If you want to try Japanese spiny lobster or delicious sushi in Kobe, these are the places! In Japan, spiny lobster is served when celebrating special days or anniversaries.
Mie Prefecture is a region known for being one of the largest domestic producers of these big lobsters. They grow 20 to 30 centimeters long and weigh a kilogram. This lobster can also be caught in Awaji Island, but it is a very rare ingredient that’s hard to find. It’s easy to assume that foreign tourists who come all the way to Japan would want to try it.
We will be introducing two restaurants. The first one is so famous in the Kansai area that people will tell you, “For Japanese spiny lobster, go to Chunagon”. The second is a sushi restaurant that serves a plethora of fresh seafood from Setouchi.
In addition to implementing strong countermeasures against Covid-19, both restaurants offer delicious seafood only found in Kobe!
1. Chunagon Kobe Haborland: Enjoy many creative dishes made from Japanese spiny lobster
Chunagon Kobe Haborland is a restaurant where you can enjoy creative dishes that incorporate the special Japanese spiny lobster along with other seasonal ingredients. Welcoming their 70th year in 2020, the restaurant brings in a stock of live and natural Japanese spiny lobsters. Starting with Japan, the lobsters are brought in from all around the world. You can try the lobster by ordering a course or one of the many dishes on the menu. Chunagon Kobe Harborland is located on the 3rd floor of umie MOSAIC, a building located in one of Kobe’s representative tourist attractions, Kobe Haborland. Ordering is easy due to having staff who speak English and Chinese as well as menus in English and Chinese (simplified Chinese).
The restaurant has Western-style table seating, providing a bright, open space with light coming in from the large window. Moreover, the ample space in-between each seat allows you to dine comfortably. Private rooms are also available in various sizes, ranging from two to four-person rooms, eight-person rooms, and one 32-person room. All private rooms are secluded with walls and a door, ensuring a private setting for couples, families, or any other group. These rooms are available to use free of charge, so please do not hesitate in contacting the restaurant if interested.
Light Dinner Courses to Dinner Courses Serving Whole Lobsters
Firstly, we will introduce the dinner courses. Here you can enjoy freshly prepared sashimi-style, steamed, fried, or grilled Japanese spiny lobster. The wide selection of courses available include light ones that serve Japanese spiny lobster sashimi and salad, courses where you can eat a whole lobster, as well as courses where freshly prepared lobster dances on the grill.
One of the restaurant favorites is the Shoufuku course. Starting with an aperitif and appetizer, the course serves Chunagon-style spiny lobster salad, freshly prepared Japanese spiny lobster sashimi, an option of either deep-fried spiny lobster or a spiny lobster cream croquette, Japanese-style clear soup with spiny lobster, and a palate cleanser of a frozen dessert. The course moves on to serve a choice of either the restaurant’s specialty of Japanese spiny lobster grilled Chunagon-style, baked abalone, or stone-grilled domestic beef fillet. Also included is a Japanese spiny lobster seaweed-ochazuke (rice in tea or stock), pickled vegetables, dessert, and an after-meal coffee. This is an extravagant course filled to the brim with Japanese spiny lobster.
The Wakamatsu course starts with a choice from Chunagon’s standard menu of either freshly-prepared Japanese spiny lobster sashimi or Chunagon-style Japanese spiny lobster salad. In addition to this, you can also choose either the deep-fried Japanese spiny lobster or the Japanese spiny lobster cream croquette. This is recommended to those who want a lighter option to enjoy Japanese spiny lobster.
Enjoy courses as well as set meals during lunch hours
Authentic Japanese spiny lobster dishes can also be enjoyed during lunch hours. The lunch courses, which include the popular dishes like the Chunagon-style spiny lobster salad and freshly-prepared spiny lobster sashimi, can be enjoyed from 3,980 yen. The Niji course includes the restaurant’s favorites of Chunagon-style spiny lobster salad and spiny lobster with seasonal vegetables in a thick, starchy sauce. What’s more, there are also options such as the Japanese spiny lobster steak course. You’ll get dizzy trying to choose from all of these amazing options.
If you’re looking for something simpler, we recommend one of the lunch sets. The assorted fried seafood platter is one where you can enjoy three different types of fried seafood, all of which incorporate Japanese spiny lobster.
Ajigonomi is a lunch set that offers Chunagon’s gems. This includes grilled Japanese spiny lobster and a rolled Japanese-style omelet with spiny lobster. It’s a lunch set limited to the Kansai area. This also looks like a good choice.
*All lunch sets and courses are available from 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
*All prices shown above do not include tax.
