Franziskaner Bar and Grill
Germany close to home
by Allna Pushkina
When you see a country’s flag waving tantalizingly outside a restaurant, you feel certain that what’s offered inside will be gloriously authentic. But how often have you been disappointed?
Entering one of the Franziskaner restaurants gives you no such feeling. The main draw of Franziskaner is the formidable selection of premium beers. They have a dizzying selection of rare, high quality lager and white, black, and award-winning German brews to choose from. We selected the refreshing Hefeweisser Bier (a sweet white beer, ¥840) and the standard Spaten Lager (¥630). After sipping these we were so relaxed, we almost forgot we were there to eat — a situation exacerbated by the fact that to interact with the staff, we have to ring a bell (presumably imported from Germany). From the vast menu we eventually opted for an appetizer of homemade garlic toast (¥400), a Franziskaner style omelette (¥850), Caesar salad (¥1,000) and, of course, the pretzel (¥400). But the highlight of the meal was the lamb thigh in Gorgonzola cheese sauce (¥1,400) which could easily have been dominated by the cheese but was balanced to perfection.
Finally, we indulged in Chef Ofuji’s impeccable desserts. Two of the house specials were apple strudel (¥800), and the chef’s cheesecake (¥800), served with smooth coffee-scented ice cream. A great finish to a great meal.
Franziskaner Bar & Grill Ochanomizu
Imazato Bldg, 3-1 Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku
Owen Evans eats more Brazilian meat than he can handle!
Chinatown in Yokohama has many hidden treasures but few would expect one such treasure to be a Brazilian churrasco restaurant. Occupying a whole floor of China Square, the Travesso Grill is large in scale yet wonderfully accommodating. It’s the people that make a place, and the genuine friendliness of head waiter Mamy (pictured, above) made us feel so welcome.
First things first, however. The system was explained to us, “We have over forty items in our salad bar so be careful to make sure you leave enough room for the twelve kinds of churrasco we have!” beamed Mamy before a recommendation of the “very strong” traditional Brazilian alcoholic drink Caipirinha. There was little resistance. The salad bar selection and the churrasco were wonderful. It was obvious that only the freshest ingredients have been used. Being presented with a map of the parts of the cow on offer, we worked our way around starting with the rump steak marinated in pepper and garlic. Not everyone will be able to stomach the chicken heart — although this skeptic is happy to recommend it. For those more conservative eaters the garlic rump was the best steak meat I have eaten in five years of living in Japan.
Whatever your tastes, the Travesso Grill is able to satisfy, so next time you are in Yokohama and in need of something completely different, make a trip to Chinatown for some fine Brazilian food!
China Square Building 6F, Yamashita-cho 144, Naka-ku, Yokohama (Chinatown)
Good Honest Grub
Laura Rafter gets grubbing
Looking for a place to escape to when you have had enough of Tokyo’s busy and bustling streets? Then head to Harajuku, and be pleasantly surprised when you enter Good Honest Grub. Expect to be greeted personally by owner Don Foley (pictured, above), who takes pride in welcoming everyone to his restaurant.
Once inside Good Honest Grub, we decided to get down to grubbing. Well grogging at first anyway. We started with a green margarita, which was one of the seasonal cocktails, and a “dips for you” entree (¥1,300), which included delicious homemade hummus and various delectable dips. Deciding we were not quite ready to move on to the main course, we ordered a feta cheese, sun-dried tomato and pesto pita bread pizza (¥1,100), which confirmed our suspicions: we had most definitely stumbled upon our new favorite restaurant.
After a glass of Pinot Gris from Oregon (¥800/glass), it was time to commit to our main course. I eventually decided on the oven-roasted chicken breast (¥1,900). When it arrived, sizzling on my table, I could see why this item was a Grub favorite.
My companion, a vegetarian, decided on the Veggy Lover (¥1,800). Vegetarians and vegans will be delighted to see the extensive selections available catering for both.
Of course, we couldn’t pass up the dessert. We shared the caramel tart, which came with fresh cream and strawberries. It went perfectly with our lattes (made from Lavazza coffee), and was a perfect end to our first Good Honest Grub experience.
Good Honest Grub
Harajuku Belle Pia 2F, 6-6-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku