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Five Select Specialty Lunches That You Shouldn’t Miss While in Fukuoka!

Fukuoka is known for its unique foods, such as mentaiko (spicy cod roe) and motsunabe (offal pots). When in Fukuoka, you want to make sure that you can enjoy their great dishes during lunch. Below is an introduction of five restaurants that are popular among the locals for their specialty lunches.

Chikae (Hakata)

This is a famous ryotei restaurant established in 1961 (36th year of Showa) that everybody in Fukuoka knows. There is counter seating around a fish tank on the first floor of the main building, as well as 150 seats in a raised tatami floor seating area. They have 29 zashiki-style tatami rooms of various sizes where you can have your fill of outstanding washoku (Japanese cuisine) made with seasonal ingredients! The restaurant is used for various occasions, including business dinners and holiday parties.

The Wa-teishoku and Soba-teishoku sets (1,500 JPY each) that are available at lunchtime (between 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM) are great ways to casually enjoy Chikae's food. The Wa-teishoku in the photo is a supremely satisfying set that includes tempura, nimono (stewed fish), sashimi, a small dish, Japanese pickles, and miso soup.

The restaurant is known for its Karashi Mentaiko (spicy cod roe). Only high-quality cod roe from Hokkaido is used, and it is marinated with carefully selected ingredients such as local sake and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) from Makurazaki. The restaurant's Karashi Mentaiko can be purchased at the Chikae Honpo next to the main building, as well as at Hakata Station and department stores around the city.

Reservations are not accepted at lunchtime, so there are long lines out the door every day! Many of them are visitors from abroad who have come to try the specialty lunch, which is definitely worth lining up for. We hope you will experience the outstanding flavors that are savored by all five senses while enjoying a view of the fish tank!

Phone: 092-721-4624
Hours: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM (last order at 9:00 PM)
*Lunch sets available from 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM
Days closed: None
Capacity: 750 (separate smoking section)
Parking: Affiliated parking lots available
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Akasaka Station on the subway

Chikae

2-2-17 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

Shin-Miura

Shin-Miura was established in 1910 (43rd year of Meiji). It is a restaurant famous for consistently serving tasty chicken mizutaki (hot pots) for more than 100 years. Many locals, tourists, and celebrities go to Shin-Miura for their tasty Hakata-style mizutaki that can be enjoyed both day and night.

The pride of the restaurant is its secret milky soup that has been added to every day since the restaurant was founded. Chicken bones are cooked for more than 10 hours, and the scum is carefully removed to create a soup full of umami (savory) flavors. First, enjoy the soup on its own, then put in ingredients like chicken and vegetables.

Only course menus are served for lunch and dinner. The lunchtime Ume Course (3,400 JPY (excl. tax)) is a satisfying lunch of blanched chicken, mizutaki, vegetables, soup rice, and dessert. The concept of this restaurant is to "begin with soup and end with soup". The "soup rice" (soup poured over rice) is served as the finishing dish in order to give you a lingering memory of the meal.

The restaurant has a variety of seating options, such as private zashiki tatami rooms with views of Mikasa River, table seating with a modern Japanese style, and zashiki tatami seating that retains the atmosphere from the time the restaurant opened.

Phone: 092-291-0821
Hours: 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM, 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM (last entry at 10:00 PM)
Days closed: Sundays, otherwise open unless specified
Capacity: 100 (smoking allowed)
Parking: 5 (free)
Access: 1 minute on foot from Chikuko-guchi Bus Stop on the Nishitestu bus system

Shin-Miura

21-12 Sekijo-machi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

Ganso Hakata Mentaiju

This is Japan's first mentaiko (spicy cod roe) specialty restaurant, where you can have your fill of the standard Hakata mentaiko. Their signature dish is the Ganso (Original) Hakata Mentaiju (1,680 JPY). It is a whole mentaiko wrapped in kombu seaweed that has been thoroughly simmered in a special sauce. It is served on steaming hot rice covered with nori seaweed.

Their other popular menu item is the Mentaiko Nikomi Tsukemen (dipping noodles) (1,680 JPY). The rich warishita stock mixed with soy sauce, mirin, and sugar, and simmered mentaiko whets the appetite. The Hanmen Set (2,880 JPY) that includes both the Ganso Hakata Mentaiju and the Mentaiko Nikomi Tsukemen is also very popular.

