Well, it's kind of American. Their hotdogs aren't bad, but to be honest they're not what I would call 'mouth watering' either. I almost felt like telling them more about how to make a hotdog more American.
Honestly, I make them better myself. However, if you are lacking completely in culinary skills and are missing having a hotdog, these beat buying them at 7-11, Lawsons, Circle K or some other convenience store. Frankly, the kind you might buy at a convenience store, hot dog wise that is, can be utterly disappointing and a total clash when it comes to a sense of how foods should be matched.
But, to be fair. Corn dogs at the convenience stores are good enough to match the American ones.
Moving on back to Hot Dog Hug. They have a menu that has more than just hot dogs. I've got to go back to try their breakfast items.
They're close on Tuesdays.
Favorite Dish: Ratings:
Hot Dog: Not bad, but that wasn't real American cheese. A wiser approach would be Monterey Jack or Swiss (IMHO).
Onion Rings: Good.
From what I've heard, this restaurant is popular with and caters to students, namely high school and college students who on a good day don't mind walking 10 to 15 minutes to come here for a less expensive but delicious and filling lunch.
Favorite Dish: I found that the ramen was good and so was the gyouza.
LODGE is a good choice when it comes to Yaki-niku (grilled meat) in Niigata. There are 2 locations I've frequented here in Niigata. One is located close to Niigata Stations South Entrance just down the stairs on the left hand side leaving one of the main station exits. It's close to a big Chinese hotel and I believe Plaka 3 (where Junkudo, the book store, is).
The other is located in Aoyama near AEON (once known as Josco).
Favorite Dish: Well, I really enjoy having the grilled pork. Normally, I'm not a big meat eater. But, every once in a while OK. They do have lots of other stuff, but I usually just focus on the meat and drinking.
A good point about the restaurant is making a reservation for 2 hours of all you can eat or drink.
It's reasonably priced and it's great fun.
I often leave very full and happily buzzed.
Details on the (Now 4 Starbucks & counting) Niigata Starbuck`s locations below:
1 Starbucks at Niigata`s Apita Mall (Koshin, Niigata-shi).
Easy to find. Large parking lot located outside. Easy access to the rest of the mall. Largest of the 4 Starbucks restaurants in Niigata in terms of seating available.
2- Starbucks located on Galvaston St. on the corner adjacent McDonald`s, opposite Kinokuniya, and next to Niigata`s Bandai Bus Center Niigata (1-6-1, Bandai, Niigata-shi)
This Starbucks is ideal because it is located so close to Kinokuniya (where you can get a good book or magazine before you get your coffee). This is also the Starbucks where you are most likely to meet other foreigners visiting or living in Niigata City. On the downside for drivers, there are no good parking spots nearby. Most of the foreigners here are pedestrians or bicyclists, so for most of us this little detail doesn`t matter.
3-Starbucks located on the basement floor (B1) of Niigata`s NEXT 21 building (LAFORET Next 21, 6-866, Nishbori, Niigata-shi)
This Starbucks has a nice sofa and set-up that gives one a bit of the feel from the TV show 'Friends'. It`s the hardest of the Starbucks to find (but it`s not that hard to find). It's located on the 1st basement floor of the Next 21 building (one of Niigata's landmarks).
4-The newest of the Starbucks in Niigata is now located a 30 minutes walk from Niigata station (go by bicycle as it's faster and just plain convenient) located on the same street as Don Quihote and in the direction away from Niigata station. Address: 5-2-19 Shichikuyama Chuo-ku Niigata Niigata
check out this website for a map for perspective: http://www.starbucks.co.jp/search/map/result.php?storeId=0817〈=en
This Starbucks has both an indoor and outdoor area for enjoying your coffee and sweets. This Starbucks
also has a drive through window and the location is right by Niigata Meike Interchange (freeway).
Starbucks at Kameda's AEON Josco Shopping Mall. Been there. But no pictures as of yet.
Note: There used to be one other Starbucks located on the side of Mitsukoshi Department Store (Niigata Mitsukoshi 866, Nishbori, 5ban-cho, Niigata-shi). This was the smallest of the 4 Starbucks. But, for some reason they closed it down. I guess it was located to closely to the other one only 3 blocks away (#3 above).
Favorite Dish: Of course, I love the Frappuccino Blended Beverages.
The Frappuccino's are reasonably priced in Japan as, keep in mind, there was once a time
when a cup of coffee could cost you 1,000 yen (like $10 US) in Tokyo. You can get a Venti
Frappuccino plus an extra desert for less than that at Starbucks.
We found another great Italian restaurant in Niigata tonight. I always like it when I can find a place that serves great food and in particular something different. I'm giving this place two thumbs up because it met standards that a lot of other "Italian" restaurants in Niigata just don't do right.
