also has a small eating place that cooks or prepare food for visitor. Prices are reasonable as compared to the other restaurants.
The shop owner, a fine young man is very friendly and put great effort to speak with you in English
Favorite Dish: Hairy crab (cooked) with the fresh creamy roe ... lovely
Live sea urchin - so fresh, wonder if I can able to get it anywhere else outside Hokkaido ?
Depend on the timing of your visit - during my visit, This is the only place I got live sea urchin (not available in Hakodate, Otaru or Noboribetsu)
Yoshinoya is a chain of cheap and cheerful counter-style eateries. We had a good hot lunch for under 500yen. Not a lot of choice but the menus have photos of each dish so very handy if yr japanese is not up to much. Saw lots of businessmen there at lunchtimes. Food was very tasty, plenty of it too. Complimentary green tea too. Ideal if on a tight budget!
Toppii is on the 10th floor of the JR train station shopping mall and is a traditonal sushi bar with its dishes all circling on the conveyor belt... you take a dish you like the look of from the belt, stack up yr empty plates (colour coded in price bands) and then ask for yr bill. Complimentary green tea. The salmon sushi were by far the best and we stacked up about 12 empty plates between us - each plate was 110yen. English menu provided so you can identify each dish. Some dishes you have to order specifically from the waiter. The sushi here was just mouth-watering. At busy times, you may have to wait so leave your name with the maitre d....HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Open from 11am - 10pm'.
Sky J is situated on the 35th floor of the JR tower (hotel nikko) and, if you're used to travelling on a rather tight budget as we usually are, is a nice way to have a treat! There is a fixed price menu in the evening (don't forget to reserve a table) or, the rather more expensive, a la carte. Amazing views, exquisitely presented food (albeit tiny portions), sultry female vocalist with accompanying pianist, sophisticated fellow diners - a very grown-up place to celebrate being in Sapporo. Wear your glad rags and have a ball! ....(we stopped off at Susukino on the way home of course!)
Jingisukan is nice juicy slices of lamb meat and vegetables that you fry up and then dip into sauces. This cramped restaurant offers the best and cheapest, maybe, jingisukan in all of Sapporo. It’s not to be missed and well worth the effort to find it!
This place is featured in most of the Hokkaido Guide books. I have not really compared the seafood prices between Nijo and those establised restaurants and i do believe it's cheaper as it's still a market. One thing to note that the seafood is extremely fresh as I ate two sea urchin which were taken out of the water tank. Well, since i in Sapporo might as well tri out these stuffs as it is morre expensive to consume in my country.
Favorite Dish: Sea Urchin
"Ouchi" means "home".Small and cute soup curry shop.I recommned here to women for a variety of sweets,coffee and tea.
*Lunch (with drink) less than 1,000yen.
*You can take out soup curry +50yen (for package).
Favorite Dish: Kakuni Sarasara Soup Curry ; HOt2