Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably already know that I went to Japan with my family over the Christmas holidays, so the current separation anxiety I’m undergoing is no joke. Japan is one of my favourite countries, period, and I don’t think any number of visits will ever be enough haha! Alas, we can’t have what we want all the time, but we can certainly attempt to fill in the void.

Kikufuji 1 - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Since today is my birthday and I don’t have a cake recipe to share (argh so lazyyy), I thought it would be apt for me to write about the early birthday celebration I had with my family last Sunday, where we ate at the highly regarded Izakaya Kikufuji at Little Tokyo.

When you enter the restaurant it has that really Japanese vibe as the place is quite compact but well-utilized. There’s a bar right at the center of the main hall, and then tables with normal chairs, as well as tables in tatami style. Going further in, the restaurant is actually big and extends all the way to the back!

24474303656 6ca3bb7907 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Being in here makes me miss Japan even more, to be honest with you, but Japanese food makes my heart feel so much better. This place has such a reputation among fans of authentic Japanese food it’s practically an institution. Also, I think the sashimi we ate in this one meal is enough to last me about a month.

24392285282 72b5d557a7 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

But let’s not kid ourselves, soon enough we’ll be eating Japanese food again!

Before I go on about the food, I wanted to talk about how packed this place was. It was literally bumper to bumper, and for a restaurant to be around this many years and still have this many customers says a lot about it! I got lucky and hooked a reservation when I called just a week earlier, but most people I know had to do their bookings two weeks ahead because the restaurant was already full. I highly highly recommend calling in a reservation in this place, because if you’re planning to be a walk-in customer, then be prepared to take a LOT of patience with you!

23872296394 91b21d8a1b b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

The thing I love about Kikufuji is that the staff is very fast on their feet. It’s a really busy place, and sometimes it’s hard to get the attention of the wait staff for say, a refill of tea, but once you do get their attention they move super fast. In Japan, restaurant staff move pretty quickly too, but they also take a shorter period of time in bringing out your orders to your table. Since this isn’t Japan but a very busy restaurant in Makati, then I suppose it’s understandable that some dishes take a little longer.

Anyway, let’s start talking about the food! Any time we go to a Japanese restaurant and there’s a Spicy Tuna Salad (Php 280) on the menu, we order it. That soft fresh tuna coated with creamy spicy mayo and crunchy tempura flakes makes for an awesome eating experience.

24204954010 6f096a72c1 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

This is one of the freshest versions I’ve tried, and I say that about both the tuna and the tempura bits. It’s got all the seasonings of the typical spicy tuna salad too.

24418127411 07d4e3d87f b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Next, we ordered two makimono dishes. The first one was the Negi Toro Maki (Php 160), which was a little lackluster, as it was really small and so the portion of scallion and tuna inside the rolls were small as well. I could barely taste it. 😛

24418144291 3a1250c820 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

The star makimono dish was definitely the Spicy Tuna Maki (Php 240), and yes, spicy tuna again! This was one of my favourite dishes of the day because somehow, that spicy tuna salad tastes EVEN BETTER on rice.

24418152581 f540847da5 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Now we get to the main reason why we came here: fresh sashimi. Everyone practically waxes poetic about how good the sashimi is here, and even better, it doesn’t cost as much as most other Japanese places in the metro. As a lover of sashimi, to say that I was excited would be an understatement. And when they laid this on the table… My goodness. Look at all those beautiful colours!

24392233052 cde3306486 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

The one we ordered is the Nana Ten Mori (Php 830), and it’s got seven kinds of sashimi as the name suggests. (Nana means seven, so there’s a little Japanese counting lesson for ya! Haha!) Seven different kinds of wonderfully fresh slices of seafood for only 830 pesos! Where else can you find that kind of value???

This platter has the usual sake (salmon) and maguro (tuna) combined with other fresh fish like hokkigai (surf clam) and hamachi (yellowtail). Oh and the mackerel was superb.

24500515155 87d1449fc9 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

I have to give a special mention to the sweet silky uni (sea urchin). This was bursting with goodness in every bite and was addicting like crack!