First off, they have red wine served at room temperature. Not chilled! That's a big point for me. I've been disappointed by the lack of how to serve a good wine knowledge that is common in Japan. I had a wonderful glass of their house wine tonight served at room temperature.
Second, I was able to order a wonderful dish of something I've never ever had before. It was something of a wonderful DUCK pasta dish. It was great. I'll definately be back for more and real soon at that as one of the staff told me it's a seasonal dish that they'll have til' December.
Coincidentally, I ran into one of my students who was on a date and he ended up having the same dish. Before he even knew that I had just had it, he stated, "This is unbelievably good. You should try it."
One other point. The staff deserve some mention. One of the staff was very lively and the other as well. She seemed to speak English rather well, but in my own haste I was already expressing myself in Japanese so I didn't bother to switch. Anyway, that's a plus for those that may need the help of someone who understands English.
It's worth mentioning that there are a lot of websites (in Japanese) for this restaurant online.
The one I listed below was at the top of the list and has some great photos as well.
Favorite Dish: The DUCK pasta dish. I'll write more on future dishes later.
Next time, I'll go for the 4 cheese pizza (a usual favorite of mine in other Italian restaurants).
I've lived in Niigata for almost two years and this is my favourite sushi place by a long way.
It looks like just another kaiten sushi place from the outside, but the food is significantly better than you'll find in most places (and sushi in Niigata in general is good compared to many regions in Japan).
Most plates are ￥2-350 - this is obviously a bit more expensive than the ￥100 sushi places that are all over place, but even if you're comparing on price, you'll get about double the amount of fish per portion compared to most of those. I've been to posher sushi places that are a lot more expensive, and it's never tasted this good either.
The staff are very friendly, they have food rotating but in general you should just order directly.
Right next door is Yamaya. This is an international liquor store with one of the better selections of beer and wine in Niigata, and you can also get cereal, cheese etc. that you won't find in the supermarkets etc. there.
Favorite Dish: It's hard to choose a favourite. The aburi sushi (lightly seared) is the best I've had anywhere though, and you don't find it everywhere. Particularly: unagi shio (eel sprinkled with salt, I love unagi, usually una-ju but this beats una-ju); salmon aburi (seared salmon); hotate (Scallop); Masu (trout, also served with salt) - all of these are great. Even if you're new to sushi and don't fancy raw fish you can eat plenty just trying these.
The uni (sea urchin), buri (hamachi/amberjack), yari ika (squid), toro kampachi (yellowtail) are all excellent as well, you can also get the Niigata speciality Nodoguro (although I think this is seasonal so maybe not all the time).
On the 16th floor. Keep in mind, this restaurant is very expensive.
The first time I ate here, I was the guest of one of Niigata's very well to do families. The second time, I choose the Starlight Restaurant for our 3rd anniversary dinner (Feb. 14th). I opted for
a cheaper meal this time compared to what I believe my previous hosts spent on us. Still, even for the cheaper choice the total package cost me a little more than I expected (20,000 yen plus).
My wife and I enjoyed the atmosphere and the food. We had the lamb, lobster, sea urchin coctail, fish, a nice marinated salad, and desert.
The pianist played very well and his English seemed flawless while he sang various poptunes from the Carpenters to Whitney Huston.
Once again the food was exquisite. This is fine dining, so if you're going to eat here you'd best have your Visa/MasterCard or a wad of yen.
They serve a full course meal. And provide live entertainment with a professional pianist or other musician.
Niigata Hotel Okura is known for having one of the most expensive and finest restaurants in Niigata City.
Favorite Dish: The Lobster. It was the biggest and most delicious I've ever had.
The wine was supurb.
They also served dessert, a famous Niigata specialty only served at the Okura. It's a pretty neat trick with the fire. You'll have to see it to understand what I'm talking about.
Popolo is a good place to go on a spring or summer day when you're wanting some
low calorie but delicious ice cream. This ice cream shop can only be found in Niigata and they offer an original variety of ice cream. They have about 12 different ice cream flavors at a time. They don't usually carry the typical 3 at the same time (chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry). Instead they have a wider range of unique flavors. For example, the last time I went there they were serving: expresso, rum raisin, grapefruit, blueberry yogurt, Italian Chocolate Tiramisu, Taiwan Banana, Pumpkin, Green Tea, apple crepe, Okinawa Red Sweet Potato, and Japanese Cherry mochi.
Prices for scoops are as followed:
1 scoop 250 yen
2 scoops 300 yen
3 scoops 350 yen
Favorite Dish: My top 3 favorites are Pumpkin, Green Tea, and the best of all Rum Raisin.
Many I know here in Niigata think that Deli'talia offers some of the best Italian food in Niigata. They seem to have the best appetizers, pizza, and wine.
This restaurant actually has 2 sections: the cafe (restaurant) is Open from 11:00 - 9:00 PM
The deli is Open from 11:00 - 5:00 PM.
