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Kobe Restaurants

Where to Eat in Kobe

While dining in Kobe may lack the world recognition that Tokyo enjoys, there is certainly no shortage of variety or style among its restaurants. With a sizeable expat population, eating out in Kobe has more of a cosmopolitan feel than other cities of a similar size. From street-side noodle shops to opulent, five-star eateries, dining in Kobe can be as affordable or as indulgent as you wish.

Kobe beef is Kobe's best-known dish, and places serving up this marbled, tender meat are numerous. Chinese and Indian restaurants abound, as do eateries offering Western fare. Many of the best spots are found in and around Sannomiya, downtown Kobe.

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Nishimura

Long before Starbucks became a part of the Kobe café culture there was Nishimura. Still standing at the same street corner location since opening in 1948, Nishimura brews more than 20 blends of coffee and also offers sandwiches, snacks, cakes and other desserts. The family-run café exudes elegance and charm throughout the two spacious floors of its German-style house. Strict quality control with the ingredients and production, from the beans to the milk to the roasting technique gives Nishimura coffee a heavenly edge over the more stock-standard coffee shops around.

  • Opening Hours: 08:30 - 23:00
  • Location: 1-26-1 Nakayamate Dori
  • Type: Café
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 221 1872
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 500-1000 yen (Budget)
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Hyotan

This Japanese version of a 'greasy spoon' (greasy chopstick?) diner proves that keeping it simple is a good formula for success. Your choice on the menu is limited to gyoza, gyoza or … gyoza. But no one seems down in the dumps about having only dumplings for dinner, since Hyotan has been attracting Kobe's hungriest for more than 40 years. What the restaurant lacks in style it more than makes up for in speed, value and consistency. A plateful of these eight tasty mince-pork morsels will satisfy your stomach growlings while being very easy on the wallet. A cheap eats treat.

  • Opening Hours: Mon - Fri from 11:30 - 14:30 and 17.00 - 23:30; Sat and Sun from 11:30 - 22:30 (Closed on 2nd and 4th Monday of each month)
  • Location: 1-31-37 Kitanagasadori (under the tracks at Hanshin Sannomiya Station)
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 331 1354
  • Cuisine: Japanese (gyoza)
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: Less than 500 yen (Budget)

Wakkoqu

Kobe beef has become a sought-after specialty around the world, so sampling it in the city of its origin is a must. Kobe beef is not cheap, but Wakkoqu is one of the better-value spots in which to indulge in this tempting steak. Choose from sirloin, tenderloin or other choice cuts of beef and watch as the skillful chefs grill and season them to perfection in front of you. Meals are served in as set menu items offering different grades of beef with a side of soup and roasted vegetables, coffee and dessert. Seating for only up to 30 gives Wakkoqu a cosy, intimate feel.

  • Opening Hours: 11:45 - 22:30
  • Location: Shin Kitano-cho 1-chome, Chuo-ku (3rd floor, Oriental Avenue shopping plaza, near the Crowne Plaza Kobe)
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Shin-Kobe
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 262 2838
  • Cuisine: Japanese (steak)
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 2600-10000 yen (Pricey)
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Kitano Club

Set on the hillside of Kitano-cho, Kitano Club is a well established spot for French cuisine, still popular with diners since it first opened in 1957. Creative set menu dinners offer delectable servings of roast lamb, beef or duck with salads, grilled vegetables and desserts. Enjoy dramatic views across the city in the valley below. The scenery inside is often just as appealing since this chic dining spot attracts the most stylish of Kobe's residents and visitors. While Kitano Club's longevity has made it a local institution, even returning diners will always find something fresh to try with new menu selections every month. Reservations are recommended.

  • Opening Hours: 17:30 - 22:30; bar open until 24:00
  • Location: 1-5-7 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Shin-Kobe
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 222 5123
  • Cuisine: French
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 3500-10500 yen (Pricey)
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Totenkaku

This swish Chinese restaurant features fresh Peking duck and other authentic Peking dishes in the century-old F. Bishop House. The restaurant's vaulted ceilings, plush red carpets and exquisite Chinese art pieces makes it seem more of a palace than an eatery -- indeed some of its dishes are prepared with 'royal' recipes. Its luxurious setting also makes Totenkaku a popular place for wedding receptions among Kobe's elite. Set menus for lunch and dinner or individual dishes are on offer, including lobster, shrimp and seafood. Those seeking a lighter, cheaper meal might want to try the Chinese noodle dishes.

