The Spanish have tapas bars, the English have pubs, and the Japanese have the izakaya. An izakaya (ee-ZAH-ka-yah) is a type of Japanese eatery, usually used to describe casual places for after-work drinking. These Japanese taverns often serve a menu of small dishes to munch on while drinking. Alcohol is essential to the izakaya dining experience, particularly sake, beer, shōchū, cocktails, and whiskey. Typical fare includes: karaage, kushiyaki, sashimi, sushi, soba, and yakitori.
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At the heart of it all, an izakaya is a place where you can linger with good friends, good food, and good drinks; in fact, the word itself literally translates to “stay sake shop.” Izakaya dining is one of the best ways to pass an evening and this list will allow you to discover (or re-discover) some of the best places in the Metro to enjoy the Japanese dining concept. Keep reading!
Soru Izakaya – Maginhawa
Influenced by the Robotayaki style of Izakaya, Soru Izakaya offers a tasteful blend of after-work gastropub drinks accompanied with fresh Japanese eats. From sashimi plates and savory yakitori combinations to refreshing beverages and speakeasy cocktails, Soru Izakaya completes the whole modern Japan experience that brings you a glimpse of the Tokyo night life.
Also read: 11 Places in Manila to Get Japanese Food for as Low as ₱99!
Shinsen Sushi Bar and Restaurant – Sapphire Bloc
Shinsen, which means “fresh”, is a new homegrown, underrated sushi bar that offers local and imported sashimi selection, donburi bowls, teppanyaki, and bento sets. Read our full feature.
Insider tip: Book a table at their first branch in Pasig here and get P300 off your total bill!
Keizo – Forbes Town Center
Keizo Gastropub, the casual offshoot of Keizo Restaurant. They serve authentic and alternative Japanese dishes, sake, or sochu. Their Keizo Katsuni is a must-try!
Oomori – Banawe
Oomori Japanese Cuisine offers a wide variety of Japanese food like sushi, rolls, sashimi, temaki, rice meals and many more. Their menu does not limit to traditional Japanese dishes.
Kushikatsu Daruma – Uptown Mall
From Osaka to Manila comes Kushikatsu Daruma. The restaurant (brought to you by the same group behind Hole in the Wall, Le Petit Souffle, Wrong Ramen, etc.) specializes in deep fried golden katsu sticks made with a light batter and dipped in special sauce.
Izakaya Sensu + Chotto Matte – Fort Bonifacio
Izakaya Sensu is an informal Japanese-style gastropub that serves fresh sashimi and other traditional Japanese favorites. It shares the same space with Chotto Matte. The Japanese whisky joint offers fresh beats, cool cocktails, artisan Sake & the best Kakubin Highballs in town. Fitting the izakaya philosophy, the name Chotto Matte means “wait a moment.”
Izakaya Kenta – Malate
Formerly located in Pedro Gil, Izakaya Kenta reopens after 13 years. This authentic Japanese restaurant offers a wide selection of sushi, sashimi, grilled and deep-fried meats. They also have different types of tempura dishes.
Tori Tori Kushiyaki Bar – San Juan & Pasig
Tori Tori Kushiyaki Bar is an affordable Japanese place that is mostly known for their yakitori and kushiyaki – skewered meat and vegetables.
Izakaya Kikufuji – Little Tokyo
Kikufuji is no doubt, Makati’s best open secret. The secret to their success? Their authenticity, fresh sushi bowls and signature grilled wagyu sticks.
No reservations accepted
Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces, Pasong Tamo,Legaspi Village, Makati
Nihonbashitei – multiple branches
Nihonbashi Tei is a humble izakaya offering an extensive list of authentic Japanese specialties at fairly affordable prices. Their menu includes sushi, ramen, yakitori, curries, donburi, chirashi and many more.
Ichiba Japanese Market – Resorts World Manila
Inspired by the large, bustling seafood markets of Japan, Ichiba is the first Japanese seafood market and food hall in the Philippines offering a vast selection of fresh and quality seafood fare, Japanese street food, robatayaki, yakiniku and more.
Ikomai – Salcedo Village
Ikomai, which means “Let’s go!” in Japanese, is a casual dining Japanese restaurant by Chef James Antolin and Nagoya Chef Hide. This restaurant offers Japanese street and comfort food with kushiage twist.
12/10 – Guijo St.
12/10 is a popular Japanese izakaya-inspired restaurant owned by Thea de Rivera and Gab Bustos of The Girl + The Bull. Their second baby – a tribute to their anniversary – is a customize-your-own degustation concept. The small plates pair perfectly with their cocktails, which are some of the best in the Metro. Indisputable hits include their salmon kushiyaki, katsu sando, and toro onigiri.
Did we miss your favorite? Tell us in the comments in below and we’ll be sure to update the list!
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