Favorite Dish: Go for the 4 cheese pizza with the house wine. You're mouth will be having a party.
My co-worker took me to this quaint little Mexican restaurant I had no idea about the other day (in January 2011).
This has got to be the smallest restaurant I've ever been in. That doesn't really matter however as it's a good choice for getting some tacos or enchiladas. The small location likely impacts the low prices for the dishes.
The owner speaks a little English and a lot of Spanish. It turns out he lived in Mexico for a good 11 years where he was working as a sushi chef at the time.
Favorite Dish: I only had the tacos and enchiladas as pictured.
Keep in mind this food really isn't that spicy (even with the 'hot sauce'). I might advise the owner about this in the future (to help his business with the foreigners like me).
We spent an enjoyable few hours here, drinking the local sake, and enjoying some very nice seafood, including nodoguro, a type of fish not usually available in other parts of Japan.
Favorite Dish: Good quality sushi and sashimi.
Niigata also produces arguably the best rice in Japan, and this is reflected in the quality of sake on offer as well.
Delica, owned by Greg Hasegawa, is one of the few places serving sandwiches done your way. In fact, it might be the only one that makes it exactly as you like. It looks even better than Subways but, that's only true in terms of the restaurant itself. The sandwiches on the other hand look more to cater to Japanese clientele than American clientele as one sandwich just doesn't feel like enough. In fact, 2 might not either.
Size wise, Delica's sandwiches, loose the contest. However, points have to be given that the sandwiches do taste good. In fact, as far as I could tell, a Subway's avocado and turkey sandwich doesn't taste any different than a Delica's sandwich of the same type. The big difference is how much bite you get for your buck. In this case, Subways delivers far better. But, since there is no other competition in town (Niigata City that is), Delica wins the proximity contest (Subway's loses because the closest one I know of is in Tokyo).
The staff speak English, are friendly and talkative and do things the American way (meaning they know what's in the food, how it's made, and they'll make it the way you like). This itself is one of Hasegawa's trademarks in Niigata city, in that he brings the American way of running a restaurant to 'the snow country'. So, when you're paying for that sandwich, forget you not that there is some good part of American quality in the service... now, if we can just get American sized servings then I'll be a real happy camper. Honestly, Greg would make more money if they were larger as he'd get lots of regular customers all the time. I don't know how many foreigners I know wish there were a Subway's here.
Hasegawa's Delica also offers 4 choices of bread to choose from and there's lots of other stuff on the menu as well.
Favorite Dish: As mentioned, the avocado & turkey sandwich.
The staff at this restaurant have been working here for a long time and this restaurant is probably Niigata's best known Indian restaurant. The staff themselves are authentic chefs from India or neighboring countries. Prior to living in Japan, I had never tried Indian food. I even had a roommate in
college who was of Indian ancestry and I never was willing to try his food because at the time I though it looked so weird (well, now I'll always wonder what I missed out on Manish (my former college roommate's name)).
But, Pouja really turned me on to Indian food as well as other Asian dishes (i.e. Thai food, too). The food at Pouja is excellent and reasonably priced. It's a good place to go with friends or for a nice romantic meal.
On the downside, they still permit smoking there, so it's best if you get yourself next to a window where you can open it just enough to breathe fresh(er) air. I frankly hate cigarette smoke but, I like Pouja so much that it's about the only restaurant in Niigata that I'm always all up for.
For foreigners, another plus is the staff can speak English (although with a heavy Indian accent). Of course, they speak Japanese as well.
Favorite Dish: I highly recommend to all is the Tika fish.
Greg Hasegawa has expanded his empire to include another restaurant. This one is located on the south side of Niigata station very close to the Washington Hotel.
His new restaurant focuses on Mediteranean cuisine. The staff are friendly and like the Immigrants Cafe (also run by Hasegawa) are partially staffed by foreigners (gaigin).
So, unlike what I'm used to, you can actually be served here in English. One other thing both my wife and I noticed was that the American waiter seemed to know everything about the food, how it was made, and what was in it (Japanese waiters elsewhere tend to know comparatively nothing (unless they work in an expensive restaurant)). I imagine this has something to do with Greg running his restaurants the American way (meaning the staff must know what they are serving).
We had dinner there. But, I can tell from the location this place would be ideal for lunch, too.
Favorite Dish: I went for the lamb chops, scalloped salad, and 2 non-alcoholic drinks (coconut/pineapple drink and a mango/orange drink).
My wife had the paella.
You can come here for lunch, dinner or just a nightcap. The lunch and dinner menus are different. So if you eat lunch you can come back for dinner and have a totally different experience. And after dinner you might want to stay for some hot music after 10. We went there quite a few times. We felt comfortable every time We were there and the service was awesome! You can choose an open seat or a box seat. It is a semi-upscale restaurant and a great place to take a first date.
Favorite Dish: We enjoyed the seafood and the cakes. The drinks were great too!