Misuzu is a famous restaurant in Ise. It does not serve the typical Ise Udon or ebi dishes, it's actually a gyoza restaurant. The gyoza is actually vegetarian gyoza. It's all made fresh right in front of everyone. It's interesting to watch them make it; they're very quick! The gyoza is 450 yen for 8. It's slightly fatter than most gyoza but they make it with a crispy outer center and soft outer edge, the best way. It's a tasty restaurant open even late at night.
Although the gyoza is the real reason to come, they also have karaage (fried chicken) and some other dishes.
We noticed 2 restaurants in Ise Station. This appeared to be the only one open early in the morning when we arrived at Ise City. We were both hungry so we decided to try this place out. On the plus side, the food was good, not expensive, and the service was fast (probably, because there weren't so many other customers). We ended up going here for breakfast another day because of the price and convenience. You can get something from the set menu for the best deals.
On the negative side, they do permit smoking and some of the smoking seats are close enough to the non-smoking section that if you're a non-smoker it could bother you. Also, the morning menu was limited. It might be best just better to accept the regular coffee (which is free) that comes with your breakfast rather than making the mistake of ordering the special coffee (as I did) otherwise, your breakfast won't be so cheap. They seem to make up for the cheap breakfasts with a somewhat expensive cup of special coffee (which wasn't all that special and wasn't worth the price ("This ain't no Starbucks!").
Favorite Dish: I recommend the rice omelet or what Japanese people call omu-rice. This is a standard popular dish throughout Japan.
Udon （うどん） is a thick white soft wheat flour noodle popular throughout Japan. It is often served with a mild flavored soup or sauce and topped with scallions. But, it is served in different ways throughout Japan.
As it is, Ise is famous for its udon and so, this was on the top of the list for what my wife wanted to try while we were in Ise. Unlike Niigata udon, Ise udon uses a stronger flavored sauce. We found what appeared to be a very popular restaurant for Ise Udon in Okage Yokochou. People were able enjoy the dish sitting either inside or outside the restaurant. The udon was very cheap (about 400 yen) and it was served with a cup of Japanese tea.
Japanese Food Sato - that's actually the name of the restaurant. This is one of the best restaurants we found near our hotel but, closer to the train station while we were in Ise City. They serve a large variety of popular Japanese dishes and for a very reasonable price. We liked the restaurant so much we came back 2 nights later.
They also have a non-smoking area.
Favorite Dish: I love the sashimi, tempura, and desserts.
Some Akafuku bakeries are located in is famous for it's akafuku pounded rice (mochi) and purple bean paste (anko) dessert. The dessert is served along with a very nice cup of Japanese green tea (macha). During winter you can also warm up near their heaters will enjoying your treat. The Akafuku is also available for souvenirs but, it has to be eaten within 2 days or it'll spoil. It can also be purchased at the Ise City train stations for the same price.
But, my wife and I suspect it is best serve from the source where it is freshly made.
I enjoyed it so much that I went back a second day to have some more.
Ebi-Maru (translated: round-shrimp) has delicious ise-ebi and I found it to be not so expensive for what I ordered. One of my students told me that my shrimp were apparently really small ones so, for larger lobster or giant shrimp be prepared as likely it's more expensive. Anyway, if you want to go for what I had it only cost about 700 yen or so.
I asked to eat outside in a slightly different area and the staff had no qualms about bringing my meal to me so I could eat near my wife (who was getting something else). If I can, I'll go again. But, next time I'll go for bigger ones or just more. :) Granted if you're going to sit elsewhere as I did then you'll need to have the Japanese verbal skills to explain it. But, you can easily order the food without knowing how to say it. There are pictures outside and you just point and say, "Sore, onegaishimasu." (That please).
There are two Italian places on the opposite side of Ise-shi station from the Geku shrine buildings. (both on the same street as Hoshidekan, and not far away from it: http://welcome.kankomie.or.jp/english/search/spot.php?act=dtl&id=83)
The further one, focused on seafood, is pretty pricey for Japan, and quite pricey for the area. But Primo Piatto had great food at a good price (might get above $20/person if you go all out, but probably on average you'll pay around $15)
If you can read Japanese, here's a good review of the place: http://www.qn-net.jp/wordpress2/?p=1887
The vanilla cake is also good.
Favorite Dish: All of the pasta dishes are great, because the pasta's homemade. I had the asparagus and sausage in alfredo sauce as part of a set meal, and I would recommend getting one of those.
In fact, I would recommend pretty much anything on the menu except the bread, which is, unfortunately, the soft, fluffy nothing white bread (with a few raisins even, what were they thinking?) that is ubiquitous in Japan.
On the way to Naigu Shrine you won`t miss an area with many traditional Japanese houses packed with restaurants, and shops selling all that local and not so local products.
Favorite Dish: Tokyoites might not know but locals will surely nod "Oh, Ise udon, that`s the black one, isn`t it ?" For a while you will wonder what they mean because the udon noodles is as white as anywhere in Japan. Only after you try a bowl of Ise udon you will understand... that`s the dark soup what makes the noodles in it seem black.
Virtually every restaurant which serves local dishes offer abundance of fresh seafood. Abalones, lobsters, and anori-fugu are at its best here. High quality of Matoya brand oysters is well know all over Japan.
Favorite Dish: The most popular local dish is Tekone-Zushi. It is sushi tasted with a little of soy sauce topped with slices of tuna fish. Traditionally it was mixed (kone-ru) by hands (te).
IWATOYA: A good place to stop for lunch near the Naiku Shrine, Iwatoya serves local specialties like tekone-zushi (rice mixed with marinated seafood) and udon noodles for JPY1200 and katsu teishoku for JPY1400.