Little Tokyo Series: Okonomiyaki and More at Kagura

Being a big Japanese food fanatic, people have already told me countless times to pay Little Tokyo in Makati a visit. I've been in the area once, but wasn't able to blog about the experience for lack of decent photos and details. So when my food buddies and I went to the Japanese food haven for a quick snack, I knew I should start a Little Tokyo Series not just to share with you the good eats I've found in the area, but also to motivate myself to visit the place more often and try every restaurant that Little Tokyo has to offer.
Kagura

Located at the back of Makati Cinema Square in Pasong Tamo extension, Little Tokyo houses a cluster of Japanese eateries and even grocery stores mostly owned by Japanese nationals. Although the quaint but oriental-themed compound is quite small, the area has been a haven not just for local foodies, but also for Japanese expats. And for a Japanese food lover like me, this is indeed a very good sign.

Kagura Okonomiyaki Kagura in Little Tokyo Makati

There are a number of small restaurants in the area, but to start off this series, let me share with you first my recent visit to Kagura, a simple eatery specializing in okonomiyaki or Japanese savory pancakes. Like most restaurants in the compound, the seating capacity in Kagura is pretty much very limited. There are a handful of seats by the counter, 3 sets of tatami tables, and about 2 to 3 tables for al fresco dining.

Okonomiyaki

If you're a fan of Ranma 1/2, then you've probably heard of this Japanese savory treat. There are different types of okonomiyaki with different sets of toppings, but for this trip, we decided to go for the Negiyaki Okonomiyaki (P260) -- Japanese pancake with welsh onion, pork and egg, drenched with a sweet and savory okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise, then topped with seaweed flakes.

Although I'm not a big fan of pancakes in general, I definitely dig its savory Japanese counterpart. The okonomiyaki batter is quite tasty even on its own, and with a variety of toppings, a single order can definitely leave 2 to 3 people stuffed.

Noodles

The restaurant specializes in okonomiyaki, but they also carry a decent selection of both grilled and non-grilled items such as the Karashi Mayonnaise Ika Yaki-Soba (P270) -- Japanese fried noodles in a karashi (Japanese mustard)-mayo sauce, topped with squid, pork, seaweed flakes and beni shoga (Japanese pickled ginger).

Since I love the distinct hot flavor of karashi which tastes a wee bit similar to wasabi, I definitely enjoyed how its refreshing spicy taste blended beautifully with the Japanese mayo, making the soft yet firm noodle dish one hot and savory ensemble.

Pork Chop

We also got ourselves a serving of Tonpei-Yaki (P198) -- sautéed pork sandwich in fried eggs, and served with a cabbage salad on the side, a slice of lemon, some karashi, Japanese mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce. Although I generally like pork dishes, I didn't quite dig this fried item. The pork in egg roll was soft, light in flavor and a little too oily for my liking. Dipping it in sauce makes the pork omelette more flavorful, but I guess I was just expecting the cutlets to be well-seasoned and tasty even on its own.

Aside from the authentic Japanese food and friendly prices, I liked the fact that most restaurants in Little Tokyo allow cross-ordering from other eateries. While staying in a tatami seat inside Kagura, we ordered a serving of Takoyaki (P120) from its neighboring restaurant, Hana. And while I'm already excited to share with you the best takoyaki balls I've had so far, I think you'll have to wait a little for my review specially dedicated on Hana.

THE VERDICT

Kagura's space might not be big which can pose a problem for diners in large groups. But for a barkada of 5, seating in a tatami table is definitely comfortable to enjoy both a good conversation and an equally satisfying meal. Although the items we've tried were quite good, only the okonomiyaki left a lasting impression. However, this visit for an evening snack at Kagura didn't go in vain as it definitely motivated me to aim trying all the restaurants in Little Tokyo.

Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Service - 3/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Kagura, Little Tokyo
Little Tokyo, Chino Roces Ave., Legaspi Vill.
Makati City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 894-3656

58 comments:

  1. I do not eat Japanese food but it tastes good!

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  2. I haven't eat any Japanese foods but they seem very delicious!

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  3. I love Japanese food also, i will try this for sure!

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  4. Di rin ako kumakain ng ganito. Parang pagkain ata to ng korea mag iiba amoy sa bibig.

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  5. I Looove Japanese food and got excited when I saw that this was a review about a Japanese resto. Got to try this one! :-)

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  6. I've always been curious to try the food in Little Tokyo. The place does look like one I had been to in Osaka. For some reason, I never got to stop and have dinner there. You sure reminded me to do so. I usually go for Japanese cuisine so it's really long overdue.

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    1. Go for a Little Tokyo trip soon! :D Will definitely read about it when you do a blog on LT.. ;)

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  7. I did not tried any Japanese food yet maybe one day...

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  8. I've been there in Little Tokyo before but haven't tried to eat there in Kagura. If ever we'll pass in there, I'll make sure to order Okonomiyaki since I've never tasted it. :)

    I used to watch Ranma noon pero di ko alam na nababanggit pala yung Okonomiyaki or di ko lang matandaan kasi di ako familiar dati sa mga Japanese food except for Sushi. Lol!
    http://spoonfulofstories.blogspot.com/

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    1. Haha.. Sushi is indeed the more popular Japanese food item.. ^^ Btw in Ranma, it's Ukyo who always carry a big okonomiyaki spatula.. :D

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  9. It's funny coz I've pretty much tried different asian food, not too much of the Japanese cuisine! I should really go and try their dishes.
    your blog posts make me hungry! >.<
    that pancake looks delicious!

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  10. I've never eaten in a Japanese restaurant but I've tried sashimi courtesy of my cousin. Didn't like it. But I would love to try sushi and shabu-shabu (is this the proper way of spelling it?).

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    1. Sashimi isn't for everyone, I think especially for people who don't dig raw food.. ^^ Okonomiyaki though is a modern Japanese food that has an adaptable taste. Give it a try some time.. :)

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  11. I love japanese food and now i feel like eating japanese food thanks to your post lol.
    It all looks delicious !

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  12. Prices are quite reasonable. Too bad I declined a friend of mine to go with then and check this place out last March :(

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  13. I have tried sashami and it's good. I hope I could dine here too, looks like a good restaurant. :)

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  14. great review! the outside of the place looks so cool! looks pretty high end and fancy. definitely lovin the oriental feel to it a lot. atmosphere is important, yea? :D
    the food looks so DELISH! *mouth waters* glad there was a dish that's memorable! many restaurants i try are not memorable at all ;(

    alex @ carouselstreet.com

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    1. I'm actually glad that they live up to their name of being an okonomiyaki place.. ^^

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  15. lets go back to little tokyo.. ibang resto naman! :)

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    1. Sure! :D I'd love that! Thanks pala to you and D for the treat and ride.. ^^

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  16. you did it to me again, Sumi! This is literally a two minute walk from my office! di ka nanaman nag invite!

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    1. Aww.. This was a "biglaan" type of evening snack.. XD Di bale, I'll definitely let you know the next time I have plans of visiting Little Tokyo! ;)

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  17. Oh yes, Ranma 1/2! Haha!
    Looking forward to the next pitstop in your Little Tokyo series!

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  18. I'm always in the area for client meetings. Maybe I should play hooky one of these days and drop by little Tokyo. I was convinced as soon as you said authentic Japanese food at affordable prices. As you know, I am also a HUGE fan. hehehe Is nanbatei (did i remember that right?)also in the area?

