(SPOT.ph) We love Japanese food almost as much as our own, so it’s no surprise that there’s an abundance of Japanese restaurants around the Metro. Aside from high-rise office buildings and condominiums, Bonifacio Global City and Uptown Bonifacio are also home to lots of these restos. From ramen to matcha desserts, you can have several courses without having to go more than a few meters.
One of BGC’s newest cafés is heaven for matcha addicts. Nomi Matcha only uses tea leaves from Kyoto so you get the tea’s distinct earthy-sweet flavor no matter what you order. And there’s a lot to choose from, from a classic Matcha Latte to matcha-fied desserts like the decadent Greenie, their take on the brownie, and Cookie Shots with matcha-chocolate cookie shot glasses filled with matcha milk and topped with matcha whipped cream. They also offer classic Japanese comfort food with a twist, like Longganisa Omurice and the Chicken Yum Yum, their bite-sized chicken karaage. Plus, the pink-and-green interiors and cozy nooks will make this a favorite hangout.
Nomi Matcha is at G/F W City Center, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Chef Onishi Yuki brings the magic that brought his Tokyo-based ramen restaurant a Michelin star to Manila with the opening of Tsuta in Bonifacio Global City. Here, there are three bases you can choose from: The Shoyu (soy-based broth), Shio (salt-based broth), and Miso. What sets their bowls apart, aside from hand-pulled soba noodles made fresh daily, is the truffle oil added to their ramen, lending it a subtle but distinct earthiness. It’s safe to say Tsuta’s ramen is unlike any you’ve tried before.
Tsuta is at UG/F C3 Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.
Not only is Sushi Nori’s W City Center branch their biggest one yet, it’s also the only one that carries Bento Boxes, which are perfect for sudden sushi cravings. A Bento Box will get you the best of everything with classic rolls and sashimi in a convenient ready-to-go packaging. Plus, a separate take-out counter exclusively for these boxes makes it even easier to have that sushi break in the middle of a busy day. Regulars of the sushi chain will also be glad to know that this branch also carries their signature crazy sushi and temaki (or hand roll), like the Sushi Dreams with a rich cream-cheese center.
Sushi Nori is at W City Center, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
The first Philippine branch of this Japanese udon chain channels a Tokyo hole-in-the-wall with a cafeteria-style counter and billowing banners. An open kitchen lets you observe the staff as they hand-pull the thick, wheat-flour noodles right in front of you, which they then serve either in a hot broth, or cold with the soup on the side. If you want to appreciate the freshness of the noodles more, have the Chicken Paitan Udon with a light chicken broth, sautéed chicken, a perfect soft-boiled egg, and a dash of pepper for oomph. Don’t forget to grab some fried side dishes, too, like the Chicken Karaage or Ebi Ten.
Marugame Udon is at B7 Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City.
If your idea of comfort is warm soup, you’ll get that and more at Shaburi. Be prepared to feast with the hotpot restaurant’s unlimited meat plates that include Japanese Wagyu beef, plus a buffet of appetizers, two kinds of rice, drinks, and dessert. You also get your personal shabu-shabu pot which you can fill with your choice from five different kinds of broth, and your unlimited pick from an array of fresh vegetables and mushrooms. If you find you still have space for more after all that, be sure to grab a bowl of Wagyu Rice, peppery, beefy, and perfect with any kind of hotpot concoction.
Shaburi Japanese Shabu Shabu is at 4/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
With so many cool details to take in, from the neon sign and animations that strongly remind you not to double-dip, to the daruma dolls that fill the space, you’re sure to be snapping photos for a while. But the fun doesn’t stop there: Kushikatsu Daruma’s specialty are kushikatsu or fried skewers, and they fry almost everything. You can get the safer options like beef, potato, or shrimp, or be more adventurous and try the pork intestines, or the more indulgent foie gras—or you can have them all! Be sure to pair your sticks with their highballs and merry company.
Kushikatsu Daruma is at 2/F Uptown Mall, Uptown Bonifacio.
Thinking of taking your S.O. out on a fancy Japanese date? Fukudaya may be your best bet. The Japanese fine-dining restaurant is situated at Arya Residences, comfortably away from the busier streets of BGC. Have your fill from a variety of fresh and picture-perfect sashimi and sushi, crisp tempura, and hotpot dishes, with all ingredients imported from Japan on a weekly basis, or you can sample the best from the kitchen with the tasting menus. Fukudaya only seats 50 people, so be sure to phone in a reservation in advance.
Fukudaya is at Unit 7 The Plaza, Arya Residences, McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City.
Though they may have multiple branches across the Metro, don’t expect the usual at Maisen’s Shangri-La at the Fort branch. For one, the menu goes beyond katsu—though you can still get old favorites like the Kurobata Loin Set, they also offer smaller bites like the Oshi Meshi Unagi with alternating layers of velvety grilled eel and rice, and kushikatsu or fried skewers, which come in meat, seafood, or vegetable sets. These are all to complement the full bar and refined cocktails like the White Lady, a gin-based drink finished off with lemon zest, or the Japanese Kakuhai, a punchy mix of Suntory Kakubin Whisky and soda water. Plus, chic black-and-gold interiors makes having a drink or two here feel extra classy.
Maisen is at Shangri-La at the Fort, 30th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
Named after the Japanese phrase “Please wait a second,” the fun Chotto Matte has an impressive selection of Japanese highball whisky, and roaring parties with guest DJs every now and then. Pair your drinks with eccentric yet tasty rolls like the Sensu Roll, with two kinds of sushi, a Tempura Asparagus and Spicy Mayonnaise roll and a Crabmeat Mayonnaise roll, in one long plate or the Yasai Sushi Omakase that includes an assortment of edamame, mango, avocado, okra, and more. Don’t forget to drop by Izakaya Sensu at the back, too, where you can fill up on filling Japanese comfort food pre- or post-drinking, like Goma Chazuke, sesame-marinated white fish rice porridge in hot tea, which we imagine is the perfect cure to an incoming hangover.
Izakaya Sensu x Chotto Matte is at Net Park, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City.
You may have dropped by Parañaque hole-in-the-wall Sensei Sushi, but there’s no better way to get to know a chef than through an intimate omakase restaurant, and that’s precisely what you’ll get from Chef Bruce Ricketts at Mecha Uma. The 10-course tasting menu changes based on what’s fresh and available, and also on what Chef Bruce feels like whipping up for the day, but trust that anything he creates in his culinary playground is bound to be exceptional, and a take on Japanese cuisine you’ve never had before. After all, he and Mecha Uma didn’t earn recognition from The Diners Club in 2016 for nothing. Be sure to grab the highly coveted 10 seats by the bar, and get an up-close look on the action.
Mecha Uma is at RCBC Savings Bank Corporate Tower, 25th corner 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City.