  • Opening Hours: 11:30 - 14:00, 17:00 - 21:00 (Weekdays) 11:30 - 21:00 (Weekends and holidays)
  • Location: 3-14-18 Yamamoto-dori, Chuo-ku
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 231 1351
  • Cuisine: Chinese
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 4000-15000 yen (Pricey)
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Sun

Noted for its simple, delicious meals and spectacular views across Kobe's city lights from its 10th floor location, Sun is among the few restaurants in Kobe that strays away from the more traditional, classic style favoured by many restaurateurs here. Its contemporary design has made it a hit among Kobe's trendy crowd, with a good range of dishes that also delight. The menu features tofu, seasonal fish and high-quality meats including Yamato beef and Kagoshima pork. A regional specialty is its grilled eel sushi, made in the Kansai style -- eel slices pressed on rice then cut into rectangular pieces. Sun also has a special flair with dim sum, adding interesting twists and surprising flavours to the Chinese dumpling.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 - 14:00; 17:00 - 22:00
  • Location: 1-10-1, 10th Floor, Kobe Kotsu Center Building
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 331 1233
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 4000-7000
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Steak House Tachiki

This popular steakhouse has its own herd of carefully fattened Tajima-ushi cattle. As an assurance to customers that the Kobe beef they are eating is authentic, chefs provide diners with a "family tree" certificate of the cattle used in its meals. Choice selections of beef are grilled on a grid and beautifully arranged on granite steak platters for serving. Set menu items serve a hearty slice of beef with salad, appetizer, soup, rice and desserts. Tachiki has a warm, luxurious setting with brick walls and plush leather chairs for comfort.

  • Opening Hours: 12:00 - 22:00 (closed Sundays)
  • Location: 1F Mikado Bldg, 1-5-10 Kitanagasa-dori, Chuo-ku
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 392 0788
  • Cuisine: Japanese (steak)
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: From 9000 yen for full-course meals (Pricey)
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Sogo Department Store (basement)

If you're short on time and just seeking a quick meal or take-away, the bottom level of Sogo Department Store near the Sannomiya station is an ideal place to stop. In addition to being conveniently located in the heart of Kobe's shopping district, Sogo's food fair is chock full of stalls selling a wide range of prepared meals and snacks. Tempura, grilled fish and beautifully packaged Japanese sweets are available, as well as delicatessens and bakeries with Western fare. Pickled goods and savoury crackers make for great take-away snacks to enjoy while sightseeing. Kimchee, sushi, Japanese teas and Yakitori (grilled meat on a stick) are also among the numerous delicious items on sale.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 - 20:00
  • Location: Onoe-dori 8-1-8 (just south of JR Sannomiya station)
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 221 4181
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Western deli
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 500-2000 yen (Budget)
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Tako-no-tsubo

This is one of the best places to get akashiyaki (small round octopus dumplings) outside of its city of origin, the nearby Akashi. The cozy dining space features one large wooden table that all diners are seated around. Akashiyaki is prepared with an egg-rich batter and octopus, then dipped into a thin fish broth before eating. It is softer than the more famous Japanese dumpling, the takoyaki. There's no signage in English, so look for the dumpling steamer bowls stacked up out front.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 12:00 - 21:45
  • Location: Sannomiya 3-3-3
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 392 7256
  • Cuisine: Japanese (akashiyaki)
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 500-1000 yen (Budget)
  • How to get there: Go from JR Motomachi to Koikawasuji S, turn left at the first alley you see after the Center-gai shopping street
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Wada

Elaborate and creative dishes compete with an equally compelling décor to catch your attention in this ultra-modern Japanese restaurant. The glittering interior features a large crystal chandelier and an array of mirrors, chrome and plexiglass. Watch your meal being prepared on the large-screen TV featuring live action of the chefs at work. Set menu items include a "Grand Mint" seven-course meal with an appetizer of shrimp mousse with gingko-nut sesame tofu followed by servings of shinjo seafood dumpling soup, turnip and pork tempura and vegetables. The main course Kobe beef cheeks and rice with pickles round out the meal. Other set menu choices include the "Mint Castle" lunch for a lighter meal or the more hearty "Presidential" meal. The evening menu is geared towards couples with fixed menu dinners for two. Good selection of wine and sake, also.

  • Opening Hours: Daily from 11:00 - 15:00; 17:00 - 22:00
  • Location: Kumoidori 7-1-1, M-int Kobe 8F
  • Subway: Closest Metro Station: Sannomiya
  • Tel: +81 (0)78 262 8055
  • Cuisine: Japanese
  • Price Range: Per meal/per person: 1800-10000 yen (Affordable to Pricey)
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