Run by an organic and healthy food-loving chef and her live music-loving partner, Otis! is a small space packed full of character. During the day, Otis! is a smoke-free cafe offering healthy Japanese and vegetarian Tex-Mex set lunches for ¥800 (12-3pm) and an à la carte menu full of American foods that are hard to find in Japan. In the evening, it is a quiet place to go and have a bite or a drink, or on live event nights (about twice a month) it is transformed into a cosy, live music venue.
Originally opened in 1987 and actually not much as been changed since. The original owners are now an older couple- one still passionate about healthy American food and the other a live music fan. Lunchtime is busy during the week as office workers pile in for the best lunch deal around.
At other times, it is a great place to have a quiet drink or a enjoy a tasty piece of pie. Twice a month, there are live music events held here by indie bands and artists performing anything from classical Japanese to Blues and Rock.
Otis! has a loyal group of patrons from the international community, travelers and sometimes you will even see famous entertainers drop in due to its location across the street from two big events halls.
They have had their fair share of big names coming here. You can see the artwork and signatures of many of the famous customers who have stopped by- including a large drawing on the wall by John Lasseter who visited during one of the biennial International Animation Festivals held at Aster Plaza every other August.
The lunch sets are good sized portions of tasty food- a great value if you can get there before they run out (12-3pm). Although the à la carte dishes may seem more like tapas than main dishes, they are not expensive and the food quality and taste is good. It’s one of the few places in Hiroshima where you can get great tasting chili, enchiladas, nachos, guacamole, tacos, and all the Tex-Mex favorites made both with and without meat.
Vegetarians will love the lunch set of vegetarian chili and rice (or chips), salad and cheese enchilada for only ¥850. In fact, it is such a good bargain that you can add a nice piece of homemade American style pie, cake or muffin or a cup of coffee and it is still only around ¥1000. The latest additions to the side-menu include mango lassi, healthy green smoothie, homemade rye bread, vegetable soups, french toast and scones.
Talking with the owner-chef, Saeki-san, recently she lamented not being able to make everything completely organic, but she says she uses as many organic ingredients as she can find. On the menu you can find organic rice, coffee, miso soup, beans and vegetables being used. She also said she would like to make it non-smoking all day, but at least it is an all non-smoking venue till evening.
Unusual for Japan, there is a balance of meat and non-meat dishes available. So, for meat and seafood lovers there is: Meat pie, Pork Spare Ribs, Mexican Sausage, Bacon and Beans, Meat filled Tex-Mex dishes, Seafood Pilaf and Jambalaya, Tuna and potato cassarole and BLT sandwiches.
Coffee and desserts on their own are also popular here- the owner makes some delicious homemade American style pies and cakes: pumpkin, pecan and apple pie, banana cake, brownies and muffins are all delicious.
If you send an email reservation through their website, you can get the advance ticket price on the door for their live music events. They list their event schedule in English too if you are interested. If there is a charge for the live event there will be a drink included with the price and you can go in from 6:30pm / all performances start at 7:30pm unless listed otherwise.
It is a great place to see the off-off-main stream groups perform. From the weird and wacky to traditional Japanese or American blues bands- all sorts have passed through this tiny club.
- Seating for 24
- No credit cards
- Non-smoking at lunch
- No-smoking at the counter all day
- Reservations accepted
- 1 parking space plus ¥100 parking lot next door
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12:00-22:30 (L.O.), Sundays & Holidays 16:00-22:30 (L.O.)
Address: 1-20 Kako-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 730-0812