Often overlooked by tourists in favor of the more famous Kansai foodie-city of Osaka, Kobe is well known in Japan as having an excellent restaurant scene. With the reputation as the most international city in Japan and the fame of being home to Kobe beef, it’s possible to get just about any cuisine and have it expertly prepared. Check out these ten restaurants for the most delicious food in Kobe, and spend more time eating and less time wondering which restaurant is worth it.
Hyotan might look like a dive, but its smoke-stained walls tell of years and years of making Kobe’s best gyoza. These dumplings are so popular they’re sent all over Japan as special Kobe souvenirs. This restaurant only makes gyoza, and they do it well. The filling is just classic pork, but packed with a punch of flavor. What really takes Hyotan gyoza to the next level, making it a Kobe classic, is the sauce. They are served with a rich brown chunky miso instead of the typical soy-based gyoza sauce. If alcohol is no problem, the best thing to wash down an order is a frosty mug of draft Asahi.
Is it any surprise that a city known for its beef would have good burgers? Head to Elua for the best burger in Kobe. These American-style burgers are so huge it feels easier to eat them with a knife and fork. They have the standard variations like avocado and bacon, but don’t pass up their Vietnamese-flavored sweet chili sauce burger. This place is crowded at dinner, so be prepared for a wait that is well worth it.
Kan Kan Deli is an extremely popular Korean BBQ restaurant in Sannomiya. In fact, this place is so hot, they had to open a second branch just a few buildings over to accommodate all of the reservations. This restaurant serves Korean BBQ with a local twist. They try to use only Japanese grown produce, and all of their pork is from neighboring Sanda. Sanda pork is like the Kobe beef of pork in Japan. The meat used is unbelievably tender and juicy and will have anybody questioning if wagyu really is the best meat in Japan. There are unlimited Korean side dishes, as well as rice. And don’t pass up most unique part of the meal. When everyone is stuffed beyond capacity, any leftover vegetables are blended together to create an original fruit juice.
With one of Japan’s three Chinatowns being in Kobe, it’s no surprise that there are some fantastic places to get authentic Chinese food. One of the best restaurants isn’t in Chinatown, though – it’s tucked away in a tiny alley near Motomachi Station. Step into Yunki to get a little taste of Hong Kong in Japan. An unassuming restaurant specializing in Cantonese dim sum, the food is anything but boring. The prices are so affordable that it’s tempting to order one of everything. There isn’t a bad thing on the large menu, but the steamed shrimp dumplings and chashu pork pies are must-orders. Besides dumplings, there is also Hong Kong style yakisoba and congee, as well as famous Macau egg tarts.
Bo Tambourine is an unexpected venue to find in Japan. This cute little restaurant went with an American South theme to spice up their décor and menu. This is one of the only places to have Southern classics like BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, fried okra, and bread pudding. For that full American diner experience, there’s also Dr. Pepper, root beer floats, and fruit pies. Do be warned that they have a one drink order per person requirement.
With one of Japan’s only mosques in Japan located in Kobe, the city is blessed with an abundance of great Indian food. There can only be one “number one” restaurant and that prize goes to Chalte Chalte. This joint might make the best Indian food in Japan. The owners pride themselves on serving authentic Indian cuisine, so look somewhere else for that butter chicken. Think mutton curries and piping hot samosas. What really sets this place apart is the South Indian dosas. Filled with a delicious vegetarian potato mixture and served with a vegetable curry and coconut sauce, the only way this could taste any better is if it was actually in India.
Anga almost belongs on a most-unusual-in-Kobe list, but its unique atmosphere and cheap tacos land it on the best of Kobe restaurants. Anga is a quirky, remodeled shed and labels itself a taco bar. Inside is a small bar area and bench seating. The walls are covered in shelves displaying vintage Japanese snacks and candy, making it a very friendly place to bring the kids. There’s a cooler by the door that’s self-serve. No visit to a taco stand would be complete without a few tacos. There are five different types of fillings to choose from like fish and pork. Served on corn tortillas, each taco is small, but the most expensive one is only 280 yen (US$2.50).
Could there be a best of Kobe list without a Kobe beef restaurant? No. There really couldn’t be. Kobe beef put the city on the map, and every year thousands of tourists flock to the area to taste the most famous meat in the world. Aoyama is considered by many to be the most excellent, but it’s not going to be a budget meal. The cheapest steak course is the ladies set coming in at 6,500 yen (US$58), but they recommend the 9,000 yen (US$80) Aoyama steak course served with a 130-gram Kobe beef steak and soup and salad.
Com Coka is considered by many to serve the best Vietnamese food in Kobe. It certainly wins on location, since the Kobe Mosque is across the street. Its also easy accessible to explorers in the Kitano area. While the chef may be Japanese, his passion for Vietnamese cuisine is evident in how authentic the food is.
Only open since 2016, Yakitori Kasahara is already gaining a name for itself as being the place in Kobe to get grilled chicken skewers. The modern interior is simple, keeping customers focusing on the freshly cooked dishes in front of them, but the place also stays upbeat by only playing jazz music. Online reviews on Japanese websites say Kasahara is better than Michelin star-rated yakitori joints in Kansai, which should put it on anyone’s must-try list. If you’re interested in chicken “sashimi,” this is the place to try it.
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