Alo Alo is a nice Italian restaurant conveniently located on Momotaro-odori, the main street in Okayama City. The restaurant's specialties are their various spaghetti dishes, which you can order individually or as dinner sets with your drink and dessert. The spaghetti is good, and the prices for the meal sets were quite reasonable. It's a great place to dine on your way to or from Korakuen, the castle, or wherever!
The restaurant is connected to a hotel, and they have a breakfast buffet in the mornings.
It can difficult to find good burgers in Japan, because many places serve 'burgers' that taste like meatloaf patties. While Raccos Burger still isn't an American burger, the taste is delicious! It's one of (if not the) best places I've found in Japan so far for burgers. The signature Raccos Burger is my favorite burger. It has avocado, but you can tell them you don't want it if you don't like avocado.
The restaurant is cozy with an eclectic atmosphere, decorated with a lot of knick-knacks. They even have their own t-shirts that you can buy.
It's best to get an appetizer with your main dish, because although the burgers taste great, they are a bit small. I highly recommend the Chili Cheese Fries. These definitely taste like home! So good!
Ikiya is an excellent bar and restaurant serving local specialties from around the prefecture. The Tsuyama horumon udon and Hiruzen soba are particularly tasty, but they offer Okayama mamakari, Okayama beef dishes, and many other famous foods and dishes with local vegetables, seafood, etc. in them. They also have a few original dishes.
Not only is the food from Okayama Prefecture, many of the drinks are also Okayama beverages. Two of the beers come from local breweries. The muscat and white peach chuhai's are made from these two famous fruits, as well as the Okayama muscat wine and peach wine. There are too many local drinks on the menu to list them all, so you should be able to find something that is good and local if that's what you want.
To top it all off, you can also have dessert made from local fruits! Ikiya is one of Okayama's parfait spots. The parfait here features muscat grapes, peonies, watermelon, and other fruits. It's not much of an ice cream parfait, but if you like the fruits, it's good.
I was surprised at how much Ikiya had to offer. If you really want to try Okayama foods and don't have time to go to a separate restaurants and towns for each, this is definitely the place to go! Even if you don't particularly care about that, the food is excellent and well worth coming for!
For those looking for international cuisine, Sundar Mahal is a great place to get Indian food. Unlike many Indian restaurants in Japan, which serve dishes like beef curry, Sundar Mahal stays true to the Indian/Hindu tradition of not eating beef, so they offer curries with chicken, pork, and seafood, as well as vegetarian options. The curry is delicious and like many Japanese Indian restaurants the naan is large so it does not run out before you finish the curry. The restaurant is open until midnight so it's a great late-night option!
Cafe Olivier is home to another one of Okayama's famous parfaits. The seasonal parfaits, available in July and August, contains Okayama white peaches, ice cream, sherbet, and berries. Okayama has so many parfaits for many different tastes, but to me, this is one of the parfaits worth trying! It's relatively large, it has those delicious peaches, it actually has ice cream, and the flavors all blend well together.
The restaurant is conveniently located on the second floor of the Granvia Hotel, which is next to Okayama Station. The parfaits are not available until 2pm so don't go too early. This parfaits is one of the costly ones, at 1000 yen.
They also offer other sweets and meals, but I cannot personally judge any of the other foods.
Maru 5 Deri is a juice and coffee shop. The juices are excellent, fresh-squeezed when you order. Most of the drinks are 400 yen, but some seasonal or special drinks may be 500 yen. Coffee is around 300 yen. Depending on what fruits are in season, they may have some of the famous Okayama fruits for their juice, such as peony juice in September and October. The shop is small with just a few tables, but most people purchase their drinks to go.
The name of the shop is not actually written on the building, but it is easy to spot, even if you don't know Japanese. 'Maru' means 'Circle' in Japanese, so the shop has the number 5 in a circle on the building as the name literally means 'Circle 5 Deli'.
The hours run late, open from 11am to 11pm, so it's a nice place to go in the evening for those who don't really want to go to a bar but want to be out in the evening.
Okayama is famous for its fruits, which has naturally made it a great place to get delicious desserts made with local fruits. When they are in season, cakes and pastries here are topped with local fruits. There are of course also other desserts that are equally tasty if you'd rather have them. I was here a little early for most of the local fruits so I had a special strawberry torte cake. It was delicious!
Cafe Urbano is one of Okayama's parfait spots. It does have regular food that you can order but since my purpose was to try the city's famous parfaits, I can only really rate the parfait.
Cafe Urbano's parfait features the muscat grape, one of Okayama's famous fruits. This particular parfait is separated into layers. On top there is ice cream with pineapple surrounded by muscat grapes. below that is yogurt, separated from the grapes and ice cream by white chocolate. The bottom layer consists of jelly and a final grape in the bottom for you to savor as your last bite.
