July is Philippines-Japan Friendship Month. To celebrate the occasion, we've rounded up ten awesome Japanese restaurants where you can eat for P200 or less. Grab a friend and dine at the following affordable Japanese restaurants in Manila.
9753 Kamagong St. cor. Sampaloc St., San Antonio Village, Makati City.
Budget: P150-P200 per head
Established way back in the eighties, Suzukin is one of the oldest restaurants in San Antonio Village, Makati. It is that old; you'll find it hard to find a resident who hasn't been to this iconic Japanese restaurant.
The small, low-ceilinged space hasn't changed through the years. Even their menu, a sampling of all the familiar Japanese dishes, barely moved. Their Ebi Tempura remains the best-seller along with the Beef Garlic and their Tepanyaki Meals; all three are must-tries for Suzukin first-timers. If you want the ultimate bang-for-the-buck meal, get the Suzukin Lunch or Dinner Plate (P145) complete with Chicken Furai, Ebi Tempura, Pork Kashi Yaki, Tuna Steak, Crispy Dilis, rice, and miso soup.
Photos from Suzukin's Facebook Page
G/F 102 Acrocity Building, 1116 Antipolo St., Makati City and Palm Tower B, St. Paul Rd., San Antonio Village, Makati City
Budget: around P250 per head
Katsu fans have been feasting on fried pork cutlets at Tonkatsuya long before the craze hit Manila. A regular Tonkatsu set (complete with rice, bean sprouts and miso soup) at Tonkatsuya sell at around P220-- just a fraction of what it would cost you in the malls. Don't worry about quality, too, because Japanese Tonkatsu Chef Hosoya is at the helm of the kitchen.
Cheese Katsu (P260)
Branches: SM Megamall, SM San Lazaro
Budget: Below P200
Komoro Soba has been standing on the same spot for more than a decade already; it shocks us everytime we meet a Megamall goer who hasn't eaten or at least visited the place.
This restaurant offers Donburi (rice topping) at prices that's just at par with most fastfood outlets. Oyakodon (chicken with egg), Katsudon (pork with egg), Sukiyakidon (beef, tofu, sotanghon with egg), Gyudon (beef and onion), and Ten Don (prawn and vegetable tempura) are all sold at P99 each. Ebi Tempura Bento-- three pieces of prawn tempura-- is priced at P178. And a number of soba variants (buckwheat noodles) are sold for under P120.
The pricepoint may be like that of your typical fastfood but the taste and quality sure are not. Their open kitchen lets you a peek on their operations. You'll see that the food here is cooked as you order. The soba, as its price hints, is of the instant variant, but we don't mind. The soup used for that particular noodle soothes us like no other.
If we were to be bold about it, Japanese-owned Komoro Soba is your best bang-for-the-buck option for decent Japanese food in this side of the metro.
Ebi Tempura Bento P178
Kakiage Soba with Donburi (Set; P178)
Little Tokyo, Makati
Budget: Below P200 for a snack
Hana is a modest and homey restaurant in Little Tokyo. There are only about four or five tables in store and an open kitchen by the side. The muted yellow lamps overhead casts a warm glow to the place, and a series of photos depicting Japanese baseball players decorate the walls. A number of Nihongo newspapers sits in one corner, and a TV airing a local Japanese channel is perched in another.
The usual suspects, Donburi, Yakisoba, and Ramen are also present in Hana's menu. But most people frequent this izakaya for their Japanese snacks: Takoyaki (P120; 6 pieces) and snow cone-like Kakigori (P80). P200 for authentic takoyaki and kakigori in a resto with a Japan-like ambiance? That's a pretty good deal, we think.
Takoyaki, Osaka's #1 favorite snack
Kakigori. Think: snow cone.
Tomas Morato cor. Scout de Guia, Quezon City
Budget: Below P200 for a snack
If you're based in the north of Metro Manila and Little Tokyo, Makati is a little too far south for your taste, then go to Octoboy for your Takoyaki fix. This restaurant does takoyaki like how it's done in Japan: round and plump mush, filled with real octopus cubes, and topped with katsuoboshi. There are three flavors available in store: Regular Takoyaki, Bacon and Cheese, and Shrimp. A set is priced at P120 for 6 pieces. Okonomiyaki is also good here, but those will already cost you more than P300.
Branches: Taft Avenue, Manila and Aurora Blvd., Quezon City
Budget: Below P200 for rice meals
Yutaka Izakaya was established in Kumamoto, Kikuchi Japan. In 2006, the brand opened its first branch in the Philippines. The food offering is diverse, with price ranging from P80 to P800. Majority of their rice meals are under P200 though. Those are what you should seek there anyway.
What to get here: their Teishoku sets (rice meals served with miso soup). Their Katsusoji Set, sizzling katsudon swimming in egg and soy, is our favorite. Other options are Tonkatsu (P170), Tori Karaage (P170), and Yakisoba (P170). Tempura is also not bad for P210.
Photo from Yutaka's Facebook Page
Branches: Alabang, Makati, Greenhills, Quezon City, Marikina
Budget: Below P200 for Donburi
Omakase, which translates to 'leave it to the chef', started as a take-out counter in Green Meadows. Many years later, it grew to a casual restaurant in five different areas in the metro. All five branches are spacious, artistically designed, and well, pretty intimidating especially if you don't have much cash on hand.
But contrary to this popular perception, eating a full meal with P200 on hand is possible at Omakase. Our favorites: Katsudon (P190), Torikatsudon (P190), and Salmon Katsu Rice (P180). They have complimentary house tea as well. We love it cold.
Salmon Katsu Rice
Photos from Omakase's Facebook page
#2 Soliven Avenue, Mayamot, 1803 Antipolo Rizal
Budget: Below P200 for Ramen bowls
The eastsiders are pretty lucky to have Tamagoya Noodle House in their hood. This casual restaurant serves decent Hokkaido ramen for less than P200. Bestsellers here are: Gomoku Ramen P178, Curry Ramen (P178), and their spicy Stamina Ramen (P168).
Photo from Tamagoya's Facebook Page
9. Akiba Cafe
Branches: SM Megamall Branch and Ash Creek Branch Ortigas Ave. corner Madison St. San Juan City
Budget: P200 per dessert or coffee
Akiba is a homegrown cafe that aims to recreate the experience in Japan's kissatens. Akiba Cafe serves drinks and and desserts, made with ingredients imported from Japan.
Our favorites: Choco Baumkuchen (P140) and Peanut Butter Choco Chiru (P140)
Peanut Butter Choco Chiru
10. Tokyo Bubble Tea Milk Tea Place and Restaurant
8 branches in Metro Manila
Budget: P150 to P200 for milk tea
Bubble Tea has been bubbling their way into hearts of tea-lovers in Manila since May 2007, when they opened the Megamall branch. Royal Milk Tea, Taro Milkshake, Strawberry Milkshake, and Almond Milk Tea are their bestsellers but every now and then, they offer milk tea specials like this too-cute-for-words Sakura edition. This month, Tokyo Bubble Milk tea has just launched its milo series. We can't wait to try Matcha Milo milk tea.
Our list above just proved that eating good Japanese food need not be expensive. Do you know of any other Japanese restaurants that serve good food for less that P200? Share your budget-friendly finds in the comments section below!