10 Best Menus to Eat at Izakaya (Japanese style casual bars)

In this article, we introduce a selection of menus to try at an izakaya, a Japanese-style casual bars, where you can try a variety of food in small portions.


Food & Drinks


1. Kara-agé (Deep-fried chicken)から揚げ

Kara-agé, deep-fried chicken, is everyone's favorite! Cruncy yet juicy ...  a hint of freshsly queezed lemoadds a refreshing flavor. A meal at Teppan-yaki cannot go without a dish of deep fried chicken. In addition to the typical chickens marinated in ginger and soy sauce, there are many other flavor variations, including those with specially blended spices, or with original coating. It'd be best to try out the original kara-agé at the restaurant of your choice. 

2. Sashimi (sliced raw fish) 刺身

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In Japan, fresh and tasty fish is available everywhere, so why not order a dish of sashimi, a sliced fresh and raw fish, at a reasonable price? The assortment of seasonal fish looks great, which makes it a perfect food to share with your friends and family. At a Izakaya that specializes in seafood, you can ask the chef for recommendation and have a nice chat about Japanese food.

3. Agedashi-tofu (Deep-fried tofu with soup) 揚げ出し豆腐

Crunchy deep-fried coating, smooth tofu, and the gentle taste of the soup .... the combination of these textures and the flavor gets even better with minced leek and/or Japanese radish toppings. If it came with some deep-fried green peppers or eggplants/aubergines, you're lucky! Don't forget to taste the delicious soup as well.  

4. Yakitori (grilled chicken) 焼き鳥

Yakitori is probably the most commonly ordered food at an Izakaya, Japanese style casual bars. Chicken legs (momo) and tsukuné (meat balls) are typical choices, but the flavor differs quite a lot depending on the part of the chicken. So, you might also want to try some other parts of chicken, such as hatsu (heart) and liver. If you are at a Yakitori specialty restaurant, you'll be enjoying quality grilled chicken.

5. Salty cabbage (塩キャベツ)

Perhaps this is the simplest menu, but this may also be the most addictive one. You can savor the sweet and fresh taste of the cabbage with the salty sauce. This is a must-order menu that can be a refreshment during a heavy meal at an Izakaya.

6. Yakisoba (fried noodles) 焼きそば

We recommend yakisoba, fried noodles, if you are hungry and want to eat something fulfilling. At an izakaya, it's likely that noodles are cooked with slightly salty-sweet sauce and fried eggs, so it will be a large dish. Even after enjoying several drinks, you will find yourself enjoying this fried noodles more than you can imagine. It's a very appealing dish.  

7. Tako-wasabi (fresh, raw octopus with wasabi sauce) たこわさび

The savory combination of firm and crunchy octopus and spicy wasabi sauce is something you don't usually get to eat at home, so this is a popular choice at an izakaya. It goes very well with Japanese saké. If your free hors d'oevre happens to be this delicious menu, you're pretty lucky!  

8. Dashimaki-Tamago (Japanese rolled omelette) 出し巻き卵

This fluffy and tasty Japanese rolled omelette is also a popular menu. It is a simple yet difficult menu, made with some Japanese stock soup (called dashi) and egg, and it requires careful and skillful cooking. It is perhaps by eating this omelette that you can see how good your izakaya is. It is best eaten with some minced Japanese radish.

9. Motsu-nikomi (stewed beef giblets)もつ煮込み

If motsu-nikomi tastes great, then it's guaranteed that everything at your izakaya will be great. Even among those who don't normally like trying out giblets, it's not unusual to find that motsu-nikomi makes an exception. If you go to a specialty store, the giblets stew is cooked with a stock soup that has been refilled over the years. Don't forget to eat this stew with plenty of white leeks and blended red pepper spices.

10. Edamame beans えだまめ

We almost forgot to tell you the most basic one. Nearly everyone orders a bowl of edamame beans with a pint of beer as soon as seated. The salty flavor with the edamame beans is just so perfect. While the boiled ones are familiar and more common, there are also some izakaya bars that serve grilled edamame beans, which brings out the sweet flavor of the beans. 

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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