Japan is famous for it’s food and the Japanese cuisine. There is so much food to choose from that sometimes the real deal get’s lost. There is Japanese soul food that is still unknown in many foreign countries. “Okonomiyaki” – which is called Japanese pizza – is one of these foods. I found a great “okonomiyaki” restaurant in the Mita area. Read on to find out more!
I visited the restaurant “Teppanya Benbe Mita Store” which is 5 minutes walk from Akabanebashi Station of the “Toei Oedo” subway line. Open the Japanese sliding doors to find yourself in a retro atmosphere, that could be the set of an old post-war Japanese movie. In the center, there is a huge iron plate surrounded by counter seats.
This restaurant is specialized on “Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki”.
“Okonomiyaki” is a popular food that is made ingredients such as flour dough, cabbage, meat or squid. All ingredients are baked on a large iron plate and sweet sauce is added as the final step. “Okonomiyaki” can be roughly divided into two types. “Osaka-style okonomiyaki” and “Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki”. The two cities in the Kansai area, Osaka and Hiroshima, are “okonomiyaki” rivals. Each city says: “Our style is the real deal!”
In the case of “Osaka-style okonomiyaki”, you mix all the ingredients together in a bowl before baking it. However, in the case of “Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki”, you first spread the dough onto the iron plate in a round shape like a pizza. All of the other ingredients go on top of that. Also, to me as a foreigner it seems that the point of “Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki” is to try to make an as big as possible mountain with cabbage on the doug.
After the chef created the big cabbage mountain, he puts sliced pork on it. But here is the point: since okonomiyaki is made in front of your eyes, you can tell the chef if you don’t any meat or no squirt etc. Vegetarians are welcome!
Once all the ingredients are on top of the pizza, turn over the okonomiyaki once. Mr. Oguma, the chef, explains: “By turning the okonomiyaki the dough from underneath now becomes a lid. The cabbage in between the iron plate and the “lid” will be steamed.”
By this time, the okonomiyaki has become a considerable volume. But it isn’t done yet. From here we add eggs and “yakisoba” fried noodles! These noodles only appear in the “Hiroshima-style” version. Since I love yakisoba (which is another Japanese soul food), that’s one point more for the Hiroshima-style. After adding some eggs and sweet sauce, the okonomiyaki is finally ready to be eaten!
Itadakimasu! Dig in!
Our okonomiyaki was delicious!! It’s fresh, it’s made right in front of you and you can chat with the chef. All of this adds to the taste – which in itself it great. I ordered “Fuwatoro Okonomiyaki” which has a big omelet on top of everything. My friend Ayana had the “Cheese Special” with baked cheese. The price is about 1000 yen for each okonomiyaki. One okonomiyaki for each person is more that enough so it’s quite reasonable, too.
In his restaurant you can only eat okonomiyaki at lunch time. At night, the menu changes to a great “Teppanyaki” menu. This time, Mr. Oguma was so kind to mak some teppanyaki dishes even though it was lunch time. We had grilled dice steak and garlic shrimps. The meat was tender and juice and the garlic shrimps had the perfect amount of garlic added. Outstanding! Also, the atmosphere of the restaurant is great. When you come here, you will meet locals, workers from offices nearby, as well as foreigners. Everyone is welcome to take a seat around the iron plate. (There is also an English menu!)
My friend Yena said: “This restaurant is really delicious. It’s fun to watch the chef and the atmosphere is really welcoming. I will definitely come again and bring all of my friends!” I quite agree. If you want to try okonomiyaki or have great teppanyaki, this is the place to go!
Teppanya Benbe Mita Store
Weekdays & Saturday: 11: 00-15: 00, 17: 00-23: 00
Sunday: 17: 00 ~ 22: 00
5-1-11 Shiba, Minato – ku, Tokyo
5 minutes on foot from Akabanebashi Station on the Toei Oedo Line
8 minutes on foot from JR Tamachi Station West Exit
Chi-i Bus “Mita 3-chome Nishi” stop