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    1. I'm not sure if it's a different Nanbantei, but there's Nanbantei of Tokyo in Greenbelt 3.. ^^

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  19. Though I'm not that hooked to Japanese dishes as compared to Koreans yet the thought of trying this is in serious consideration. Indeed, you never fail to make us drool in every food review you got. More Sumi :)

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  20. This is not excellent cluster of japanese restaurant. I think it's a good move for some restaurant to just focus on a specialization. This is common in other countries and this may also be the reason why the area is quite small.

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  21. I'm not much of a fan of Japanese food, but I think it's not that bad to try.. Those you have posted really leaves a good impression! Mouth watering!

    I hope to eat some in the future, that is, if I go to Manila. :)

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  22. I love Kagura though I always eat just the okonomiyaki there. We love sitting by the bar because the place is always crowded and it's just the me and my friend who always go there.

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  23. I love Japanese food too ^^
    The food looks delicious!

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  24. I missed your blog Sumi! Never tried Japanese food >< Poor me haha But it looks delicious! :3

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  25. The Okonomiyaki looks yummy! I'm not that familiar with the more exotic Japanese cuisine, just the popular ones like sushi and tempura. :-)

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    1. This is actually not exotic.. ^^ In fact, in Japan this is their take on pizza! :) Okonomiyaki is as ordinary as street food in Osaka.

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  26. i love Japanese food! it looks affordable too! ee! and nasa makati lang sya! i so wanna try!

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  27. they put wasabe on their food? yummy!!!

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  28. I love Japanese food, kahit na tempura at sushi/maki lang inoorder ko lagi. LOL. I haven't been to a Japanese resto in a long time, my friend and I used to frequent an eat-all-you-can Jap resto just to hoard salmon. :))
    Thanks for sharing this, I'll keep that place in mind. :)

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  29. This is a more affordable than the one we went to (Seryna). But I'd love to try this and the other restos in Little Tokyo. :)

    http://www.dekaphobe.com

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  30. wished you took a photo of the tatami seat. :D

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    1. Wish I could, but it wasn't allowed.. :( The attendant told us to take photos of only ourselves and the food.

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  31. A must-try for possible food choice experimentation in the near future.

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  32. I know Ranma 1/2! Haha. I wish to experience that wonderful treat!

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  33. It looks very interesting and this is really near my place of work. Thanks for the heads up.

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  34. I love Ranma 1/2 and Ive been wanting to try this for a long time na. I think its about time..thanks for sharing! :)

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  35. i love Jap foods, and I'm craving for one now...

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  36. This is the second Japanese food post I read today. It doesn't help that I'm a sucker for Jap. food. Nagutom tuloy ako!

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  37. malapit lang sa akin ito.. will go and check it out

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  38. lapit din nito samin. must visit it one of these days.

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  39. Woot! I am a fan of Japanese foods but some Jap restaurants are a bit expensive. This resto is more affordable! :D Woot!

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  40. OMG~ I wanted to go to Little Tokyo ever since I've learned about the place years ago.

    I'd love to try okonomiyaki too. It looks delish~

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  41. i usually stay near makati cinema square everytime i go back home. i think this place is worth a visit :-) i love japanese food a lot and yeah, even in the philippines i'll find a way to satisfy my cravings for japanese food :-)

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  42. i'm not really into japanese food. Based on your review, i can feel that your not satisfied that much.

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  43. I love Little Tokyo! We also got to taste the Takoyaki from Hana. We enjoyed the food we ordered in Hana. =)

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  44. other than rice balls di pa ako nakakakain ng Japanese foods...

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  45. Now, Im getting more and more curious with Little Tokyo. If only my wife had the fondness for Japanese Foods... ^_^

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  46. wow!! love this id try!! :) my fiance would surely love this!:)

    Rovie, The Bargain Doll

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  47. I have visited Little Tokyo twice already!! the food is just great!

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  48. Food is authentic and amiance is great, even go grocery shopping there. The kids had a lot of fun.

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  49. Kyaaa~ I'm a big fan of Jdramas and I've been seeing this which really makes me crave. Hoping to visit there soon! Arigatou for your review!

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