Sendai has a wide selection of specialty foods including beef tongue and seafood. Izakaya restaurants are great places to go to with friends and families where you can have small portions of a variety of different items. This time, we introduce five select izakaya where you can enjoy regional food in Sendai.
1. Chiyo-no Kura Sendai Nishiguchi Branch
This izakaya restaurant is recommended for those who want to try the Sendai specialty, beef tongue. Here, you can enjoy beef tongue in a variety of ways including char grilled, as shabu shabu, and smoked. Its signature dish is the Ginjo Sakamoto Kiwami! Hanasaki Gyutan Sumibiyaki (1,980 JPY (excl.tax)), which is aromatic beef tongue patiently cooked on a charcoal grill. The fantastic marbled tongue, of which just a little is available from each cow, is amazingly soft and juicy. The Sendai Gyutan Shabu Shabu (1,980 JPY (excl. tax)/pp), prepared in a tail soup, is also outstanding. Enjoy them with the Japanese sake and shochu from Miyagi of which there is a wide selection.
2. Rokukin Sendai Ekimae Branch
This is an izakaya that is recommended for those who want to try Kinka Saba, a mackerel caught in the sea near Mt. Kinka in northeastern Miyagi Prefecture. This mackerel is so rare that it is referred to as the phantom mackerel. Kinka Saba, which are large and fatty, can be enjoyed as Grilled Kinka Saba (1,280 JPY (excl. tax)) and as sushi in Kinka Saba Bozushi (1,480 JPY (excl. tax)). Also, the aromatic Ita Soba (800 JPY (excl. tax)), which is soba noodles made by grinding whole kernels of buckwheat from Yamagata Prefecture, is so good that it rivals noodles served at soba specialty restaurants. Enjoy the bounty of the seas from the Sanriku region together with a view of the Sendai nightscape.
3. Nitarou Sendai Ekimae Branch
This is an izakaya where you can try food made with koji (microbes, especially mold that enhances fermentation of food, grown on grains) that have been handed down in Sendai since 1603. The dozens of enzymes in fresh vegetables multiply to more than a hundred when marinated in koji overnight. Meats and fish become softer with enhanced umami (savory Japanese) flavors, so the cuisine here uses koji to increase the appeal of the ingredients rather than the koji itself. Fresh sashimi from the Tohoku region, such as white fish marinated in koji and kombu seaweed, served with homemade shoyu koji are available starting at 810 JPY a dish. Koji dishes are healthy foods made with no additives so they are recommended for people who are particular about what they eat.
This is a restaurant that was listed in the special Miyagi edition of the 2017 Michelin guide that is recommended for those who want to enjoy high quality Japanese cuisine. Its courses, which include an abundance of local ingredients, change every day. The Omakase (3,500 JPY (excl. tax) - 5,000 JPY (excl. tax)) that is made with ingredients that the owner personally selects is full of outstanding dishes. Even though it is an omakase (chef's selection), the restaurant considerately accepts requests for ingredients you want to try or want to avoid. The famous Tohoku sake are served in beautiful cups of Kutani Ware and Suzu Glass that are great accompaniments to a wonderful evening.
This is a restaurant, listed in the special Miyagi edition of the 2017 Michelin guide, is recommended for those who want to enjoy Japanese sake. The food consists mainly of seafood made with ingredients procured directly from fishermen in the Sanriku area of Miyagi Prefecture and coastal Pacific bluefin tuna from the central market in Sendai. The recommended drink to accompany the food is, of course, sake from Miyagi Prefecture. Enjoy your sake at the temperature of your choice using the kan-doko (a tool to warm sake). The Nihonshu-de Kanpai Set (3,500 JPY (incl. tax)) is a great way to try two types of sake and small portions of a variety of different foods. Enjoy the marriage between local sake and regional seafood.
Did you find a restaurant you want to go to? Each of these restaurants are popular places to enjoy regional ingredients and specialty cuisine. Be sure to try them when you go to Sendai.
*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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