I could go on and on about why I love Japanese cuisine, but I’m here to share a discovery I made around San Juan. In this quiet residential community lies a Japanese restaurant that has become my new favorite: Izakaya Kenta.
I’m very critical when it comes to Japanese restaurants, and I consider three factors whenever I eat at one: authenticity (is it made the Japanese way?), taste (does it taste good?), and price (is it worth the price?).
I tried several items off of the menu of Izakaya Kenta, and they ticked off every criterion I have effortlessly.
According to the owner of Izakaya Kenta San Juan, most—if not all—of the restaurant’s recipes were created by a Japanese chef in 1997. Since then, the head chef was trained to serve and prepare meals as close as any Japanese would have it.
Price-wise, Izakaya Kenta also fits most age groups. For example, they have Tonkotsu Ramen for only Php220! If you think that the deceptive price may compromise the quality and experience, fear not. I was surprised to discover how good it is!
Allow me to take you on a visual tour of what we had during our visit:
Spicy Tuna Maki (4 pieces for Php210)
This is my favorite type of sushi, and their version definitely meets my expectation! It has the right level of spiciness, and the amounts of tuna sashimi and seasoned rice are balanced—you won’t feel like you ate more rice than tuna.
Nigiri Jou (Php630 | Good for 2-3 people)
If you want to taste all of their sushi, order this Nigiri Jou to get a platter of assorted varieties. To name some, Tamago, Uni, Maguro, and Ika Sushi are available.
Kani Salad (Php270 | Good for 1-2 people)
The Japanese like their salad drenched in dressing, and I’m not complaining one bit. Their Kani (crabmeat) Salad easily became my favorite with its creaminess and incomparable taste due to the Japanese mayo. One of my top picks!
Tako Potato (P215| Good for 1-2 people)
Their Tako Potato might look like your ordinary takoyaki, but as the name suggests, it’s actually a mixture of both potato and octopus. Bite-sized octopus meat is nestled inside each potato ball and drizzled with a secret sauce that makes it all the more scrumptious. It would be best to eat this piping hot.
Tonkotsu Ramen (Php220 | Good for 1 person)
Another top pick of mine is their Tonkotsu Ramen. There are two types of ramen eaters: those who like their broth thick and those who want it light. If you’re part of the latter (like me), you’ll enjoy their Tonkotsu Ramen. It also helps that the noodles are on point. It has a texture that you’ll enjoy eating.
Ebi Tempura (Php340 | Good for 1 person)
Like shrimp? You’ll love their Ebi Tempura because the shrimp that they use is guaranteed to be fresh. You’ll also get your money’s worth because this order is not just full of ultra-crispy batter—you’ll delight in generous bites of real shrimp. It comes with veggies, too.
Katsu Curry Rice (Php430 | Good for 1-2 people)
Aside from Spicy Tuna Maki, what I order in most Japanese restaurants is Katsu Curry Rice. Izakaya Kenta’s version was heaven in my mouth. The crispy tonkatsu dipped in the distinctive Japanese curry complement each other so well, you might be able to finish this big plate all by yourself. It comes with a hefty amount of rice, too.
Beef Tepanyaki (Php360 | Good for 1-2 people) and Beef Yakiniku (Php360 | Good for 1-2 people)
Take your pick: thick and seared beef cuts or thinly-sliced grilled meat? Whatever you choose, both are bursting with umami. You’ll probably want some rice to go with these orders. The sauces of both items are the chef’s secret recipes.
Coffee Jelly (Php155)
What I appreciate about Izakaya Kenta (and what made it top other Japanese restaurants) is that they also serve dessert. It’s quite rare to find a Japanese restaurant that includes this in their menu, so that alone makes it a winner for me. Their Coffee Jelly is a mini bowl of coffee gelatin with vanilla ice cream on top.
Black Sesame Vanilla Ice Cream (Php155) and Ujikintoki (Php180)
Although the coffee jelly can do the trick in saturating your tastebuds, you shouldn’t miss out on their ice cream, either. It’s just a single scoop-serving, but each munch packs a real punch. Whether you order the Black Sesame or Ujikintoki (Green Tea), you’ll adore the concentrated flavor churned into this sweet treat.
Bonus: There are off-menu items that you should try, too! Ask the servers what they can offer you for a more special visit to Izakaya Kenta!
They also have some ongoing promotions:
Graduates eat for free with every 5 paying adults until June 30, 2019.
Take out your favorite sushi or meals in bulk at a much lower price.
50% off on all a la carte dishes until June 30, 2019.
From July 1 to August 15, enjoy 50% off on all food (except Bento and Lunch sets).
What are you waiting for? Head on to Izakaya Kenta to catch their promotions now!
403 F. Calderon, San Juan