Whether you’re passing through Nagoya on your way to your next destination or enjoying a longer stay in the city, Nagoya Station (also known as meieki) is a great place to sample dishes unique to Nagoya. We lived about a ten minute walk north of meieki and many of our favorite Nagoya restaurants are in and around the station.
Each region of Japan is known for specific dishes and Nagoya dishes are worth taking a detour to try. Our favorite Nagoya specialty (and one of Blaine’s all-time favorite foods) is misokatsu, breaded fried pork cutlet smothered in red miso. Red miso has a strong, salty taste and the consistency is a bit thicker than tomato sauce.
Misokatsu: breaded, fried pork cutlet smothered in red miso
Tebasaki: seasoned, deep-fried chicken wings
Misonikomi: thick Japanese buckwheat noodles in a red miso broth
Hitsumabushi: grilled unagi (freshwater eel) served over rice
Nagoya Kitchen serves some of the best misokatsu in the city. The soft lit, narrow space has about 5 tables and 5 booths and is a calm place to unwind after work or a long journey. I recommend the bowl of misokatsu over a bed of cabbage with white rice and pickled vegetables on the side and an Asahi or Sapporo to wash it down.
Location // On the south side of Nagoya Station’s central concourse in the restaurant alley
Tori Tori Tei is a boisterous izakaya (Japanese bar) that specializes in chicken dishes (tori means chicken) and traditional izakaya fare like edamame and gyoza (dumplings). The staff is outgoing and the low ceiling, wood-paneled space is usually packed with businessmen enjoying a post-work beer. Order tebasaki and a sampler of yakitori (skewered chicken), which may include chicken intestine (we seemed to always accidently order intestine; it’s flavorful but just a little chewy for my taste).
Location // Exit the west side (Taiko-dori) and walk north near the train tracks, Tori Tori Tei has a red lantern out front
This conveyor belt sushi restaurant on the main floor of Nagoya Station is a casual spot with seating along the sushi bar, a few booths, and brightly colored walls. The price for a plate of 2 nigiri (fish over rice) ranges from about 150 yen – 400 yen depending on the fish. Some of our favorite sushi are hamachi (Japanese amberjack), maguro (tuna), and kani sarada (crab salad). Kaitenzushi joints are always good if you’re in a hurry because you can grab a seat and take as many plates as you like from the conveyor belt without having to wait to order.
Location // On the southeast side of Nagoya Station’s main floor near the Seijo Ishi grocery store
Café Du Ciel is located on the 51st floor of Nagoya Stations JR Towers. An upscale café with a full menu and beautiful views of Nagoya east of the station, Café Du Ciel is a great place to grab tea and dessert. If you want a window seat you’ll most likely have to wait at least 30 minutes. We went on Christmas day (which most Japanese people don’t have off) and waited about 30-40 minutes for a window table. The intricate cakes were the most memorable part of the meal.
Location // 1-1-4, Meieki, Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan
The 12th and 13th floors of Nagoya Station’s JR Towers have an abundance of high end restaurants with views over the city.
What Nagoya specialty dish do you most want to try?