There's no shortage of delicious foods that originated in Fukuoka and have gone on to conquer the whole country. Some popular dishes include Mentaiko, Mizutaki, Hakata Ramen, and Motsunabe. With its discerning foodie population, Fukuoka City is full of top-notch restaurants. There are always queues outside Tempura-Dokoro Hirao, which is a local chain with several stores in Fukuoka City. 

    Other highly regarded eateries include Sushi Osamu, the ultimate luxury sushi restaurant, which is located in a residential area away from downtown Fukuoka. Here are some recommended restaurants that produce delicious Hakata food, from reasonably priced restaurants to high-end restaurants and sushi restaurants.


    Gyumotsunabe Yamanaka (Motsunabe/Japanese cuisine)

    You'll find endless Motsunabe (meet, veg and miso hotpot) restaurants in Fukuoka that are battling it out in the flavor stakes for the custom of local foodies. Renowned for its delicious dishes, Gyumotsunabe Yamanaka is one of the most popular Motsunabe restaurants among the Hakata crowd. The main ingredient is fresh, plump offal, and there are 2 branches of this restaurant in Fukuoka City. You can order hotpots for 2 or more people and there are 3 types of soup to choose from: miso, soy sauce, and shabu-shabu. The nearest station to the main branch is Ohashi Station on the Nishitetsu-Omuta Line. It's a bit far out from the city centre, but that doesn't stop the 200 seats quickly filling up with bookings. If you fancy visiting, it's a good idea to call ahead.

    Location: 2-2-12 Mukaino, Minami-ku, Fukuoka 815-0035, Japan

    Open: Weekdays from 5 pm to 11 pm Weekends and vacations from 4 pm to 11 pm Closed on Tuesdays and New Year vacations


    photo by pelican (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Tempura Hirao (Tempura/Japanese cuisine)

    With 5 branches in Fukuoka City, ask any Hakata resident about Tempura Hirao and they'll tell you it's one of the best tempura joints in town. The restaurant layout features a long counter so that the tempura can be served as soon as it's been fried. All branches of Tempura Hirao are popular, so you'll have to queue for your meal, but it's well worth the wait. You simply need to buy a meal ticket onsite and take a seat when called. The set meal option has black tiger prawn as the main, and with this you get Kyushu pork, white fish, squid, and three types of vegetables, plus miso soup and rice, all for just 880 yen. In addition to Tentsuyu dipping sauce for the tempura, you also get 3 types of salt to try. And that's not all! You also get an all-you-can-eat helping of squid Shiokara (fermented fish) and side dishes. The main branch is a 15-minute walk from Fukuoka Airport Station on the Fukuoka City Subway Kuko Line.

    Location: 2-4-1 Higashihirao, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka City 812-0853, Japan

    Open: Open daily from 10.30 am to 9 pm Closed over New Year vacations


    Mizutaki Nagano (Japanese cuisine)

    Mizutaki (chicken, vegetables and other items boiled in plan water) is one of Hakata's nationally famous local gourmet foods. The famous Mizutaki Nagano restaurant has a history stretching back more than 90 years, and it can be difficult to get a reservation here. It may look a bit pricey too, but even if you drink and eat your fill, you probably won't go above around 5,000 yen per person. You should be able to tell it's a special place when you see the many local regulars who've been coming here for years and years. The hen bouillon is a perfectly clear soup made using only low-fat young chickens raised on natural feed. Cooking soup using leg meat and minced meat is another popular option on the menu. To get here, take the subway train to Nakasu-Kawabata Station and then walk for about 10 minutes. You'll need to book even on weekdays, so make sure you contact the restaurant as soon as your plans are finalized.

