Visitors to Kobe steakhouses usually have one thing on their mind – the delicious taste of Kobe beef. Cultivated from wagyu cattle, of which there are around 3,000 reared in Kobe each year, Kobe wagyu beef is known for its unique flavor, which is due to the inosinic and oleic acids in the meat tissue, and well as its mouth-watering texture. The meat has with streaks of fat that gives it a melt-in-the-mouth quality.
Unsurprisingly, many Kobe restaurants are serving up this delicacy. Here are a few choice outlets.
Located next to the mall in Shin-Kobe, Wakkoqu is a place to sample cuts of Kobe beef if you’re looking for an exceptional dining experience, but it comes at a price – the finest cuts can cost up to 15,000 yen. It’s a teppanyaki restaurant where the beef is cooked on an iron plate in front of customers (think Benihana!). Chefs are on hand to advise on sauces and suitable wine pairings. If you don’t want to shell out on the prime cuts, there is a selection of more affordable set menus, including other dishes such as soup, fried vegetables, and seafood.
This restaurant has been open for more than 130 years and is well known as one of the best places to sample Kobe beef in the city. The meat is ordered daily from a nearby private ranch, and you can choose from a range of cuts, including fillet, sirloin, ribeye, and rump. It’s another teppanyaki outlet, so you get to see the beef cooked in front of you. The restaurant is popular with expats for the food, fancy European-style décor, and English-speaking staff. Top cuts cost over 10,000 yen, but a cheaper lunch menu around 5,000 yen, including soup, rice, and tea, is available. Advanced booking recommended.
Ishida is considered something of a connoisseur’s choice offering up the highest quality cuts with options of the beef served in different styles, including steak, shabu-shabu, yakiniku, and teppanyaki. It’s a little pricey, with most meals costing between 10,000 – 20,000 yen, although there is a cheaper lunchtime option that costs around 8,500 yen. There are four branches of Ishida in Kobe, with the most popular being the Sannomiya branch.
If you’re looking for a more wallet-friendly way of enjoying the delights of Kobe beef, then Steakland Kobe is worth a try. With lunch specials available from around 3,000 yen, an English menu and a relaxed and informal atmosphere, this is an accessible family-friendly environment in which to savor great food. Steakland Kobe looks more like an American steakhouse, but the beef is strictly Kobe standard and served in teppanyaki style. The set lunch menu offerings include miso soup, rice, and grilled veggies as well as steak.
This small family-owned restaurant close to Motomachi station was founded in 1963 and is a real find if you’re looking for excellent and friendly service along with good quality food. Prices are reasonable with set menus starting at around 5,000 yen. The menu has many western-influenced dishes, including a French-style cream soup that is a must-try. They have a delicious homemade ponzu sauce on offer that you can have as an accompaniment to the steak. With only seating for eight available, advanced booking is recommended.
Opened in 1956, Aragawa is the only two Michelin-star steakhouse in Kobe. The restaurant serves carefully selected charcoal-broiled Sandra beef, the most premium wagyu type in Kobe. Aragawa is quality over affordability, so expect to pay around 35,000 yen for the chef’s recommendation course. Portion sizes are small, but this is the place that Kobe beef critics will recommend that you must try if your bank balance can handle it.