In a city as large and cosmopolitan as Sapporo, it really isn’t that hard to find good international food or traditional local cuisine. Variations, of course, abound and you’ll be able to pick and choose between pan-Asian, European, Japanese and even and Indian fare. Seafood is a particular favourite in Sapporo. Consider splashing out on a crab banquet while this far north – the cold-water crustaceans up here are considered the tastiest and best in Japan. Of course, this all comes at a price and if you’re after budget food then it’s best to stick to simple noodle stalls.
Kikuzushi is the stuff of sushi legend. This restaurant has been in continuous operation since the Taisho period (1912-26) and is considered to serve some of the freshest sushi and sashimi in the whole of Japan. Sitting up at the counter and watching the chef diligently craft your meal is a memorable experience of Japanese cuisine.
Ask for the omakase set, and let the chef help you choose your meal, including both miso soup and as much green tea as you can drink. Kikuzushi is also renowned for its generous selection of Japanese sake, the perfect accompaniment to sushi, featuring brands from all over the country.
- Opening Hours: Monday–Saturday from 5pm to 2am
- Location: Grand Taiyo bldg 1F, 3-10 Minami, 5 Jonishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
- Tel: +81 (0)11 511 9357
Sky J is a rooftop restaurant situated on the 35th floor of the JR Tower Hotel Nikko. This buffet restaurant has scintillating views of downtown Sapporo and serves a combination of European, American and Japanese flavours. Despite the lack of clear direction, all the food served at Sky J is excellent and worthy of a 5-star hotel. Sky J is a classy and sophisticated restaurant with good décor – but the prices aren't sky high. To accompany your meal, live jazz is played in the evenings. Reservations necessary.
- Opening Hours: Breakfast from 7am to 10am. Lunch from 11.30am to 2.30pm. Dinner from 5.30pm to midnight
- Location: JR Tower Hotel 35F, 2 Chome−5, Kita 5 Jonishi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 060-0005, Japan
- Tel: +81 (0)11-251-6377
Hanagi serves up traditional dishes from Kyushu, Japan's southernmost major island. This is an elegant-looking restaurant in Premier Hotel Tsubaki Sapporo and an altogether excellent place to try out different aspects of Japanese food.
Order one of the set courses available to experiment with sashimi, grilled fish and seafood, pickled and fresh vegetables, and the famous Kyushu basashi which is thin slices of raw horsemeat accompanied by grated ginger and soy sauce. There’s plenty of beer and sake available, but the best drink to accompany your food here is shochu – a Japanese liquor. The dining rooms are as traditional as the fine-dining cuisine.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11.50am to 2pm and 5.30pm to 8.30pm
- Location: Premier Hotel Tsubaki Sapporo, 1-1-1 Toyohira 4-jyo, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 062-0904, Japan
- Tel: +81 (0)11 814 8711
Sapporo Kani Honke
The cold waters around Hokkaido are known and respected as the breeding grounds of the finest-tasting crab in Japan, and Sapporo Kani Honke is one of the best crab restaurants in town. It serves all kinds, from the famous king crab to the tasty hairy crab, in a variety of different dishes. Crab is served as sashimi, steamed or grilled, and always handled with care so the flavour of star ingredient can shine through.
Traditionally designed, with tatami mat rooms, shoji screens, stone walkways between rooms, and even a pond for the living crabs, Kani Honke could never be called bargain basement cheap, but it has class – and that costs.
There are now 2 Kani Honke restaurants in Sapporo, one near JR Sapporo station and the other near Susukino station. Advance reservations highly advised.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11.30am to 10pm
- Location: 4-1-3 Minami 6-jo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 064-0806, Japan
- Tel: +81 (0)11-551-0018
Nijo Market sells seafood at its freshest from hole-in-the-wall food stalls. Among the most popular menu items here is uni ikura donburi (sea urchin and salmon eggs on rice). Your sea urchin will be taken out of a seawater tank and served on the spot. Check out some of the biggest crabs you’ll ever see alongside piles of whole salmon and an array of a conch-like shellfish stuck to sides of large tanks.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 7am to 6pm (varies by store)
- Location: 1 Chome Minami 3 Johigashi, Chuo Ward, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0053, Japan
- Tel: +81 (0)11-222-5308
Sapporo Beer Garden and Genghis Khan Hall
For a meaty experience with lots of beer to swill it down with try the Sapporo Beer Garden. Combining a large German-style Bierkeller with an all-you-can-eat buffet commonly known as Genghis Khan in Sapporo, you get a fun and boisterous experience here. Handsome on the outside with its red brick facade, the inside is imposing and cavern-like. More of a group experience than a fine-dining event, things tend to get a little boisterous once the beer starts flowing. There are several ‘Genghis Khan’ establishments (so called due to the helmet-like shape of the bowls) in Sapporo, but this is one of the best. It’s an all-you-can-eat affair with beef and pork.
- Opening Hours: Daily from 11.30am to 10pm
- Location: 9-2-10, Kita 7 Jo, Higashi-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 065-0007, Japan
- Tel: +81 (0)120-150-550
Bikkuri Donkey is a spacious, bright and child-friendly hamburger restaurant that is a reliable place for a casual meal. Serving a variety of local-style hamburger sets that come with rice and salad, Bikkuri Donkey does kid’s and adult’s meals at very reasonable prices. Salads include local ingredients, such as daikon (giant radish) and tofu. Parents can wash it all down with Bikkuri’s very own beer. The décor of this restaurant chain is quirky and distinctive, looking like a ramshackle hut with a few nods to the American wild west.
- Opening Hours: Monday–Friday from 8.30am to 9pm. Saturday–Sunday from 9am to 9pm
- Location: 3-1-18 Kita 2 Jo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
- Tel: +81 (0)11-252-0520