Next door to Wa Dining Okan sits Nijiya Market, the source for many of the restaurant's ingredients, including pork belly and soft-shell crab. Once the ingredients travel to the kitchen, they’re lovingly crafted into homestyle Japanese entrees and served at a communal dining table, making guests feel like they've joined in on a family dinner in Japan.
Shabu World serves piping hot bowls of meat, seafood, and veggie soup with cold pints of Sapporo or warm sake. The chefs prepare the entrees with a choice of sukiyaki, miso, or spicy soup bases, peppering the broth with a variety of spices and up to 20 pieces of meat or seafood. Shabu also serves select beverages, ranging from sodas and juices to plum wine, sake, and Japanese beers.
Some have compared Chef Koji Kotani to Seinfeld's Soup Nazi, but according to CityBeat, he's just a purist: "Sushi in Koji-san's hands is all about stripping away that which is not necessary and celebrating that which is." This observation rings true when it comes to the nigiri (his only offering), featuring surf clam, mackerel, and other seafood caught locally or flown in from Tokyo's Tsukiji Market.
Founder Hitoshi Hatanaka didn’t set out to rewrite the ramen cookbook, but Japan’s lackluster ramen shops ultimately compelled him to do just that. After the tonkotsu ramen recipe he created for his family proved successful, he opened up Santouka Ramen—and the rest is history. Try the family-recipe tokusen toroniku-style—the typical topping of braised pork is replaced with luscious and fatty pork cheeks.
In a Japanese izakaya, it's typical to linger. Even as the food rolls out and the sake flows, the focal point is the conversation. Tajima Izakaya brings this laid-back ethos to San Diego, charming visitors with its robust drink menu and a wide range of Japanese cuisine.?
Guests at Tajima Izakaya can sip 10 types of sake, including hot and cold house varieties, or sample Japanese whiskeys barrel-aged for up to 21 years. The dinner menu features bowls of ramen that are fully customizable?diners select their preferred meat, veggies, noodles, broth, and the color of the steam. Other entrees include Japanese classics such as chicken katsu and miso-marinated salmon, as well as sushi rolls.