Earlier this evening, I got to eat with my family at a restaurant that serves the best traditional Japanese food in this side of the metro. It wasn’t the first time I’ve visited this place. In fact, we feel quite at home here. It’s a stone throw away from our place and it has an intimate dining environment. Actually, I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experience but the words just kept floating in the air these past few months, until tonight. Perhaps it’s coming back to the good food and great service that have struck the foodie writer in me ( I think haha).
Shonantei RestoBar is a small neighborhood Izakaya located along Mindanao Avenue. You’d probably miss its inconspicuous facade while driving through especially during the day since it opens at half past five.
In Japan, an izakaya is a drinking establishment.It is a casual place for after work drinking. But don’t focus on drinking for this restobar offers a lot more than that.
First, let us talk about the ambiance. Walking in, you’d think you were in Japan, with the way they designed the place. Their love of Japanese culture is apparent in the beautiful little things on display in the dining area.
They also have tatami seating available at the back part of the restaurant so it was exciting to try this too.
Next, let’s talk about the service. When the guests have been seated comfortably, the waitress, offers a o-shibori or wet hand towel to clean their hands. They are very courteous and attentive to our needs. Some seaweed salad is also served as an appetizer.
After you have ordered, it probably takes on the average 30 to 45 minutes for food to be served especially if the place is full.This is because everything is delicately prepared from basic ingredients.However, you probably won’t notice this because you’ll be relaxing to the Japanese music and chatting with your friends about the interesting things you see in the restaurant. Furthermore, the food is definitely worth the wait!
This is perhaps one of the most familiar Japanese words to English speaking people. It means “good” in Japanese. It is also the best word to describe the food at this place. But tonight, I realized I should say actually “Totemo oishii des” or “ It’s very good.”
Takeshi san, Izakaya Shonantei’s chef, skillfully prepares the traditional Japanese dishes in their menu. He and his staff get the freshest local and sometimes imported ingredients to prepare dishes that are uniquely Japanese in appearance, texture and flavor.
As I’ve said earlier, I’ve been to this restaurant a number of times. We’ve been here with friends and relatives for birthdays and other special occasions.
So now, let’s focus on the food. They serve men( noodles), donburi (rice bowl dishes) and ochazuke (dishes submerged in tea) among others. They also have Japanese ice cream for dessert.
*Photo from Shonantei’s Facebook page
Here are some of my favorite and must try dishes:
Gyu-don (P220) . This restaurant’s gyu don or beef bowl is a generous bowl of rice topped with thinly sliced beef in mildly sweet sauce. The beef quite literally melts in your mouth and the sauce will you make you forget your stress. Talk about comfort food. This is one of mine but don’t take my word for it. Try it!
Nikutamagotoji Soba (P220). This soup based noodle dish is said to be one of the oldest recipes in Japan. Niku means “meat” while tamago is egg in Japanese. And “toji” refers to preparing a dish mixed with egg.
The texture and delicate taste of the noodles go really well with the flavorful broth. This is one filling meal that’s surprisingly low in calories. The noodles are made of buckwheat which is packed with antioxidants while the soup base is made of fish called katsuobushi.
The hearty bowl is good for two people I think. If you’re looking for a place to spend a quiet evening with your partner on a budget, this is what you need to order. Some sushi wouldn’t hurt your pocket too.
Okonimiyaki (P180) is a savory pancake made from a variety of ingredients.Basically, it is grilled batter with an assortment of vegetables. Its name is derived from okonomi, meaning “what you like” and and yaki which is “grilled” or “cooked” in Japanese.
I first tried this tasty dish when one of my Japanese students cooked it for her teachers. I think it is like having an exotic veggie pizza minus the guilt!
To be perfectly honest, I could go on and on about the appetizing dishes that this restobar offers. But, I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The prices are reasonable and affordable when compared to other Japanese restaurants. I think the only thing they have to improve on on is their parking space. They only have two slots so you need to get there early if you don’t want to park along the road.
By the way, they will have their 2nd anniversary next month so checkout their Facebook page for upcoming promos!
So if you feel like eating Japanese after reading my post, headover to Shonantei. They’re open until midnight Tuesdays to Sundays! While dining, just remember to follow the guidelines on this cute poster. It’ll make your experience more authentic and respectful.
As always, thank you Shonantei for the good food! Gochiso-sama (deshita) and advance Happy Anniversary!