    Location: 1-6 Tsumashoji, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0020, Japan

    Open: Open from noon to 10 pm Closed on Sundays


    Ganso Nagahamaya (Ramen)

    The people of Fukuoka love their ramen, known for obvious reasons as Fukuoka ramen, which is a Tonkotsu variety (pork belly and pork bone dashi) with thin noodles. Ganso Nagahamaya started out in 1952 as a stall next to the fish market and went on to become synonymous with the best of Fukuoka ramen. The ramen was served to people working at the fish market, which led to the development of thin noodles for quicker boiling and a soup that's cloudy yet light, making it suitable even for a second helping. The only menu option here is a bowl of ramen for 550 yen. Nothing more, nothing less. To get your ramen, simply buy a ticket at the vending machine at the entrance and take the seat you're directed to. You can also order the volume of noodles and soup that suits your appetite. Quick and delicious, most people are in and out within a few minutes, leaving behind only the echoes of their voracious noodle slurping. So while it's not the kind of place to visit if you want to eat slowly and relax, it's a genuine local Nagahama-style experience. To get here, take the train to Akasaka Station on the Chitatetsu/Kuko Line and then walk for about 10 minutes.

    Location: 2-5-25 Nagahama, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka City, Fukuoka Prefecture 810-0072, Japan

    Open: Open daily from 6 pm to 2 am Closed over New Year vacations


    photo by Commonsenses (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Chikae Fukuoka (Ryotei)

    Karashi Mentaiko (spicy cod roe) is one of the leading souvenir items people take back from Fukuoka. The Chikae restaurant produces the most popular spicy cod roe sold at airports and elsewhere. As with the dishes at their restaurant chain, Chikae takes great care with its ingredients and processes, and the roe is renowned for its gentle, elegant flavor. The main branch of Chikae is a 5-minute walk from Akasaka Subway Station. Inside you'll find a huge fish tank, 12 meters long by 3 meters wide, full of live fish landed in Kyushu. Kaiseki (traditional Japanese cuisine) course menus served in the evening start at 10,000 yen, but at lunchtimes there are more reasonably priced set meals available. Only 500 of these lunches are made, though, so make sure you get here on time. The lunch option includes sashimi, tempura, a boiled dish, a broiled dish, rice, miso soup, pickles, Chawanmushi (a savory egg custard), and all-you-can eat Chikae spicy cod roe.

    Location: 2-2-17 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0041, Japan

    Open: Weekdays from 5 pm to 10 pm Weekends and vacations from 11.30 am to 10 pm (Lunchtime from 11.30 am to 2 pm)


    Hakata Gion Tetsunabe (Gyoza/Izakaya)

    Hakata-style gyoza are small and crispy, baked in an iron pan. According to Hakata Gion Tetsunabe, the most popular gyoza restaurant in the area, this style of gyoza took hold around 30 years ago when the stalls in Gionmachi started serving the gyoza directly on iron pans so that customers could eat them while they were still hot and crispy. "Jiman no Gyoza" (literally "the gyoza we're proud of") is the most popular item on the menu of this restaurant, which is still located in Gionmachi. The owner recommends eating the juicy gyoza served in indented black iron pans together with the Yuzu Kosho dipping sauce. Other tasty morsels include reasonably priced Oden and simmered chicken wings, which go wonderfully well with beer. To get here, take the subway train to Gion Station and then walk for about 3 minutes.

    Location: 2-20 Gionmachi, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0038, Japan

    Open: Open from 5 pm to 11 pm Closed on Sundays and vacations


    Sushi Osamu (Sushi)

    Given the neighborhoods rich catch of fresh seafood, it would be a crime to skip sushi when visiting Fukuoka. The sushi at Sushi Osamu is made only using seasonal ingredients from the waters surrounding Kyushu. Located in a quiet residential area, this is a calm and relaxing restaurant with only 8 seats at its counter, and it's completely non-smoking too. With fans all over Japan awed by the owner's sushi-making skills, this is a famous establishment where even getting a reservation will take some effort. The sushi rice used here is Niigata Prefecture's "Emi no Kizuna" brand, which is cultivated specifically for use in sushi, and the vinegar is Kyoto's "Fujisu Premium". The only menu option is a multi-course meal. To get here, take the 30-minute bus journey from Tenjin, get off at the Nagazumi 4-Chome stop and walk for 5 minutes.

