Kobe has always been one of Japan’s most cosmopolitan cities, with a cuisine that reflects its cosmopolitan influence. However, Kobe is no slouch when it comes to Japanese cuisine, with numerous restaurants highlighting the city’s most famous dish: Kobe beef. Here are some of must-try restaurants in Kobe, Japan.
Must-Try Restaurants in Kobe, Japan
If you have a food fondness and want to taste Kobe Beef at one of the city’s most famous restaurants, be sure to prioritize a visit to Kobe Plaisir. Here you can select your own ingredients and say how you would like them to be prepared, then sit back and watch the magic happen before your eyes. This restaurant is known to be full weeks in advance, so call ahead or make a reservation online to ensure one of the hottest tables in town.
Take your burger game to the next level by trying this American classic made from the finest Japanese ingredients. Wanto Burger’s red leather seats and retro look make it an experience from the moment you walk in the door. But it’s the burgers themselves that make this a true foodie destination: 100% Kobe beef patties, thin slices of Wagyu steak, salted eggs, and fried garlic crisps are all iconic ingredients. Opt for their namesake Kobe burger for a truly unique taste sensation.
Kobe Beef Steak Ishida Kitanozaka
This is one for steak lovers. At Ishida Kitanozaka, you can expect to see mastery at work as your personal chef prepares the best meats and vegetables on a teppanyaki grill in front of you. If you’re looking for a less exuberant experience, you can also opt for the set lunch which will give you some of the restaurant’s iconic flavors for a fraction of the cost.
This no-frills restaurant has wowed customers for over 40 years with just one dish: gyoza (Japanese-style dumplings). Hyotan dumplings are known for the light texture of their wrappers, which are filled with salted cabbage, ground pork, and leek. Tucked under the tracks at Hanshin Sannomiya Station, Hyotan doesn’t have an English sign, but look for the red noren curtains hanging outside the entrance.
Located on a hill overlooking Kobe, Kitano Club is one of must-try restaurants in Kobe, known for its panoramic views and exceptional French cuisine. Open for more than 50 years, the restaurant menu changes every month, with typical dishes such as foie gras, snails and dishes based on fresh fish, roast beef, duck or lamb accompanied by seasonal vegetables… The restaurant’s sleek interior is a great place for people-watching, and the separate lounge bar is a relaxing place to linger after dinner, offering views of Kobe in the valley below.
For many, the name ‘Kobe’ is associated with its world famous beef dish, and Wakkoqu is one of the best places in the city to try it. There are several set menus of different types of beef, cooked directly before dinner on a large iron griddle. Beef is served with accompaniments such as soup and sautéed vegetables, and the chefs will teach you how to add sauces and seasonings for different taste experiences.
Opened in 1948, Nishimura is a timeless cafe offering over 20 different blends of coffee, all roasted on site. Set in a German house, its distinctive half-timbered exterior has helped establish it as a Kobe landmark. The interior exudes elegant charm, decorated with antiques and beautiful woodwork. It was one of the first places in Japan to serve the now-popular cappuccino, Viennese and coffee jelly, giving it a permanent place in Kobe’s coffee culture. In addition to coffee, the cafe also offers a light menu of sandwiches, cakes and other snacks.
Famous throughout Japan, Isuzu Bakery is loved by many for its unique creations, such as the 70cm long sausage and mustard bread roll. Like many Japanese bakeries, here you can grab the tray in any of its four positions and pile up the food as you like. With several new creations on offer on any given day, it can be hard to choose what to sample. Feeling adventurous? Try unique dishes like seaweed and salted bread or green tea tarts.
If you already like Japan’s favorite drink, be sure to stop by this beloved independent bar. With over 90 types of alcohol on offer, there is a sake to suit everyone. After you’ve chosen your drink, pair it with some of the great dishes on the menu. This is Japan’s best, with seasonal dishes that often include seafood specialties and tempura dishes of local vegetables.