Hiroshima’s best places to eat, drink, groove, shop and play, as voted by our wonderful readers.
We are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Best of Hiroshima Awards, as voted by the readers of GetHiroshima. It was both gratifying to see some of our favorites take some of the top spots and exciting to discover some new places. Looking at the results, it seems clear that when it comes to wining and dining, to secure a place in our readers’ hearts, you have to offer a warm welcome as well as great food and drink.
Thanks to everyone who cast their votes online and congratulations to all the winners and runners up.
Now, let’s get to the results.
Best Okonomiyaki: Lopez (Yokogawa)
Fernando Lopez may have added some Latin spice, with spicy jalapeno toppings and side dishes like tortilla chips and salsa and chili, but make no mistake, his okonomiyaki is the real deal. His fame is spreading worldwide thanks to being featured in bestselling author Matt Goulding’s culinary journey through Japan, Rice, Noodle, Fish. Loved by locals, no matter how busy things get (and it gets very busy) he and his staff are always happy to see you.
More about Lopez.
Honorable mentions: Nagata-ya, Okonomiyaki Mura
Best Japanese Restaurant: Ayur (Hakushima)
New to us, we had to go and check out this clear winner. We were not disappointed. Disarmingly charming chef Katsu speaks excellent English and his passion for good food made with super fresh ingredients is clear. Letting Katsu do the choosing with an omakase course consisting of creative interpretations of traditional Japanese dishes is highly recommended, but he very patiently explained the whole menu when we went a la carte on our visit.
More about Ayur.
Honorable mention: Miyabi-tei
Best Fancy Restaurant: Hiroto (Jizo-dori)
This French-not-French restaurant just south of Peace Boulevard on Jizo-dori kicked off Matt Jungblut’s tour of Hiroshima’s Michelin-starred restaurants in our autumn issue. There is no a la carte here and you place yourself in the very capable hands of the chef, selecting an omakase course by price which you can watch being constructed in the open kitchen.
More about Hiroto.
Best Western Restaurant: KeMBY’s
These days, it’s no mean feat to keep a street level restaurant as spacious as KeMBY’s going. Prakash has done more than just keep his Ote-machi dining bar going, however, by building up the wine list, bringing in more international beers, both bottled and on draft, and expanding his food menu. As well as the burgers for which KeMBY’s is known, recent additions are meats straight from the barbeque and Chicago style deep dish pizzas. It’s also still a great spot to just enjoy a drink or two by yourself at the bar.
More about KeMBY’s.
Best Non-Japanese Asian Restaurant:
Warung Matahari (Takanobashi)
Sawadee Lemongrass Grill (Chuo-dori)
Unless you live in the area, heading as far south as Takanobashi for a bite to eat can require a bit of motivation. However, the immersive Indonesian bungalow-like atmosphere and warm welcome you’ll receive from the staff and master chef Surasna provide all the incentive you need. Their expansive menu offers dishes that are as beautiful as they are delicious and complex, along with a wide range of exotic tropical cocktails.
Headed by an experienced Thai chef and with a ‘Thai SELECT’ certification from the Thai government, Lemongrass Grill on Chuo-dori (accessed from back of Mozart cake shop) is highly rated for its authenticity. Along with Thai staples like Pad Thai and Tom Yam Soup, signature dishes on the wide menu include Pu Nim Pad Pong soft shell crab curry and Chiang Mai Khao Soi Gai curried noodles. If you like things spicy, ask them to crank up the heat.
More about Sawadee Lemongrass Grill
Best Cafe: Cinnamon Shokudo (Dobashi)
Whenever I go to the Cinnamon Shokudo I feel like I’d like to just sit there for hours flicking through magazines or reading a good book. A Dobashi sidestreet is the perfect location for the little blue and white cafe; it’s like somewhere in a Japanese indie movie. The menu, simple fare inspired by longtime staples found in Japanese kissaten and eateries look amazing and taste great. A great place to chill by yourself, or to bring friends to help you take on the full-size Honey Toast.
More about Cinnamon Shokudo.
Best Vegetarian-friendly Restaurant: OTIS! (Kakomachi)
The lunch plates are great value, especially if in the mood for veggie Tex-Mex, at this long-running, quirky cafe-cum-restaurant-cum-bar-cum-music venue near Peace Memorial Park. Excellent understanding of vegetarian needs. Meat is also on the menu, so it’s great for “mixed groups”. And the pecan pie is delicious.
More about OTIS!
Most Foreigner Friendly Bar: Molly Malone’s (Chuo-dori)
Best Casual Bar: Molly Malone’s
It seems like all the bars that are most friendly to Hiroshima’s barbarian community are also “casual” bars. I wonder why… There was a great deal of overlap in these two categories, but it was “Hiroshima’s Authentic Irish Pub” that took top spot in both. Molly Malone’s continues to satisfy the need for a “local pub” that so many GetHiroshima readers feel. Mark and his staff do an amazing job maintaining a welcoming atmosphere, and the comfort food on the menu doesn’t do any harm either.
More about Molly Malone’s.
Best Casual Bar honorable mention: Centre Point Hiroshima
Best Fancy Bar: EIGHT (Shintenchi)
More about EIGHT.
Best Casual Bar honorable mention: Centre Point Hiroshima
Best Dance Spot: Bar Ken’s & Tres Marias (Nagarekawa)
With an energetically lit dance floor, flat rate ¥500 drinks, and one of the friendliest barkeeps in the city, Ken’s is the place to be on a lively weekend night if you want to act out a house party scene from your favorite movie. Ken is always happy to play requests and keeps it bumping with a mixture of classics and current beats.
More about Bar Ken’s & Tres Marias
Honorable mention: MAC Bar *sniff*
Best Live Music Venue: Organza (Tokaichi)
Goto Izumi’s place in Tokaichi isn’t big, but it packs in a lot of weirdness. On any given night, you might catch anything from a silky-voiced singer-songwriter to an avant-garde Burlesque show here.
More about Organza.
Best Dessert: Mario Dessert (Namiki-dori)
Honorable mention: Polar Bear Gelato
Best Import Store: Jupiter (Shareo)
Honorable mentions: Costco, Yamaya
Best Kids Spot:Family Pool
More about Family Pool
Best Day Trip: Miyajima
Best Cherry Blossom Spot: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park
Honorable mention: Kintai-kyo Bridge
More about cherry blossom viewing in Hiroshima.
Best Festival: Tōkasan ‘Yukata’ Festival
More about Tōkasan
Honorable mentions: Hiroshima Flower Festival, Saijo Sake Matsuri
More festivals in and around Hiroshima.
Where you can find our winners