SPOT.ph’s Guide to Little Tokyo
Sushi-starved folks and those who think beyond the fast food bento box should always go where the Japanese nationals go!
Fans of authentic Japanese cuisine know that they can get their fix at Little Tokyo, the compound in Pasong Tamo, Makati, with quaint restaurants, some of which serve the best Japanese food this side of town. ï¿½ The restaurants are owned by Japanese owners, and it’s easy to get lost in translation with the obscure signboards. ï¿½ SPOT.ph gives you a guide to the places that dish out delectable Japanese food:
SPOT.ph’s Little Tokyo Gallery: Click for more photos
Little Tokyo, 2227 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 795-5560
Go for: Soba (starts at P150) and ramen (starts at P150)
Open from 10:30 a.m to 10 p.m. daily
The Choto Stop is a Japanese grocery with a snack bar. ï¿½ There only four tables at the snack bar area. The limited menu lists bento meals, cold or hot soba and ramen choices. ï¿½ There’s no service tea (nor Japanese beer or sake on the menu) but you do get huge servings of tasty soba with fresh vegetables or piping hot, hearty ramen.
To kill time, you can grab a handful of manga books that line the shelves or watch the Japanese TV shows on their TV.
Little Tokyo, Pasong Tamo Street, Makati City. Tel. No. 339-3855
Go for: Takoyaki (P120 for 6 pieces), fried Japanese octopus dumplings; kakigori (P70/ add P10 for milk) Japanese shaved ice dessert
Open for lunch at 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. for dinner
Ha Na starts serving their famous takoyaki at 5:30 p.m. where a cook prepares the batter just right after you place your orders. ï¿½ Be prepared to wait around 20 minutes before a plate of tasty takoyaki gets to your table. ï¿½ Served with Okonomi sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and Tenkatsu (dried fish) on top, the dumplings are served hot and fresh off the grill. ï¿½ The soft batter does not have an overwhelming salty taste and chewy octopus chunks lends texture to the dumpling.
Ha Na has limited seats inside but you can dine alfresco as well.
Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 893-7319
Go for: Sukiyaki (P1,500) good for around 6 people; sashimi (starts at P360); nama or draft beer (P62/ mug)
Open for lunch at 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. for dinner
A one-chef restaurant, Izakaya Kikufuji is one of the bigger restaurants, with locals and Japanese expats feasting on their sukiyaki, fresh sashimi and sushi. ï¿½ The resto also offers hefty lunch sets with miso soup, vegetables, fresh green salad, tea and dessert or coffee.
Most Japanese restos are also known for their artful yet small servings, but Kikufuji’s sushi sets offer rich, velvety mounds of fish sitting on top of soft rice.
Unit 2 Little Tokyo, Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 894-3856
Go for: Okonomiyaki or Japanese pancakes (starts at P395)
Open for lunch at 11:30 to 2:30 p.m. and ï¿½ 6 p.m. to10:30 p.m. for dinner (closed on Mondays)
One of the smaller restaurants in Little Tokyo, Kagura serves two kinds of Okonomiyaki: one made with cabbage, flour and egg, and another made with yakisoba noodles, both of which are drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise. ï¿½ You can also add ingredients depending on the mood you’re in for a few more pesos: squid rings, bacon strips, or nori (seaweed) among others. ï¿½ The overall taste always depends on what you decide to put in, but you’re sure to have equal amounts of soft dough-like texture mixed with a bit of sweetness from the okonomiyaki sauce blending with the rich taste of the mayonnaise.
Kagura has a diner-style counter where you can watch your Okonomiyaki being cooked while you wait.
Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 894-3855
Go for: Bento meals (P350-P540), fresh sushi, and sashimi at the bar
Open at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and 6:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday-Friday for dinner (dinner on Sundays start at 5:30 p.m.)
Eating at the bar is not necessarily a bad thing at Seryna. ï¿½ Japanese chefs are known to be masters at counter dining. ï¿½ You can plant yourself at the bar, and watch the chefs work their magic on the freshest sushi and sashimi (starts at P215) in town.
Seryna also serves bento meals for lunch (all for P350, except the mixed lunch set or the Makunouchi Bento at P540) which comes with salad, miso soup, and fruits in season. ï¿½ The Kaisen gozen is a box filled with mixed sashimi tempura, grilled tuna and sushi rice while Sashimi gozen has fresh, soft and delectable sashimi.
Reservations are ideal as the four-year-old restaurant packs in the crowds for both lunch and dinner.
Shinjuku Ramen House
Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 819-1242
Go for: Ramen (starts at P320)
Open from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily
From ramen to fried noodles, Shinjuku Ramen House’s list of specialty noodles will surely bowl you over. ï¿½ A big bowl of their ramen can easily be shared by two to three people. ï¿½ You can add shrimp, pork, young corn, mushrooms, and sliced bell peppers, but each bowl is consistently hearty with its myriad of flavors.
Little Tokyo, 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 813-2210
Go for: Yakiniku (grilled beef sets starts at P1,500, good for 2 to 3 people)
Open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. daily
The grilled beef sets at Urameshiya are pricey. ï¿½ But they’re definitely worth it. ï¿½ Grilling is done at the table where you can take the plates of bite-sized beef perfectly seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic and grill them on your own. ï¿½ The grilled sets also come with a soup, salad and kimchi.
With low tables and tatami mats, Urameshiya’s interiors are cozy and quaint. It’s also best to ask the servers about the stars on their menu.
Other restaurants in Little Tokyo:
Hoka Hoka Ramen and Bento/ Yamazaki Japanese Grocery
2277 Fernando St. cor. Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 893-2163
Open from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Unit 14 Little Tokyo 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 840-2741
Open for dinner only at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Oishinbou (formerly Miyakodori Japanese Restaurant)
Unit 6 Little Tokyo, 2227 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 894-3744
Open for lunch at 11:00 a..m. to 2 p.m.; 5:00 a.m. to 1 a.m. for dinner
Sekitori Japanese Hotpot
Little Tokyo 2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City. Tel. No. 894-3876
Open for dinner only at 5:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.