In a city this large and cosmopolitan it really isn’t that hard to find good international and traditional local cuisine. Variations, of course, abound and you’ll be able to pick and choose between Asian, European, Japanese and even Middle-Eastern and Indian fare. Of course, this all comes at a price and if you’re after budget food then it’s best to stick to simple noodle outlets.
Seafood at its freshest, in the heart of a seafood market. Your sea urchin will be taken out of a seawater tank and served on the spot. Punters tend to go to Nijo Market early in the morning and the favourite dish by far is uni ikura donburi – sea urchin and salmon eggs on rice. 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: 07:00 – 18:00 varies by store
- Location: S3E1&2, Chūō-ku Susukino Entertainment District
- Cuisine: Fresh seafood
Sapporo Beer Hall - Genghis Khan aka ‘Djingis Khan’
For a meaty experience with lots of beer to swill it down with try the Sapporo Beer Hall, once a Government office building. Handsome on the outside with its red bricks, 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 in Sapporo, so-named after the bowl the meat is served in which resembles the warrior’s helmet. It’s an all-you-can-eat affair with beef and pork. Subtle, it’s not.
- Opening Hours: 11:30 – 22:00
- Location: North 7 Jo 9 Chome 2-10 Higashi-ku
- Type: Beer Hall
- Tel: +81 (0)120 150 550
Rambootan (sic) is a Pan-Asian restaurant with Thai-food leanings featuring a young and friendly crowd of customers who frequent the place to enjoy the good food and the light-hearted ambience. The interior features modern Thai chic, with low tables and sitting cushions, which means that you have to take off your shoes and leave them at the door. The menu is a blend of the best dishes from just about every country in Southeast Asia.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 23:00
- Location: Minami 4 Nishi 1-4-3-2
- Tel: +81 (0)11 242 7477
- Cuisine: Asian with Thai leanings
Conveyer-belt dining may not sound so sophisticated but when it comes to spanking-fresh sushi maybe it’s best to forget your prejudices. At popular and busy Toppii Sushi, dishes are colour coded and diners simply collect the tags and pay accordingly. Rarer dishes can be ordered from the kitchen but if you’re after some of the best salmon sushi in town this is the place to go. Toppi has an English-language menu to help you identify the dishes as they trundle by.
- Opening Hours: 11:00 – 22:00
- Location: Top floor of JR Train Station Mall Sapporo city, north 5, west 2
- Tel: +81 (0)11 271 6720
- Cuisine: Sushi
Sky J is situated on the 35th floor of the JR tower (Hotel Nikko) and is a 114-cover Middle Eastern restaurant with scintillating views of downtown Sapporo. The nice surprise about Sky J is that it’s classy and sophisticated with good décor – but the prices not sky-high. Reservations necessary.
- Opening Hours: 07:00 – 10:00, 11:30 – 14:30 and 17:30 – 24:00
- Location: Floor 35 Sky J Hotel, by the station
- Cuisine: Middle Eastern
This spacious, bright and child-friendly hamburger restaurant enjoys a fairly good reputation. Serving a variety of local-style hamburger sets that come with rice and salad, Bikkuri Donkey does kid’s and adult food at very reasonable prices. Salads include local ingredients, such as daikon (giant radish) and tofu, and you can wash it all down with Bikkuri’s very own beer.
- Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 08:30 – 21:00 and Sat – Sun 09:00 – 21:00
- Location: Odori Nishi 3, Hokuyo Building
- Tel: +81 (0)11 207 6065
- Cuisine: Hamburger
In continuous operation since the Taisho period (1912-26), and considered to serve some of the freshest fish and seafood in the whole of Japan, Kikuzushi is the stuff of sushi legend. Ask for the omakase, 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: 17:00 – 02:00
- Location: Minami 5 Nishi 3, Grand Taiyo Building
- Tel: +81 (0)11 511 9357
- Cuisine: Sushi
Kamaimasu serves up in kushiage, which comprises meat, seafood and vegetables on bamboo skewers, dipped in flour, egg and breadcrumbs then deep fried. At Kamaimasu there are four set-course meals. The top course consists of no less than15 different food items and as much as you can drink. A nice touch is that after 21:00 skewers are cheaper. Another popular dish is hiyajiru, a cold soup from Kyushu, in the south of the country. The mellow lighting arrangements help create a slightly romantic ambiance, something hard to do in such a busy place.
- Opening Hours: 17:00 – 01:00
- Location: Minami 4 Nishi 5, Dai-ni Shuko Building 1F
- Tel: +81 (0)11 232 5959
- Cuisine: Deep-fried skewered meat
Sapporo Kani Honke
Hokkaido is known and respected for its fresh crab 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. The food is great here and the décor somewhat classy. Traditionally designed, with tatami mat rooms, shoji screens, stone walkways between rooms, and even a pond for the still-alive crabs, Kani Honke could never be called bargain basement cheap but it has class – and that costs.
- Opening Hours: 11:30 – 10:00
- Location: Kita 3 Nishi 2-1-18, Susukino
- Tel: +81 (0)11 222 0018
- Cuisine: Crab
This popular restaurant serves its dishes without any additives or preservatives, making it stand way out from the culinary crowd in a country that bombards its food with additives. Toranoya also offers some of the best and most original ramen dishes in the city, and all at agreeable prices. Not surprisingly, many young and health-conscious diners congregate at this restaurant. Jagabattaa ramen in a miso broth with heaps of vegetables and a large buttered potato is a hefty meal in itself and is understandably one of the most popular dishes on the menu.
- Location: Minami 3, Nishi 6 Toranoya
- Tel: +81 (0)11 260 1112
- Cuisine: Health/Asian Pacific
Hanagi serves up traditional dishes from Kyushu, Japan's southernmost major island. This is an elegant-looking restaurant 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 strong liquor.
- Location: 1-1-1 Toyohira 4-jyo, Sapporo Renaissance Hotel
- Tel: +81 (0)11 814 8711
- Cuisine: Kyushu food