For most of us living in Manila, Japan is definitely a dream destination especially now that it has relaxed its Visa requirements. The pictures of our friends or colleagues visiting different parts of Japan and eating authentic Japanese food motivates us to save up for that special trip to Japan. But for those who are really on a tight budget and have other things to prioritize, Ichiba is the nearest destination for you to taste and feel real Japan.
Located at the ground floor of Newport Mall, Ichiba Restaurant can be easily spotted due to its enormity. Upon entering the restaurant, you might be surprised by how they greet guest with the loud beats of a Japanese drum.
A wide space of bamboo-lined furniture and fixtures dot the restaurant all over. At the entrance are takeout counters, a small novelty shop and a selfie corner which symbolizes all things Japanese (Don’t forget that Japanese pose!)
A fresh seafood market gives a Tsukiji Market feeling.
Other symbolic figures of puffer fish, crabs, octopus and other seafood that hang around the ceiling add up to the market ambiance. At the middle of the restaurant is an open kitchen where some of your orders are made. They have a takoyaki station, tempura station, and an open bar which makes everything busy and casual at the same time.
We were seated on the elevated space beside the open kitchen. We ordered Takoyaki, Agedashi Tofu and the Ichiba Station Sampler (Gyoza, Icihiba Rolls, Torimono, Pork Belly, Tempura and Takoyaki.)
We flushed them with their house made Sencha green tea. Everything was executed properly. The only thing we wished that they would improve on are the uniforms. We wish that they wore traditional uniforms instead of plain black shirts. But overall, this place is worth returning to because of its value for money.
For the seafood enthusiast, Ichiba Japanese Market has fresh seafood that you can ask to be cooked to your liking. Visit them soon and a word of advice, the place is usually packed on evenings and weekends so better contact them ahead of time for reservations.