Food That You Must Try in Okinawa! 15 Awesome Food Places With Great Reviews
Food is an important part of any holiday experience so it helps to know where you should eat. This time, check out this list 15 restaurants in Okinawa that you should try when you visit!
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1. King Tacos [Kunigami-gun, Kin-cho]
You may not associate Okinawa with tacos but this taco restaurant is one that you should try. While there are several branches, the original store is in Kin-cho. Opened in 1984, the restaurant claims to be the place where Taco Rice was invented.
Tacos traditionally feature fillings wrapped in a corn or wheat tortilla but here, standard taco fillings are heaped on top of a bed of rice to give it an Asian twist. The generous serving is a hit with diners but most of all, the dish gets great reviews for tasting delicious.
2. Sumanue [Naha-shi, Kokuba]
Most people are familiar with ramen but what about Okinawa soba noodles? If you're up for it, you should head to Sumanue in Naha.
Okinawa soba comes in a nice, clear broth and here, you can get Soki Soba (noodles with pork ribs), Tebichi Soba (noodles with pork trotters) or even better, the Sumanue Special Soba which comes with a slice of pork belly, pork ribs, and pork trotters. The broth is really rich in flavor!
3. Habu Shokudo [Naha-shi, Tondo-cho]
This is the place to go if you are hungry and looking for a big meal because the portions here are huge! Just check out the Stir Fried Vegetable Rice Bowl pictured above - it's piled up around 30 cm high!
There's a good variety of dishes to choose from when you dine here. From Katsu-don (pork cutlet rice) to Onigiri (rice balls) and the classic Okinawa dish, Goya Chanpuru (stir-fried bitter melon), everything here is super large sized yet incredibly reasonably priced. No wonder it's such a popular restaurant.
*This place has closed down.
4. Okinawa Katei Ryori Hanaori [Nago-shi, Biimata]
If you're wondering about what homestyle food is like in Okinawa, then this is a good place to visit. With local ingredients, the chef whips up homely Okinawa style dishes. The dishes made with the local vegetables in particular, are very well received by diners.
If you're up for a drink, then you can also get some Awamori (local wine) here, so do order some to complete your local food experience!
5. Yamasyoo [Naha-shi, Higashi-machi]
Yamasyoo is an izakaya (gastropub) that serves up Okinawa food that you can enjoy with some drinks. It's a pretty popular place so it might be a good idea to make a reservation in advance.
There are course meals available here but a la carte items are also available. Among these, you can check out their menu of seasonal dishes like Hirunufa Itame (stir fried garlic leaves) and Papaya Irichi (stir fried papaya). Chanpuru (stir fried dish) is considered to be Okinawa's representative dish and here, you can pick from as many as 7 different types of Chanpuru.
6. Sennichi [Naha-shi, Kume]
The heat in subtropical Okinawa can sometimes get to you but you can always head to Sennichi for some ice-cold dessert to cool down.
Nothing beats some shaved ice on a hot day. The Iced Zenzai (sweet red bean soup) comes in generous servings but it's good so you'll finish it before you know it. There are different flavors to choose from. The Ichigo Kintoki (strawberry flavor) has strawberry syrup and condensed milk drizzled over the ice. Okinawa Zenzai tends to feature kidney beans instead of regular red beans so do give it a try.
7. Ganso Umibudo [Kunikami, Onna-mura]
Step into this cheerful-looking restaurant to enjoy umibudo (sea grapes) dishes. Umibudo is a kind of seaweed but instead of leaves, you'll find that there are little bubbles growing on the stems, hence the name. It's one of the ingredients that people associate with Okinawa.
Get a taste of the sea when you order the Umibudo-don. This luxurious rice bowl is topped with a generous serving of the umibudo, fresh sea urchin, salmon roe and grated yam. There are many other umibudo dishes to choose from as well.
8. Machinuke [Naha-shi, Maejima]
You might think that you have stepped into a cozy log house when you set foot in Machinuke. It's a nice place to enjoy some tasty bites and a few drinks while chatting with friends.
There are many delicious small bites you can order and share with friends. The options include fresh sashimi, umibudo, Agu beef steak, and jimami tofu (Okinawa style tofu made with peanuts).
