Tsurugyu – Osaka, Japan

Spoiler alert! This was by far the best beef we had during our entire trip in Japan. Starting with a pretty major statement but I truly mean it! If you are going to only eat wagyu beef once, eat it at Tsurugyu!

Now let me introduce you to the place itself, Tsurugyu is a Kobe beef restaurant just outside Osaka city centre. From the street it doesn’t look like anything special, and the avenue it is on is actually dead quiet during the day which makes it a bit difficult to find at first.

Tsurugyu outside Osaka

Get inside and you are entering a dark and elegant little cocoon. The place feels special with all tables sheltered by curtains giving it a lot of privacy. George Clooney could be at the table next to you and you wouldn’t even know it.

Tsurugyu table inside

It is good to note that you will need a reservation to eat at Tsurugyu. It is a very popular place. Not speaking Japanese? Don’t worry, just swing by and ask if they can book a table for you. We went one morning there and asked if they had availability on the same evening, which luckily they did!

Our waiter deserves a special mention too. He was hilariously patronising but in the nicest possible way. He must have thought “Those Europeans have absolutely no clue what they are doing!” and spent most of the evening showing us how to eat each ingredient properly. We felt like primary school students but also learned a lot about Japanese table manners.

Now let’s talk about the best part – the food! I could literally just tell you that it was epic and leave it there with a few snaps, but it was such an excellent meal that it deserves a few more words before I leave you drooling at the pictures (well except if you are vegetarian, look away now).

Once sat at the table, the waiter got the grill ready while we were deciding which cut of beef to go for. We ordered two different types of beef, both not too fatty as I am more of a lean cut type of person.

Kobe beef Tsurugyu

With the meat, we ordered a side of kimchi, which I am completely obsessed about by the way, since I learned that it is good for your guts health.

Kimchi Tsurugyu

We also ordered the cold noodles as per our waiter recommendation. I would describe it as a very cold and very light ramen. Worth a try!

Cold noodles Tsurugyu

We then got busy cooking and grilling!

Tsurugyu table and grill

And following our teacher… I mean, our waiter’s instructions we dressed our plates as Japanese people would do. Meat at the bottom and the various sauces and salts at the top but never mixed together!

Kobe beef Tsurugyu

There is not much more I can say than: “YOU NEEEEEEEED TO GO EAT AT TSURUGYU!”

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What’s – Kyoto, Japan

If you happen to be visiting Kyoto and fancy some beef, I may just know the place you want to go to!

What’s in Kyoto is one of those restaurants you would probably miss while walking around Kyoto city centre. It is in a quiet back street about 10-minutes’ walk from Shijo Dori, Kyoto main high street, and it really worth the detour!

Kyoto What's restaurant

Once inside the waiters will warmly welcome you. Everybody is very friendly, at What’s, and genuinely interested in where you are coming from, how you are finding Japan, and if you enjoy your time there.

If you are sitting upstairs, you will be asked to take your shoes off, very common in Japanese restaurants.

You will then be taken to your table which is more of a private booth than a table. Everything there is made so you can quietly and privately enjoy your dinner. No curious table neighbours staring at your plate here!

Kyoto What's restaurant

To order, just use the little bell on the table! As I said, the staff wants to make sure that you are not being bothered unless it is necessary. Japanese people are very considerate which extremely pleasant!

We were first treated to an appetiser, beef tongue, the name may not be appetising for all but it was delicious!

Kyoto What's restaurant

Once the grill was ready, we ordered the shoulder sirloin for me and the Selection of the Chef for Andrew.

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

All meats are served with a selection of soy sauces, salt and wasabi.

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

I find that cooking your own food make you appreciate it even more.

Kyoto What's restaurant

For sides, we went for some kimchi (fermented cabbage and radishes, so good!) and the steamed vegetables. Who knew steamed cabbage could be so delicious?

Kyoto What's restaurantKyoto What's restaurant

It was truly one of our favourite meal in Kyoto! From the beautiful indoors, to the delicious food and the lovely staff, What’s really worth a visit!