A darling of the foodie community, Japanese restaurant Nihonbashi Tei has been reviewed to death by so many food blogs all over the internet, but of course, I don't want to get left behind! There are already several branches of Nihonbashi Tei around Metro Manila and they're always packed to the brim, not only with Japanese-food-loving Filipinos but even Japanese nationals as well! I suppose that's how you know that a place is really authentic, right?
A brief backgrounder: There are so many different kinds of Japanese restaurants. You have the sushi-ya (sushi shop), ramen-ya (ramen shop), tonkatsu-ya (tonkatsu shop), etc. which are specialty restaurants that serve a specific dish. However, there is also the izakaya (of which Nihonbashi Tei is an example) which is technically a pub, where people gather to drink sake and make merry. Food served are also complementary to alcohol, (basically pulutan) such as grilled meats, rice, noodles, and sashimi.
Stepping into any one of their branches will transport you to traditional Japan, with wooden and stone decor and flooring, Japanese characters lining the walls, and most importantly, quaint little rooms where you get to sit on the floor and dine on low wooden tables (although these are smoking rooms). If that doesn't get you in the mood for some delectable Japanese cuisine, then I don't know what will.
What I love about Nihonbashi Tei is that they don't skimp on ingredients. Their salmon sashimi has the largest slices I've seen, their miso soup has fresh briny clams in it, and their spicy tuna maki is HUGE.
That being said, let's get on with the show!