Hiroshima may not come to mind when thinking of foodie cities in Japan but the city is very much a secret foodie's paradise. You'll find stellar oysters, the locally popular kone cut of beef, unique okonomiyaki, and spicy food (a bit of a rarity in Japan). Being a port city—Hiroshima is often referred to as ‘the city of water’ with six rivers running through it— there is also a real legacy of sailor’s food, including hearty curry dishes, known as kaiji-kare, and chunky vegetable stews. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience, a memorable group meal, or a hole-in-the-wall ramen joint, there is plenty to enjoy in the underrated culinary hotspot that is Hiroshima
Reichan is one of Hiroshima's original okonomiyaki restaurants, first opened as a food stall in 1957 and now conveniently located within the Hiroshima Station building. There is both bar and restaurant seating depending on whether you want to watch the chefs and their process. What makes Reichan unique is that it's one of the last restaurants that still serve traditional folded okonomiyaki which is seasoned twice. Reichan also serves a vegetarian option.
This cozy okonomiyaki restaurant is situated near The Peace Memorial Park. There’s plenty of bar seating so you can watch the cooking process in action and they cater to both gluten-free and vegan customers with an extensive picture menu available, making this an ideal option for anyone, particularly those with dietary restrictions, looking to try this Hiroshima specialty.
Mei Mei is the world’s first halal, Muslim-friendly okonomiyaki restaurant and it also serves other teppanyaki grilled meat and fish dishes and many options of okonomiyaki options. They serve alcohol, including sake and shochu, but also have a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks available. Conveniently, they also have a Muslim prayer room on the premises.
Seafood is an integral part of the cuisine in Hiroshima and if you’re looking to sample some of the very best, including the infamous blowfish dish fugu which has to be specially prepared by certified restaurants, then Shoben Tango should be on your list. Counter seating and booths are available and meals are served in set courses with seafood starters and desserts included.
Hiroshima oysters are famous throughout the country so if you are a fan or are dipping your toe into the world of oysters and want to start with the best then head to Ekohiiki. Oysters and sake are the event here, expertly paired to bring out the best in each other. There are endless ways to try your oysters, whether you’d prefer them marinated, battered as tempura, in curry, pan-fried, or steamed. For anyone who doesn’t fancy oysters, there are other choices available including grilled fish, eel, and marinated pork.
Grilled conger eel (known as unagi) is one of Japan’s must-try dishes and also a delicacy where it pays to find a specialist restaurant. Tsuki Akari wins for quality as well as ambient surroundings. Found in a small alley in an old traditional Kyoto-style townhouse, the restaurant offers the perfect blend of dim lighting, traditional seating, and authentic firepit nailing the atmosphere. Your grilled and marinated eel will be served on sushi rice with sides, and an incredible extensive sake menu is also available.
Sometimes sushi or sashimi is the only thing that will do and Sushitei Hikarimachi can’t be beaten on price meets quality. Guests can either enjoy an omakase experience leaving it up to the chef to choose what they would like to serve you or you can order off the extensive menu (that is also in English) featuring all the favorites, some Hiroshima specialties, and seasonal choices. Drinks include plum wine, sake, whisky, and beer.
One of the most famous and beloved ramen joints in the city, Youki has been serving up steaming bowls of Hiroshima-style ramen for more than 60 years with an unchanging recipe. They have four locations in the city, all intimate restaurants that fill up quickly. The silky shoyu-tonkotsu (soy sauce and pig bone) broth coats the ramen noodles beautifully and is topped with tender chashu pork, scallions, and beansprouts and topped. You'll be thinking about this bowl of ramen long after you leave.
Shiru-Nashi Tantanmen is an incredibly popular style of spicy brothless noodle dish in Hiroshima inspired by Sichuan dan dan noodles. The noodles are served with a small amount of sauce in the bowl, and you’re advised to stir your noodle mix together 30 times before eating, making sure everything is thoroughly coated in the sauce at the bottom. You can choose the level of spiciness that you are comfortable with and also choose to have a side egg to dip your noodles in before eating. It’s customary to add a little white rice to the bowl at the end with some vinegar and special sauce. Just order your meal on the vending machine, found outside any of the five branches of King-Ken, and take the ticket into the restaurant with you.
Tsuboyaki Curry Keaton Noboricho
This homey restaurant is considered one of the best for Japanese curry in Hiroshima. It serves various options of the ultimate comfort food, curry, including vegetarian options like stewed mushroom curry. You’ll find standard katsu curry on the menu and also some fun dishes with grilled burgers and whole shrimp. An English menu is available and you will be able to choose your comfortable level of spice.
Indian curry is also incredibly popular in Hiroshima with Roopali being a firm favorite (the garlic naan has a loyal following). Their lunchtime set meals are affordable and generous and there are a number of gluten-free and vegetarian options available. For people who aren’t fans of curry, there is also a range of barbecued meat and rice dishes that are sure to satisfy. Roopali is also conveniently located near Hiroshima Station.
Seasonal Cuisine Nakashima
Perfect for those looking for a special fine dining meal and want to try washoku, or traditional Japanese cooking. The dishes are served in a kaiseki style—a meal consisting of a multi-course meal of small, expertly prepared dishes. Their dishes are created with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and are served in an intimate and relaxed setting using cypress wood and muted tones. Portions are generous and the staff will explain each dish leaving you with a deep understanding of your meal.
Teppanyaki Dontoko Hatchobori
For the meat lovers out there, digging into some barbecued wagyu beef is a must and is essential in Hiroshima if you’d like to try kone, a cut popular in Hiroshima also known as brisket. The cuts are grilled in front of you on the teppanyaki grill and seasoned before being served. The menu differs by day depending on the season and what’s available but their English menu makes things easy to navigate. Aside from the grilled meat and fish, there are a number of delicious sides including egg rice, grilled potato salad, bento boxes, and tempura.
One of the most pleasurable meals to eat as a group is nabe, which is Japanese hot pot. Akitei serves a number of hot pot dishes including varieties such as shabu shabu and sukiyaki. Serving the finest A5 Miyazaki beef, you will be served plates of meat and vegetables that are cooked in a simmering broth or spicy sauce. With pleasant ambiance surroundings, hearty warm nabe, and a range of menu choices, Akitei hits the spot every time.