Great Japanese Izakaya in Beppu: Yakitori bon
Have you ever wondered what Japanese dinner styles are? "Izakaya" is one of them!
Izakaya is a Japanese style pub where you can enjoy dinner with beer and Japanese sake and also a wide choice of a casual dishes as Yakitori, Karaage, and Sashimi. Unlike American style pubs, Izakaya has not only a variety types of beer and sake but also plenty of food. No matter you are a teetotaler or a drinker, I think Izakaya is suitable for both types since you can enjoy dinner and also be able to keep your own eating habits here.
Recently I went to Izakaya called "Yakitori-Bon" with my friends in Beppu. Izakaya has some unique rules like nowhere else so I think it is such a good chance to share about my Izakaya experience and I hope it is useful for anyone who wants to go or to know more about Izakaya - one of Japanese dinner styles.
Yakitori-bon is located near the Beppu station. It only takes me 5 minutes walking distance from Beppu station. I often make a reservation in advance before coming to the restaurant since this Yakitori-bon is very popular to office worker and students and always crowded. So do not forget to make a reservation!
In order to reserve a table, you can choose any of 2 following ways. The first one is to call the restaurant directly. It is the most common way to make reservation in all restaurants (I note the restaurant information at the end of this article). However, it is not very easy for foreigners who are not speaking Japanese well. In that case I suggest you should consider using the second way: restaurant reservation app which includes your desired restaurant. For Yakitori-bon, I usually make a booking on Hot pepper. You can choose number of people, date and time for your reservation and also be able to track number of remaining seats available for any specific dates. Please keep in mind that Izakaya is kinda noisy since their customers including tourists and local people come here to chat, gossip or relax with friends and so do I. I often go there to chill and have a good time with my friends.
Every time I arrive at the restaurant, we are asked by staff: "Which area do you prefer to sit ?". Yakitori-bon has private rooms, tables and counter seats. In general, private room is only for customers who have made reservation or come early; table is for a group of 3-6 people and counter seat is for 1 or 2 people. Last time, I sat at the counter area with my friends. Most of counter seats are in front of the kitchen area and I feel like counter seats always take me less time to call a staff to order food.
The first rule: After having a seat, we order drinks. As the first rule in Izakaya as a customer, you always need to order your drinks first. If you do not order drinks, you should order water for your own (it's free) because most of customer are expected to order alcohol drinks so staffs do not bring any cup of water without request.
Yakitori-bon offers a wide variety of menu with variety of food as yakitori or sashimi. This time I ordered Yakitori, Seki-saba (A horse mackerel or mackerel) and Tori-ten (known as Beppu local food). The price per Yakitori varies but around ¥100 each one. The Seki-saba below is a gorgeous set so the price is much higher: around ¥2800.
The second rule: O-to-o-shi(お通し). Before ordering meal, we are always served Otooshi. Otooshi is a type of snack that we eat while waiting for the first dish to come out. Similar to other Izakayas, Yakitori-bon usually offers seasonal Otooshi like mashed potatoes, tsukudani, etc. Many izakayas serve Otooshi without ordering and additional charges may occur. The price of Otooshi is roughly ¥200-¥400. You have to pay for Otooshi but fortunately wet towel is free!
Especially, Tori-ten is a type of chicken tempura and it is known as one of the most well-known local food from Oita Prefecture. So if you come to Beppu make sure Tori-ten is in your must-eat list:)) In addition to Tori-ten, Karaage (deep-fried chicken) is another local and common dish of Oita Prefecture. It is deep-fried chicken which is served with ponzu (soy sauce with citrus juice) or kabosu (Japanese lime). Price for Toriten is approximately ¥500. They are so crispy and I feel like I cannot get bored of eating them!
The third rule: In many Izakayas, customers do not need to go to the cashier when making payment or asking for a bill. If you want to have the bill, you only need to signal the staffs and they come to your table (However, in some franchise or Izakaya chains, you need to go cashier to pay). And do not be so surprised that in most Izakayas, the bills will not list out details of your ordered or price per item but the total price only!
Have you ever been Yakitori-bon or any Izakaya? Do you wanna go there? Again, Yakitori Bon is one of the most well-known places for office workers, so please remember to make the reservation before coming, especially weekends and Fridays.
焼き鳥 凡 母家 (Yakitori Bon Omoya)
Open: 18:00 to 23:30, from Monday to Saturday (including public holidays)
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