Looking for a Japanese culinary adventure? You'd find it in the most unexpected places. At the corner of Arnaiz Avenue (formerly Pasay Road) you will find Nihonbashitei, a place that sends you to a glimpse everyday Japan. If you want to be greeted by women in kimonos and to be asked to walk barefoot and sit on pillows to eat on a low table, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for some sort of fine dining opulence, this isn't the restaurant you are looking for as well. But if you are looking forward to eating the most sumptuous, hearty and authentic japanese dishes at a relaxed atmosphere, Nihonbashitei is the place to be.

The place was down-to-earth and unassuming. At the entrance, one is greeted with a stack of japanese groceries and ingredients that you can purchase if you want. A sushi bar ornates the left side while small private dining rooms were found at the window side. There were regular wooden tables and chairs and cherry blossom wallpapers and deep wooden floors. Flat TVs were blasting the NHK channel to its diners, which were mostly families or friends hanging out and catching up on each other's lives.

The service was amazing. Attentive women in black, their hair kept neatly to their sides took down orders with much care and precision. Even though the place was full of hungry customers, they are able to pay attention even to the smallest requests of each diner. Even the owner was hands on with the service resulting to the place exuding hospitality and great service. Probably the only down thing about Nihonbashitei being customer-friendly was the all confusing Japanese menu. Translation please!

Now let's talk about the food! The menu was so large you'd want to order everything! My family and I ordered a number of things: California Maki, Tanuki Udon, Unagi Kamage, Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura, Yaki Gyoza Yakitori (paid per stick) and Beef and Vegetable Teppanyaki. The food was served quickly and may I say, it was delicious!

The Vegetable and Shrimp Tempura had a light, well seasoned batter that brought out the natural flavors of the vegetables and the shrimp. It was not oily nor was it starchy--it's probably one of the best tempuras I've ever eaten in my entire life. The unagi was cooked pretty well! It wasn't dry nor was it overly sweet like some pseudo-japanese restaurants would mistakenly do, and the oils and aroma of the eel comes through every bite. The Tanuki Udon was okay, but not exactly amazing. The noodles were cooked well, and the broth was a little too sweet--disappointing for one such Tanuki-udon lover.The gyoza was the best ever. It was crunchy, which was unexpected and although it was served as thin pieces of dumpling, it was enough to satiate one's gyoza craving. Although I found the Beef and Vegetable Teppanyaki a little oily, the flavors in it were pronounced--the beef not having any dry and bland bites in it. If you're looking for a flavorful dish to go with a cup of steaming white rice, this is the dish to order. The yakitori sticks had a beautiful, smokey taste to it. The teriyaki sauce and other seasonings were not overpowering, making the meat the limelight of this simple dish. Complimentary tea is served to all guests, but be careful with the hot ceramic cup!

Overall, my experience in Nihonbashitei was one of a kind. It was the kind that made you feel good, not because of its quiet and high-class ambiance but because of the wonderful, non-pretentious food and the excellent service. I will certainly go back to Nihonbashitei and perhaps try more of what they have to offer in the menu.
Nihon Bashitei's Restaurant Sign
The menu has no translations though :(
Beef and Vegetable Teppanyaki
the crunchy, yummy Yaki Gyoza! Saikono!
Vegetable Tempura- Not too oil nor starchy
the place says simplicity
(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)
Date of Visit
Spending Per Head
₱350 (Dinner)
Recommended Dishes
Yaki Gyoza, Vegetable Tempura, Yakitori, Unagi Kamage
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