    Location: 5-16-10 Nagazumi, Minami-ku, Fukuoka 811-1362, Japan

    Open: Open from 6 pm to 8 pm or from 8.30 pm Open for lunch on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays Closed on Wednesdays


    photo by City Foodsters (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Niwakaya Chosuke (Udon Izakaya)

    Udon is one of Hakata's soul foods. Having evolved along separate lines from the udon of Sanuki and Osaka, many of Hakata's udon noodles, but the udon at Niwakaya Chosuke is chewy like Sanuki udon. Niwakaya Chosuke is a pioneer of the "Udon Izakaya" concept, which means you can enjoy udon soul food in a relaxed izakaya (Japanese pub) setting. Currently there are 3 branches of Niwakaya Chosuke in Fukuoka City. The main store, located at the top of the Takamiya Dori street, sells more than 80 kinds of snacks including Hakata specialties and more than 100 types of sake. With reasonably priced dishes such as Motsu Shoyu Udon (hot or cold), assorted sashimi, and cheese potato salad, this is a great way to get the evening started in Hakata. And after you've sampled some of the delicious local specialties, you can finish off with a bowl of delicious udon to wrap things up.

    Location: 3-7-1 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0022, Japan

    Open: 4 pm to 1 am Sundays and Mondays from 4pm to 3 am


    photo by Nissy-KITAQ (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Robata Kaminaribashi (Robatayaki)

    The people of Hakata love their delicious and fresh foods. One of the buzzwords in Fukuoka gourmet circles right now is "Robatayaki". This style of cooking on open broils in front of the customers is an ideal way to enjoy the area's fresh seafood and vegetables, and there are many Robatayaki restaurants to be found in the city. Robata Kaminaribashi is one of the most popular of these restaurants, serving a wide variety of ingredients at low prices. It has a sister restaurant, Robata Sankobashi, which is also located in Tenjin, and both places serve up delicious charcoal-grilled food in the heart of the city. With no tables and only a single counter, the chefs here broil beef tongue, prawns, chicken, rice balls, and Tsubodai (boarfish) in mirin right in front of you. Even if you really go to town with what you order, you shouldn't have to spend more than 4,000 yen, beverages included, so make a reservation and enjoy the fresh flavors of Fukuoka. The nearest station is Tenjin Minami Station, and from there it's a 2-minute walk to the restaurant.

    Location: 1F 5th Residence Esaki, 5-24-37 Watanabedori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka 810-0004, Japan

    Open: Open from 5 pm to 12.30 am Closed on Sundays


    photo by Highten31 (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Hakata Tanka (Beef tongue)

    Hakata Tanka is a chain of 3 restaurants in Fukuoka City that all specialize in one thing: beef tongue. Located in Sanbyappo Yokocho and directly connected to the underground part of JR Hakata Station, Hakata Tanka serves the soft tongue of Kyushu Wagyu beef in the best possible ways. You can also opt for a multi-course menu to enjoy the full Wagyu beef experience. The "Manzoku Course" option includes 8 items: a small bowl delicacy, salad, meat sashimi, fried foods, broiled beef tongue and hanging tender steak, Mizutaki (ingredients such as meat and vegetables boiled in water or dashi), broiled rice, and dessert. Or if you're feeling really hungry and adventurous, try the full menu option including rare cuts that can only be eaten when served super-fresh, such as horse sashimi, white omasum sashimi, tongue sashimi, toasted heart sashimi, and tongue leek maki. Perfect for dinner before boarding the Shinkansen, this restaurant is a fantastic way to conclude your Hakata foodie adventure.

    Location: B1F JRJP Hakata Building, 8-1 Hakataekichūōgai, Hakata-ku, Fukuoka 812-0012, Japan

    Open: Open from 11.30 am to 5 pm and 5 pm to 11.30 pm Vacations follow the JRJP Hakata Building


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