Source: Kakei R.
Okinawan cuisine features flavors far from the typical Japanese cuisine that most people know of. It uses heat and spice and many other elements that you won’t usually get from your everyday Japanese fix. Okinawan cuisine also uses many ingredients that are local and indigenous to the island and these ingredients are what give Okinawan cuisine that distinct taste. If you want to sample Okinawan cooking, there’s really no better place to do it than at Naha, Okinawa’s capital city. Here are ten restaurants in the city worth checking out.
1. Makishi Market
There’s really no better way to enjoy Okinawan cuisine than to have it served with fresh ingredients by local cooks who truly know their way with local ingredients. At Makishi Market, you can purchase all the ingredients you want to have in your meal and have them prepared and cooked by local cooks upstairs right after you shop. This means having the freshest, most authentic Okinawan meal which is the best way to really get a taste of the island’s local flavors. There are a ton of different shops you’ll find on the same floor / level and almost all of them offer this service though they also serve a few of their own ready-to-eat dishes as well.
- Name: Makishi Market
- Address: 2-10-1 Matsuo, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0014, Japan
- Phone:+81 98-867-6560
- Opening hour: 08:00 AM
- Closed: Sunday
Soba is a really popular Japanese food. You can find soba just about anywhere, even outside of Japan. Okinawa soba, though, is something else. It is nothing like the soba that most people are used to and it is something that you definitely have to try when in Naha (or anywhere else in Okinawa for that matter). If you’re looking for a good place to get authentic Okinawa soba, go to Shimujo. The establishment itself is a national tangible cultural property that has a very rustic look and feel to it — the perfect place to indulge in a bowl of one of Okinawa’s signature dishes.
- Name: Shimujo
- Address: 2-124-1 Shurisueyoshicho Naha Okinawa
- Phone:+81 98-884-1933
- Opening hour: 11:30 AM
- Closed: Wednesday
Yunangi is an izakaya-style restaurant that serves up homey signature Okinawa meals. If you want to enjoy your Okinawan cuisine experience and couple it up with good beer in a chill, laid back atmosphere, this is definitely a place that you would enjoy. The staff here are very friendly and they speak English, too, making it a whole lot better and easier to make the most out of your dining experience.
- Name: Yunangi
- Address: 3-3-3 Kumoji Naha Okinawa, Japan
- Phone: +81-98-867-3765
- Opening hour: 12:00 noon
- Closed: Sunday and public holidays
If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your late night cravings, Haiueishokudo is the place for you. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this diner-style restaurant is a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Here, they serve an infusion of Japanese and Western cuisines. Steaks are one of their best sellers but Japanese classics like soba and champuru are available too.
- Name: Haiueishokudo
- Address: 2-3-6 Maejima, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
- Phone: +81 98-863-2277
- Opening hour: open 24 hours
5. Ukishima Garden
Healthy, tasty, and delicious — that’s what the food at Ukishima Garden is all about. Ukishima Garden is a vegan restaurant placed just right off of International Street (Kokusai-Dori). It’s location make it really convenient for anyone, vegan or not, to enjoy good food without compromising health and wellness, especially after a long day of walking down Kokusai-Dori. All the ingredients used here are fresh and organic, too, so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.
- Name: Ukishima Garden
- Address: 2 Chome-12-3 Matsuo, Naha, Okinawa, Japan
- Phone: +81 98-943-2100
- Opening hour: 11:30 AM
- Website: www.ukishima-garden.com
6. Habu Shokudo
Hungry? Come to Habu Shokudo. Their ridiculously large food servings will definitely leave you feeling full and satisfied at a price that can’t be beat. This family-style restaurant is perfect for those who want to get the best bang for their buck regarding both quality and quantity. And don’t worry about not being able to finish everything you ordered in one sitting because you can always take them to go.
- Name: Habu Shokudo
- Address: 4-22 Tondocho, Naha 900-0035, Okinawa Prefecture
- Phone: +81 98-861-8343
- Opening hour: 11:00 AM
- Closed: Monday and Sunday, public holidays, Lunar New Year, Year-End holiday, New Year holiday
If you want to get a taste of as many traditional Japanese and Okinawan dishes as you can, a buffet lunch or dinner is the way to go. At Fontaine’s All Day Buffet Dining in Loisir Hotel and Spa Tower, this is exactly what you will be in for. With an a posh ambiance, an expansive spread, great service and fantastic food, there’s really nothing more to ask for.
- Name: Fontaine All Day Dining
- Address: 1F Loisir hotel & spa tower Naha 3-2-1 Nishi, Naha-shi, Okinawa 900-0036
- Phone: 098-868-2222
- Opening hour: 07:00 AM
8. The Scarpetters
There is just so much going on at The Scarpetters food truck, it’s almost impossible to order just one thing off of their menu! The Scarpetters is a food truck restaurant that serves up all sorts of street / finger foods for everyone to enjoy. They have pizzas loaded with local Okinawan ingredients, arancini, fried chicken, falafel, sandwiches, and many more delectable dishes you can easily and conveniently eat on the go. Since The Scarpetters is basically meals on wheels, though, you can’t expect them to stay in just one location all the time but they are usually in and around Naha, just consult their Facebook page for schedules and locations.
- Name: The Scarpetters
- Address: Please refer to their Facebook page for schedules and locations
Ashibiuna is a great place to enjoy traditional Okinawan cuisine after a long day of touring the Shuri Castle. If you’re looking for good food and a relaxing and peaceful ambiance, this is the place to go. Ashibiuna serves hearty Okinawan food in a beautifully decorated restaurant that also features outdoor seating where you can enjoy your meal while also appreciating and connecting with nature.
- Name: Ashibiuna
- Address: 2-13 Shuritonokuracho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0812, Japan
- Phone:+81 98-884-0035
- Opening hour: 11:00 AM
Let’s finish off the list with a place where you can satisfy your sweet tooth and dessert cravings, shall we? Fukugiya is the number one choice of people for fluffy, yummy Baum-Kuchen cakes. They have different flavors but their best seller proves to be the purple sweet potato. Fukugiya’s Baum-kuchen cakes are perfect as dessert, a gift or for as something to have your coffee or tea with during the afternoon or late at night. Walk through Kokusai-Dori and follow the alluring scent of freshly baked pastries to find their shop!
- Name: Fukugiya
- Address: 3-29-67 Kumoji, Naha 900-0015, Okinawa Prefecture
- Phone: +81 98-863-8006
- Opening hour: 10:00 AM
- Website: http://www.fukugiya.com/
When in Naha, be sure to get a taste of local and traditional Okinawan dishes. They’re different from the mainstream Japanese dishes that most people know of and the flavor is really something you don’t come across with all the time, especially outside of Okinawa.
Have a good trip and travel!