In my opinion, other parfaits in the city are better. I tend to prefer parfaits with ice cream rather than things like yogurt and jellies, so the top of the parfait was very tasty while the rest was rather average.
This is one of the city's most expensive parfaits, priced at 1000 yen. It is only available from July to the end of August from 2:30 to 5:30pm.
One of the most missed foods among foreigners in Japan is Mexican food. Although it's true that there are not many Mexican restaurants, they do exist and Taco Style (or Tacostyle) is one of Okayama's Mexican restaurants.
The restaurant serves a variety of taco rice dishes which are popular with the Japanese. As the name suggests, they also serve tacos, as well as burritos, nachos, and other foods. You can also choose between soft shell (flour or corn) and hard shell. Hard shell tacos are 50 yen cheaper than soft shells. I was surprised that they also have a delivery service.
The food is truly tasty and that is probably enhanced for those who are really missing Mexican food.
Located a short walk from the West Exit of Okayama Station behind the Sunkus convenience store at the intersection with Route 53.
Datesoba has been a popular local restaurant for more than 60 years. Although it is counted as one of Okayama's demi-katsudon restaurants, Datesoba's katsudon is very different. While demiglace sauce is used, it is diluted by soba broth. The dish is served with an egg that you put on yourself giving the entire dish a sweet taste. It's delicious!
The workers here were probably the most attentive drink refillers I have ever seen in a restaurant. I never had to worry about asking for more water.
Cozzy's is an American restaurant serving a variety of burgers, sandwiches, and desserts. Along with the traditional hamburger and cheeseburger, they also serve chicken burgers, filet o-fish burgers, mozzarella mushroom burger, avocado burger, baked apple burger, teriyaki burger, chili cheeseburger, and a bacon cheeseburger.
There are also sandwiches and melts, some of which change daily as daily specials. Take-out is also possible.
The burgers here are definitely above most in Japan. They're very tasty! The buns are also excellent! The restaurant is set up in a small, typical diner-style. For those with a craving for burgers, I would definitely recommend Cozzy's.
Cozzy's is open from 11:30am to 10pm and closed on Tuesdays.
Gyouza Yatai is a Chinese restaurant in Okayama. It's pretty spacious and the interior is designed to look like stone with carvings and Chinese motifs. It looks really nice and atmospheric. Some parts look a bit Indian, and the camel (which seems to be the symbol of the restaurant) seems to suggest the design is from Western China, perhaps Xinjiang Province.
The menu features the Chinese foods you expect to see in Japan, like the chao fan, Subuta, dumplings, and of course, gyouza!
The Chinese food here is quite tasty however, the restaurant also features an Okayama specialty: Demi Katsudon. Demi Katsudon is katsu (fried pork cutlets) topped with a demigloss. The demigloss adds a tangy flavor; it tastes quite good! The prices here are very reasonable, too. You can get the Demi Katsudon set for under 700 yen and most of the Chinese meals are also priced nicely.
Okayama is more of a food city than many traveler's realize and Demi-Katsudon is one of the famous dishes of Okayama. Of all the places where you can try it, Ajitsukasa Nomura is considered by many to be the best (although Yamato is also popular).
The Demi-Katsudon served here consists of rice on the bottom followed by a bit of steamed cabbage. Then the katsu (pork cutlet) is layed atop the cabbage and the demigloss sauce is poured over it and topped with a few peas. The demigloss sauce is dark and thick. It's what characterizes the dish and distinguishes it from normal katsudon, but also it really gives it flavor!
The prices are very reasonable. With the demikatsudon, you can get the typical cutlet for 750 yen or hirekatsu cutlet for 850 yen (I got the hirekatsu). It comes with a nice bowl of miso soup.
The restaurant is small but has a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
This is a relatively new restaurant that has already gained fame as an Okayama specialty. The dish to order is the Butakaba, charred pork covered in sauce served in a bento-style box over rice. There are some set menu options that offer more to go with it. It's a tasty dish and also affordable (most options from 500 yen to 800 yen). The restaurant is laid-back with seating around the counter as well as a few booths and a private room for large parties.
Fruits-J is another one of Okayama's famous parfait spots. I wanted to try this parfait because it features Okayama's famous white peaches, which are the best peaches in Japan! The base of this parfait is the milk gelatto. Inside it contains corn flakes (popular in Japanese parfaits), and many peach slices. On top are peaches and a drizzle of peach sauce. I really like that there are so many peaches and the combination of peach and milk gelatto is a bit like 'peaches and cream'. For me, this is among the best parfaits in the city and the price is also agreeable at 630 yen. (When the peaches fall out of season, they have a strawberry parfait of Okayama strawberries instead of this peach parfait.)