Different room settings are available, with a first floor that has traditional Japanese style seating and a second floor with designed in a chic and modern Japanese style. The restaurant is large (111 seats in total from both floors), but it is so popular that there are lines out the door on weekends and public holidays. They do take reservations, so if you can plan ahead, be sure to make one!

This is a popular restaurant where you can enjoy a Fukuoka specialty, and it is conveniently open from 7 AM. Many tourists stop here for breakfast before leaving Fukuoka. Only the Ganso Hakata Mentaiju (1 person portion) is available for takeout.

Phone: 092-725-7220
Hours: 7:00 AM - 10:30 PM (last order at 10:00 PM)
Days closed: None
Capacity: 111 (non-smoking)
Parking: None
Access: 5 minutes on foot from Tenjin Station on the subway

Ganso Hakata Mentaiju

6-15 Nishinakasu, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

Nakasu Chin-ya

There is a restaurant in Kyushu's foremost entertainment district, Nakasu, where you can enjoy fantastic gourmet food during lunchtime. It is Nakasu Chin-ya, which opened in 1948 (23rd year of Showa) and will soon celebrate its 70th anniversary. Japanese black beef selected by experienced butchers is served as sukiyaki, shabu shabu and steaks.

The lunch menu is particularly popular as a way to enjoy quality Japanese beef at discount prices. The Yakiniku Teishoku (860 JPY) set is especially popular. Japanese black beef and cabbage are stacked high on a steaming hot iron plate! The original sauce adds to the overall flavor.

The Saikoro (Diced) Steak Teishoku (1,180 JPY) set is also a popular menu item. The light Japanese-style sauce goes perfectly with the juicy meat! It goes extremely well with white rice as well. You can get a large serving of rice for an extra 110 JPY. It is a voluminous set that comes with potatoes, spinach and corn.

The shop consists of a butcher counter in the middle, a Western-style floor on the left side of the first floor, and a second floor serving sukiyaki and shabu shabu up the stairs to the right. Lunchtime is full of regulars, many of whom are local businesspeople. There is counter seating, so it is comfortable for solo guests.

Phone: 092-291-5560
Hours: (1F Restaurant) 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM (last order at 9:30 PM)
(2F - 4F Zashiki Seating) 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM (last order at 10:15 PM)
Days closed: Sundays
Capacity: 150 (*1F non-smoking during lunchtime)
Parking: None
Access: 3 minutes on foot from Nakasu-Kawabata Station on the subway

Nakasu Chin-ya

3-7-4 Nakasu, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

Kappo Yoshida Hanare

Kappo Yoshida is an established kappo-style restaurant that has been open for more than 50 years. Next to it is Yoshida Hanare (annex), which underwent renovation and opened in September 2016. It is a restaurant where you can casually enjoy creative Japanese cuisine made by skilled chefs using fresh fish from around Fukuoka.

The number one recommended menu item is the Taizuke-don (Sea Bream Bowl) (900 JPY (excl. tax)) that lets you thoroughly enjoy the umami (savory) flavor of tai (sea bream). Only 15 bowls are served every day during lunchtime. The tai is marinated in a secret sauce and then cut into large pieces that seem to melt in the mouth. You can also enjoy a different flavor by pouring dashi stock made from sea bream bones over it.

The Yoshida specialty, Tai Chazuke, is also available at this restaurant. The popular menu item is the Tai Chazuke + Tempura Set (1,400 JPY (excl. tax)). The recommended way to enjoy it is separated into two stages: First, have the tai (sea bream) on its own, and once you've eaten about half, put it on the rice and enjoy it as chazuke (tea rice).

Since the restaurant is close to Tenjin (a business district), it is crowded with businesspeople during the week and with families and tourists during the weekend. There is table seating, as well as private rooms. There is a variety of courses at night, including the Tai Shabu Shabu Course (4,000 JPY), so it is also recommended for parties and events.

Phone: 092-734-7255
Hours: 11:30 AM - 2:00 PM (last order), 5:00 PM - 9:30 PM (last order)
Days closed: Sundays, Public Holidays
Capacity: 52 (non-smoking during lunchtime)
Parking: None
Access: 3 minutes on foot from Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station on the Nishitetsu line

Kappo Yoshida Hanare

1-14-12 2F, Tenjin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 09.01.2017]

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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