24204964770 5c0247df7c b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

The mains that we ordered were pretty generic (by my standards anyway). I went for my usual Zaru Soba (Php 190) and I can honestly say it’s not the tastiest version I’ve eaten by far. (The best was in Japan, let’s be real.)

24204925240 8a82220cf5 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

My dad ordered a bowl of Wakame Udon (Php 270) and you can totally see all that fresh seaweed floating on top. He said it was pretty good. I was so busy slowly eating pieces of sashimi I forgot to give this a taste!

24500545715 d32949a243 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Despite the good amount of main dishes they have on the menu, I would suggest going for items on their special lunch menu instead. I can’t say anything about dinnertime, but I reckon one of the reasons the place is filled to the brim at lunch is because of the lunch specials Kikufuji offers. In Japan, most restaurants also do special lunch menus for office workers, and these filling meal sets are mostly composed of rice and miso soup with a specific Japanese dish for a price that’s more value for money than ordering ala carte.

24132736809 ddf12b6f38 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

My co-birthday celebrator Jason went for the Chirashi Don Lunch Set (Php 568), and it comes with its own Spicy Tuna Salad, apart from the loads of sashimi which the dish is made of. He said this meal was like two months’ worth of his sashimi quota haha! Luckily there are other side dishes to help keep the palate fresh.

24500554945 195b8ef1b2 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

I also want to say that with the lunch specials, apart from the side dish/es and soup that come with the set, there’s also a glass of this absolutely fantastic iced coffee. If I had to guess, this is probably UCC coffee. It was deliciously blended!

24205006340 9811704b75 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

The other lunch set my family ordered was the Makunouchi Bento (Php 420). I want to mention that the grilled salmon in this bento was so well-cooked it literally melted in your mouth.

24500550025 3654e9e204 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

Speaking of melt-in-your-mouth, when you come to Izakaya Kikufuji, DO NOT MISS their amazing Gyu Kushi (Php 125 per stick). (Thanks to an Instagram friend for suggesting this to me!) The squares of beef just pop and melt in your mouth in the most sublime way!

24132813359 24099cbe04 b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

These beef skewers are so perfectly grilled, so incredibly soft and juicy! And even though you know it’s probably bad for you, you’ll still want to have another bite! 😀 It’s too good to be missed, but just don’t go overboard. We ended up eating two cubes each, and I was highly satisfied! (Well we were already full at this point.) 😀

24500563645 afe835ccba b - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji

There’s not much else I can say about this dining experience except that I’ll be back. I miss Japan on a regular basis, and this place is probably as authentic as it can get over here! Even the busy ambiance wherein you can feel people milling busily about as you enjoy your meal is part of that Japanese experience, and I for one do really like it– even though it took me several attempts to have my tea refilled haha!

I’ll make it a point to order the many other things I haven’t tried during this trip and report back. Don’t you worry! I’m actually thinking about trying to squeeze in a little midday get-together with my best friends, and perhaps get a seat at one of the tatami tables this time around.

23872311354 bdfc5d34a3 h - Sashimi overload at Izakaya Kikufuji


Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue,
Legaspi Village, Makati City
Hours: 11 AM to 1:30 PM, 6 PM to 10:30 PM
Tel No.: (02) 893 6131 — non-smoking reservations


Full disclosure: This post was not sponsored in any way. All opinions stated above are my own.


  1. EAT'S a Small World
    18 November, 2016

    Love their Maki Salad as well. Lots of mangoes and tasty crab sticks!

  2. […] delicious, accessible, and (consistently) satisfying encapsulates the appeal of Izakaya Kikufuji. Experience the authentic charm of a Japanese restaurant as its space is narrow and well-utilized. […]

  3. Thank you sa blog na ito, na enjoy namin Izakaya Kikufuji sa Little Tokyo, Makati.

    1. Clarisse
      28 May, 2017

      Wow, maraming salamat sa comment! I’m glad you guys enjoyed! Isa sa favorite ko yang Kikufuji. Affordable pero masarap at okay ang serving.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top