Visiting Nagoya soon? Take this list of recommended restaurants with you!
Nagoya is the capital of Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, and is the fourth largest city in Japan. This region is where the historical samurai and ninja culture has evolved, and is also home to auto-making giants like Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi Motors. In terms of cuisine, Nagoya is the country’s largest producer of freshwater eel (unagi), which is usually served in a style known as hitsumabushi. This serving style is where the unagi is served in a traditional wooden bowl alongside a rice bowl, a plate of condiments, and a pot of broth. You can eat hitsumabushi by dividing the eel into four portions. For the first portion, scoop the eel into the rice bowl and eat it straightaway in order to savour the natural flavours of the eel. For the second portion, you can eat the eel with the various condiments. For the third portion, you can add broth to the eel, rice, and condiments to create a type of chazuke. The final portion can be eaten according to your preference.
Executive Chef Kenji Okumura of Takumi Restaurant, who hails from Nagoya, gives us his recommendations for 10 must-visit restaurants in his home city:
“I’ve known this restaurant for a long time as I used to work here. It was opened by my mentor and a Senior Master Chef from Nadaman. I highly recommend dining here. This restaurant specialises in an omakase menu, with a strong focus on the freshest ingredients.”
“When I was a kid, we used to go to this restaurant very often, so the food brings back many memories for me. My favourite dish is the grilled beef heart.”
“This place specialises in udon served in a very flavourful miso broth. It is simply delicious – comfort food at its best.”
“This restaurant specialises in chicken sashimi (yes, that’s right! You can eat chicken meat raw, and it’s perfectly safe.) You can also order a selection of chicken yakitori.”
“When I was training to be a chef, I used to stay nearby to this restaurant and ate here pretty often. So, I’ve always had good memories of the food here. After a long day at work, a bowl of udon for me was always the perfect comfort food. The soup is very flavourful and the noodles have a nice, springy texture.”
“If you are looking for a great Unagi restaurant, this is one of the best places for good quality unagi at reasonable prices.They are especially known for their delicious hitsumabushi, a dish that originated in Nagoya (see above for description). This will definitely be a unique dining experience, quite different from your regular unagi donburi.”
“This shop serves up a variety of top-notch ramen, but their speciality is the Taiwanese mazemen, or “mixed noodles” dish. It is a soupless bowl of noodles topped with a spicy blend of minced pork and beef, scallions, and a raw egg. You mix everything together and slurp it up like normal ramen. At the end, you are given a scoop of rice to soak up the leftover gravy at the bottom of your bowl. Totally addictive.”
“This restaurant has a unique “ragged look” concept/style, and reminds me of the flavours I enjoyed during my youth. I love their marinated beef intestines.”
9. Udon Nishiki
“If you are looking for a noodle shop after a night of drinking, this is the best place to go.They specialise in a very delicious curry udon.”
10. Komeda Coffee
“People who live in the Aichi Prefecture love to go to this coffee shop whenever they have meet-ups and small gatherings. It is actually a coffee chain that originated in Nagoya and became so popular that it has spread across Japan. They serve up a great Ogura toast with red bean paste.”
Takumi is located at Keppel Bay Vista, #02-01 Marina at Keppel Bay, Tel: 6271 7414. It features three stations offering sushi, robataki, and teppanyaki. Takumi receives fresh produce from Japan four times a week, ensuring the ingredients is always of the highest quality. Chef Okumura has recently revamped the menu to include contemporary Japanese dishes such as Lamb Chops, Unagi Sushi and Unagi Kushiyaki (main image), and Crab Hotpot (pictured above).
Takumi is open for lunch and dinner from Monday to Sunday. In addition to a-la-carte and set dinner menus, the restaurant also offers value-for-money business lunch set menus. An express lunch set menu priced from $15 per person comes complete with an appetiser, main dish of your choice, miso soup, chawanmushi, rice, and dessert.