In his great comedic play Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare calls music the food of love. Now, I’m not in the habit of contradicting the bard, however for me the food of love is, well, food. There is nothing better for the heart and the soul than having a wide selection of grub to get stuck into and for me, to paraphrase another great British literary William, variety is the spice of life.
Of course Nagoya doesn’t quite have the international culinary diversity of London, New York, or even Tokyo. However, if you know where to look you can find some really excellent international restaurants. And luckily for you, we at Japan Info Swap know precisely where to look.
Canadian – Coat of Arms
Okay, not everyone will think of Canadian food when the topic of international cuisine comes up, but that’s because they probably haven’t tried poutine. Coat of arms in Fushimi has all sorts of different foods sourced from the nations that comprise of the British Commonwealth, as well as even further afield, but it is the poutine – french fries topped with aged cheddar cheese and a light gravy that originates in the French-Canadian district of Quebec that is the pick of the bunch. Why not make a Canadian day of it and finish off with a Maple Cheese Cake for dessert!
- Address: 2-6-12 Nishiki,Naka-ku
- Website: www.coatofarms.jp
- Top Tip: Get stuck into some of their famous poutine while watching sports on one of their large screen TVs.
Korean – Seoul Table
There are quite a few great Korean restaurants in Nagoya. The consensus in our office seems to be that Chottejiya in Sakae is one of the best Korean BBQ places around. Unfortunately I am yet to sample its delights. However I have been many times to Seoul Table in Meieki, and I find it difficult to imagine that it can be topped. They have a variety of BBQ pork dishes that they cook and prepare at your table, but the thing that sends it over the edge for me is the cheese chijimi. It’s pretty heavy, but none the worse for it.
- Address: Eme Nagoya Bldg. B1, 4-24-8 Meieki, Nakamura-Ku
- Website: www.seoultable.com
- Top Tip: I would recommend that you go with a group, as there is so much that you will want to choose, it can be a bit of a gutbuster if you go there as a pair, particularly if you plump for the cheese chijimi. Check the website for discount coupons.
Mexican – Desperados
Desperados in Shinsakae is widely considered the best Mexican place in Nagoya, though sometimes it is accused of being the best US style Mexican place in Nagoya. It isn’t the biggest of places, but once you have sampled from their extensive selection of tequila, you probably won’t mind getting cozy with other Mexican food lovers. Run by Mexican born and US raised Rudy, and his wife Takako (who speaks great English), at best it is Mexican food, and at worst US-Mex. Unless you are from Mexico you probably don’t know the difference anyway. Either way, it’s pretty fantastic.
- Address: Fujimatsu Building 2 FL1-8-11 Shinsakae, Naka-Ku
- Website: www.dosdesperados.com
- Top Tip: Their flautas and quesadillas are to die for, and tied in with their daily drinks special – go on Monday for one of the best margaritas in town – it’s Mexicamazing!
Brazilian – Sapucaí Restaurante Brasileiro
Not only can Didi, the owner of this Shinsakae restaurant dance up a storm (and gentlemen, keep an eye on your ladies, for he may look like a kindly old gent, but he’s smoother than sanded silk) but he can also whip up a feast. I’d recommend going for the buffet where you can eat as much as you like as waiters deliver flame grilled chicken, pork, sausages and beef to your table carved directly from swords. Seriously tasty meat.
- Address: 4-12-7 Sakae, Naka Ward
- Website: Facebook page
- Top Tip: It can get pretty rowdy on weekends, so be prepared to raise your voice over the the other excitable guests as well as the house band.
Thai – Siam Garden
In the past we have told you about Higashi Sakura Pakuchi in Sakae, which does a great job of recreating the atmosphere of Thailand, but of you want really good upmarket Thai food, it’s to Siam Garden in Fushimi you should go. It’s a bit pricier than many of the other Thai restaurants, but it is very elegant, and the food is impressively authentic. The building itself is beautiful, and it has been said that it used to be the Thai Embassy. Whether or not this is true, I couldn’t say for sure.
- Address: 1 Chome-15-17 Nishiki, Naka Ward
- Website: www.siamgarden.jp
- Top Tip: If it says ‘spicy’ on the menu, then that’s just what it is. You have been warned!
Vietnamese – Thu An
The chef who owns the shop has over 20 years of experience cooking Vietnamese food, and was once the “Vice Chef,” at a five star hotel in Ho Chi Minh City and has prepared food for world class VIPs like the British Royal Family, so it is probably acceptable to the likes of you. This is one of those places that ‘they’, the people who claim to know these sorts of things, claim to be particularly authentic.
- Address: Sun Yagoto Building 2F, 80-18 Aza-Ishizaka, Hiroji-cho, Showa-ku
- Website: www.vietben.com
- Top Tip: Get one of the lunch bentos. Highly recommended, and at 500 JPY, pretty darned cheap.
By Mark Guthrie
Image: flickr.com "Grilled Shrimp, Fish, and Lobster Adobado" by Burnt Fat (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified
Image: flickr.com "IMG_6767" by Jason Walsh (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified
Image: flickr.com "Bún Mắm" by Thy Khue Ly (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified
Image: flickr.com "Poutine" by Burnt Fat (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified
Image: flickr.com "Yongsusan food: bulgogi" by James Creegan (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) – Modified