Nagano Prefecture is actually the birthplace of soba, and so the soba dishes in this region are quite well known. There are quite a number of soba restaurants lining the Zenkoji Omotesando street. We took our lunch at one of the restaurants (it is located opposite Suyakame, the shop famous for its miso products. Refer to my previous tip on Miso ice cream) and ordered soba dishes.
Mine was cold soba with tempura (tennzaru set), hubby ordered nameko soba (soba in hot soup with mushrooms). Total expenditure was 2100 Yen.
The "Oyaki" is a round, flat dumpling made of wheat flour, with different types of fillings - seasonal and wild vegetables, pork etc. It is either steamed or baked, and costs 180 Yen. It is best eaten as a snack. Various shops on the omotesando of the Zenkoji Shrine sells these.
Favorite Dish: Savoury snack.
There are different flavours of soft-serve ice cream with ingredients from Nagano, e.g. chestnut bean jam, blueberries, wasabi (!), buckwheat (soba) etc.
We tried the miso-flavoured soft-serve ice cream in Zenkoji, Nagano City. The name of this shop is "Suyakame" and it is touted as the original shop which created this flavour (the shop is known for selling miso). The ice cream is very rich, aromatic and sweet (not salty at all!). It costs 300 Yen for 1 cone. It is a must-try!
We would definitely try out other flavours (e.g. buckwheat and wasabi) if we do visit Nagano again.
Favorite Dish: Rich and sweet miso ice-cream, with a nice aftertaste.
This restaurant is also featured in the "Restaurant Guide to Yamanouchi Town" (like the restaurant in my previous tip - Yamaguchiya). We went to this place for dinner (about 3-5 minutes walk from Shimaya Ryokan).
I had the special Sushi and Tempura Set (2000 Yen), which comes with 6 pieces of sushi (2 pieces each of salmon, tuna and shrimp) and 6 smaller rolls (tuna and cucumber), plus 5-6 pieces of tempura (with shrimps, vegetables etc). Hubby chose the 1600 Yen rice bowl with pieces of tuna sashimi on top. The meals come with free green tea and miso soup. Good value for money.
Favorite Dish: The sushi and tempura set is very popular, and highly recommended by other guests who had stayed at Shimaya Ryokan.
Using the "Restaurant Guide - Yamanouchi Town" we picked up at the ryokan, we found some restaurants within walking distance from where we stayed. The ryokan owner, Mr Yumoto, pointed out and recommended this restaurant to us.
The place is run by an old couple, very tiny establishment but the food is delicious and cheap! I ordered the Tempura Ramen while hubby chose the Pork Udon. The total bill was only 1150 Yen for 2 persons.
The proprietors do not speak English, but they had a menu with pictures on it, with some simple English words. That was how we manage to order the dishes.
Favorite Dish: Their ramen dishes are nice and cheap. Their katsu-don (pork cutlet on rice) is also highly recommended by Mr Yumoto.
Many times I went to my favorite place to eat in Nagano. Gerneous portions of delicious Malaysian/Indonesian cuisine. 600 yen gets you just about any dish on the menu.
It's got a warm and funkotropic atmosphere and good service. Good luck getting a table on Friday night.
Favorite Dish: Ayam goreng without a doubt. Delicious, juicy fried indo chicken served up in foot-long wooden boat.
This is a chain restaurant but a really good place to eat Italian food in Japan. I have visited the Nagano branch several times and almost always order the same thing. There are some dishes with a distinct Japanese influenced flavour (read: Squid Ink Pasta!!) They do cheap lunch set meals with salad, pizza or pasta and coffee.
Favorite Dish: The Capriochosa Pizza or Penne Pasta
This restaurants name literally means 'Northern Family'. It is an interesting place with a cool atmosphere and most importantly, great food!
Favorite Dish: Sashimi, Yakitori, Salads. The beer is also brewed by themselves using Hokkaido spring water to distill it.
Located in the building that was the Australian Team Building at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. This restaurant is very chic and fashionable. As you can see from the picture the food was quite sparse (don't go here if you are hungry!!) but was exquisite in quality! It cost 2500 Yen for a 4 course meal.
Here is a pic of my friends BBQ'ing some ebi and niku (prawns and meat)
The tables are equipped with cooking plates so that you can cook your own yakiniku (Korean style BBQ very common in Japan also). There are seperate booths for privacy. Very modern facilities and one of the largest dining areas I have seen in Japan (outside of hotels!).
If you are going to be dining on the weekends then make a reservation as this restaurant is extremely popular.
Favorite Dish: Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Ceasar Salad, Fried Ebi, Yakiniku and their groovy non-alcoholic coctails.
A very small, comfortable restaurant with some of the best Tex/Mex east of the border!
Favorite Dish: Margaritas and Quesadillas
Margaritas = Cuervo Gold/Grand Marnier excellent on the rocks with salt.
Quesadillas = Chicken with all the fixin's