Imozen Traditional Restaurant,
Imozen is a fantastic traditional Japanese restaurant in Kawagoe. The restaurant name comes from the Japanese sweet potato, which is called "imo" in Japanese, along with the Buddhist term "zen." Imozen specializes in local, seasonal ingredients, including the Japanese sweet potato, which is used in their tea, local beer, and many dishes.
We had lunch here during the Kawagoe Matsuri, and it was very busy. Our group was seated in one of the private rooms overlooking the Buddhist-style rock garden in the center of the building, which features a tree from Kyoto.
Our lunch was one of their set menus, which included tea, miso, eel, pickled radishes, and more. The meal, totaling about six courses, was delicious and filling.
Fu on Penny Candy Lane
In Penny Candy Lane, one of the most famous items is baked "yaki-fu," which comes in long cylinders about the size of baseball bats. This lightweight, brown item is an edible sweet snack made of wheat or rice and gluten, and the result has a light, airy consistency similar to that of western rice cakes.
Kasuga Sweet Tea House, Kawagoe
On the main street in Kawagoe's warehouse district is a shop called 甘味茶房 かすが, which roughly translates to Kasuga Sweet Tea House. The is a small 24-seat restaurant that specializes in desserts.
We ducked in for a quick drink and dessert on a hot day in August. We had a few Kawagoe beers, including their Beniaka sweet potato beer, and the ladies enjoyed two of the shaved ice desserts, one with matcha and sweet beans, and the other with cherry flavoring.
They also have some small meals like noodles.
Noodle Restaurant in Penny Candy Lane
On a recent visit to Kawagoe, we stopped at a noodle restaurant near the bend in the alley. This is the same restaurant that sells "junk food sandwiches" in the street just outside the main door.
We sat in the back of the restaurant near the counter, and quickly decided on a few of the noodle dishes, mostly udon. My udon was tasty, but on ice, which I have never before seen. The ice-cold noodles were perfect for the scorching hot summer day. They also sell Coedo beer and desserts.
Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/fFze1
Kanetora Yakiniku Restaurant
Kanetora is a fantastic Yakiniku restaurant in Kawagoe, just across the street from Hon-Kawagoe Station on the Seibu-Shinjuku Line. We were looking for meat and beer, and we saw the cow on the sign from a block away. We arrived, quickly scanned the menu to discover yakiniku, then descended the odd stairs into the stylish, modern restaurant.
We stopped at the front desk and quickly realized this place receives few English-speaking customers. I think the young lady asked if we wanted a Western style table or if we preferred Japanese style seating, but the only English word she spoke was "table," so I can't be sure. She led us through a round tunnel to the modernly styled restaurant that featured exposed concrete and natural wood.
We sat at a private table, as the waitress handed us the menu and lit the grill that was built into the table. The menu was entirely in Japanese, but the pictures and prices enabled us to choose a meal that included a selection of meats, soup, salad, kimchi, rice, and a Korean-style pancake called jeon. The amount of meat was surprising, with at least five different trays containing some fine sirloin or ribeye and tasty, fatty bacon, along with an organ meat (maybe kidney) and something resembling stomach.
The meal was fantastic, especially the tender, juicy cuts of meat. The side dishes were also great, with the only exception being the cheap Kirin beer. The service was nearly flawless as well; I think many of the Japanese waitresses wanted to stop in just to try out their English.
The meal was 2,500 Yen for each guest, and the beers were 580 Yen each. They also have an all-you-can-drink option for around 2,000 Yen per person.
Street food at Crea Mall
For 150 Yen, you can hardly go wrong. We stopped at a small vendor along Crea Mall that sold nothing but fried meats and veggies on sticks. That is almost always a good choice in Asia, so we pointed at two of the large sticks and played lunch roulette.
Laura got one that looked like cubes of meat on a stick, while mine looked like a huge piece of fish or beef that was heavily breaded. Laura's meat turned out to be a very tasty chicken dish. Mine was a unique kabob that mixed fish, meat and vegetables on a stick. It was a surprisingly large amount of food that kept us satisfied until dinner later that night.
Cafe Elevato, Old Kawagoe
Cafe Elevato looks to be a relatively new, yet rustic cafe and bar at the southern edge of Kawagoe's old town. The first floor has a bar and a few tables, but upstairs is much bigger with room for about 20-30 guests at tables and a counter overlooking the street. The walls and ceilings have old-style exposed wooden beams, giving the cafe a very comfortable and warm feel.
We sat at a table on the second floor and scanned the menu. They offer all five Coedo beers, a variety of hot and cold coffee drinks, a full bar, and a few snacks and desserts like ice cream, cheese cake, and local sweet potato pudding. We ordered a Viennese coffee (600 Yen) and a Coedo Kyara lager beer (700 Yen).
This is a really comfortable place with a good variety of drinks and desserts, and will be a regular stop on my trips to Kawagoe.
Restaurant FURIN: A good choice
Located in a historic building built in 1916 ( périod TAISHO 4).
This small restaurant offers very good sushis with beautiful présentation and a local beer made from sweet potatoes.
Lunch menu around 1500 yens (3 courses with hot tea))
amber beer 780 yens
Chittonbee: Vegetarian Noodle House
The restaurant is run by only one woman. She's the waitress, she's the cashier, she's the cook and she washes the dishes too. I am not sure though if she owns this homey little vegetarian restaurant
Favorite Dish: I ordered Ramen with Vegetable