Countermeasures against Covid-19
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities / Sanitizer installed / Disinfected after each guest leaves / Ventilation measures in place / Use of coin trays / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity / increased space between seats / Reservations required with restricted admission / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Masks required and temperature check enforced / Acrylic Plate set-up at the register only
2. Hatsu: The go-to place for seafood from the Seto Inland Sea
Hatsu is a sushi restaurant that goes to great lengths in pursuing making delicious sushi. Using seafood from nearby domestic oceans, the restaurant sticks to ingredients that are fresh and natural. The restaurant faces the Yamanote Line, situated between Kitanozaka and an area on the north-side of Kobe Municipal Subway’s Sannomiya Station called Higashimongai. It is a four-to-eight-minute walk from every line of Sannomiya Station.
In the restaurant, there are seats at the counter as well as Japanese-style seating areas with room to stretch out your legs. One of the enjoyments of sitting at the counter is being able to speak with the taisho, or head sushi chef. In addition to the many sizes and varieties of sushi available, you can request the amount of rice and wasabi to your liking.
Enjoy sushi made from the seafood in Seto, Kobe beef, and rice made from carefully selected ingredients.
Hitomebore rice from Iwate Prefecture is cooked with the restaurant’s special waters. After the rice has finished cooking, Chidori vinegar is mixed in. Chidori vinegar is a Kyoto born vinegar beloved by professional chefs. A characteristic of this special rice is that it doesn’t harden even after long periods of time.
With a focus on using seafood found in the cities of Akashi and Awaji in Setouchi, there are many varieties of sushi available. Just like how sushi can be associated with tuna, Kobe beef is an ingredient strongly associated with the city of Kobe. Kobe beef sushi is an exceptional dish that is especially popular among foreign tourists. The refrigerated beef is quickly taken out before serving and pressed onto the rice. The melt-in-your-mouth texture of this sushi is highly acclaimed. It is recommended to try different preparations of the sushi. This includes Kobe beef sushi that’s lightly grilled, with rock salt, with wasabi, or with ponzu sauce.
The flavors of Setouchi will keep your palette happy throughout the seasons. Akashi’s sea bream and raw Japanese egg cockle can be enjoyed in the spring, pike conger in the summer, and pufferfish in the winter. Ingredients found in Awaji, an area completely surrounded by the sea, are also recommended. A representative ingredient is sea urchin fresh from Yukou Port in Minamiawaji. Due to not having many additives like alum, the original sweetness of the sea urchin lingers on your palette. Carefully selected sea urchin from Hokkaido is also available, so it might be fun to taste and compare the different kinds.
The Nigiri Sushi Platter is an assortment of nine pieces of sushi. (This may depend on what’s in stock at the time.) Included are lean tuna, a choice of squid or octopus, two kinds of whitefish, shellfish, shrimp, conger eel, a seasonal nigiri, and a choice of either sea urchin or salmon roe. If there are any types of sushi you cannot eat, you can ask to exchange it with another one. Customize your platter and enjoy this delicious meal.
Do not miss the Pufferfish and Pike Conger Dishes
Reservation is a must for pufferfish dishes. These dishes are especially popular in the wintertime. The firmness and taste of the thickly cut pufferfish sashimi, Tessa, is sublime. The freshness is outstanding due to carefully preparing and serving tiger pufferfish from the nearby sea on the day that it’s caught. You can enjoy the slightly sweet and crunchy texture of this fish. We also recommend the tiger pufferfish filled hotpot called Techiri. This dish also uses seasonal vegetables, spices, and the restaurant’s secret ponzu sauce. Because the dishes are safely prepared by certified chefs, foreign tourists trying pufferfish for the first time can do so with ease.
There are many courses available. If you order wisely, it may be even more reasonable to order a course instead of several dishes from the menu. Please ask your server about the best option. It is also advised to let your server know your price range and likes or dislikes beforehand. The market price of the fish tends to be slightly less expensive after holidays or towards the beginning of the week, so you can be cost effective in your dining experience.
What’s more, there are over 30 famous local sakes from all over Japan chosen to fit each season. This is perfect for those who also enjoy a drink. When in doubt of which brand to choose, please let your server know about your preferences. Make this dining experience even more superb by finding drinks to complement your meal.
*All prices above do not include tax
Countermeasures against Covid-19
Disinfection, sterilization, and cleaning of shop and facilities / Sanitizer installed / Disinfected after each guest leaves / Ventilation measures in place / Use of coin trays / Staff wear masks, gargle, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature / Limited capacity and increased space between seats / Entry declined to anyone who is feeling unwell / Masks required and temperature check enforced
Hatsu活鮨 魚發 神戸三宮
- Address 1F Murakami Bldg. 1 Chome-13-8 Nakayamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0004
A four-to-eight-minute walk from all lines of Sannomiya Station
- Phone Number 078-333-8877
Hours: 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. (Last order for food is at 11:00 p.m., last order for drinks is at 11:30 p.m.) ※Hours during the state of emergency are from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
What did you think? Both restaurants offer carefully prepared dishes made from exceptional ingredients. Starting with a trip to Kobe or any other special occasion, these are restaurants you want to treat yourself with.
*Due to the spread of COVID-19, there may be some changes regarding business hours, holidays, and service methods.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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