9. Yasai Makigushiya Gururi [ Naha-shi, Makishi]
You can't go wrong with grilled food and Yasai Makigushiya Gururi is a restaurant that serves great grilled skewers.
Local Okinawa vegetables are wrapped in thin slices of local pork and then grilled on a charcoal grill to create bite-sized delicacies. Besides that, they also serve a delicious roast beef salad and a potato salad topped with a lava egg. The partially cooked egg yolk that oozes over the mound of potato just looks so appetizing!
10. Ryukyusabo Ashibiuna [Naha-shi, Shuritonokura-cho]
If you're in the Shuritonokura-cho area, you should drop by Ryukyu Sabo Ashibiuna to enjoy some local food and local Awamori wine. There is a good variety of dishes here, from soup noodles to set meals and a la carte dishes. Some interesting dishes you should try include the Squid Ink Soup and the Yushi Tofu (curdled tofu soup).
The restaurant is housed in a lovely post-war house and you can look forward to a lovely view and environment as you dine. It's near Shuri Castle (Shuri-jo) and a good place for lunch if you're there to sightsee!
11. Yagiryo Ryori Sakae [Naha-shi, Makishi]
Mutton lovers should take note of Yagiryo Ryori Sakae. This restaurant is the perfect stop if you're in the Makishi area.
As it is a mutton restaurant, you can look forward to a whole host of mutton dishes but the most interesting, and perhaps a little uncommon, would be the mutton sashimi. While many people think of mutton as having a strong odor, diners here are wowed by the lack of odor in the sashimi and how delicious it is.
There are a few non-mutton dishes that you can order as well, but you'll probably do best to turn up early as the place fills up fast.
12. oHacorte Bakery [Naha-shi, Izumizaki]
If you're craving for freshly baked bread, then head to oHacorte Bakery. There's a wide variety of bread to choose from, and they also serve breakfast and lunch menu items that include the delicious bread. If you're looking for something heavier, they also serve other items like Mashed Potato with Demi-Glaze Sauce and Genovese Cream Pasta with Italian Ham.
The wooden interiors create a warm and modern atmosphere, making it a perfect space to relax as you enjoy a late breakfast or lunch.
13. Pineapple House [Naha-shi, Kagamizu]
Located near the airport, Pineapple House is hard to miss as there's a giant pineapple right in front of the building. As the name suggests, it's a place to buy all things pineapple, from juice to cakes with pineapple, and even wine made purely from pineapple!
Shopping aside, it's also a great place to dine. Pineapple Kitchen is a restaurant located in Pineapple House and you can enjoy a variety of pineapple dishes here! From Pineapple Choux Cream to Pineapple Soft Serve Ice Cream and shaved ice topped with pineapple pieces, there are many attractive desserts to pick from.
If you're hungry and want a main meal, don't worry as Pineapple Kitchen also serves rice and noodle dishes.
14. Cafe Curcuma [Nanjo-shi, Chinen]
The great ocean view at Cafe Curcuma is sure to take your breath away and make your meal extra enjoyable. While the restaurant is located around a 55-minute drive from the airport, it's well worth the trip since you can get beautiful holiday pictures while tucking into a good meal!
There's a good selection of mains and desserts so you can pop by for lunch or tea. The restaurant serves Thai food so it's a good option when you're craving for some spice. Among these, the Curcuma Special with fried chicken, rice and three types of spicy sauce is a good choice when you're hungry. The generous portions will help to fill you up!
15. Okinawa no Daidokoro Paikaji Okinawa Main Branch [Naha-shi, Omoromachi]
If you want to dine in comfort and try some local cuisine, then this could be the place for you. Located in its own building, the decor is carefully created to remind one of Okinawa and provides for a comfortable environment for you to take your time and enjoy your meal.
The food menu is extensive and filled with local goodies. This includes Sea Grape Salad, Pickled Green Papaya, Okinawan Vinegared Mozuku Seaweed, Okinawan Pancake, and Goya Chips (bitter melon chips).
From unique Okinawa cuisine to restaurants with a view to die for, there are many great places to visit for meals in Okinawa. Use this list as a handy guide for your next visit!
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.