MANILA, PHILIPPINES – I do not think it is wise to start a post with a bet but I have a strong feeling on this one. I bet on my peso that everyone or every family, for that matter, has a "default restaurant". Fair enough, right? It is that restaurant that does not need any pondering on for it to emerge whenever you run out of new restaurants you’d like to try out or when you simply find yourself lazy enough to research about what’s hot right now in the metro. It just simply pops out effortlessly from your head. It is your go-to restaurant. Maybe you have already tried and tested it; probably a lot of times now. Maybe your family goes there every Sunday after mass since you were a kid. Maybe you have celebrated all your birthdays there, anniversaries or any other special occasions included. Whatever the reason is, you happen to love every dish that they have, happen to have a favorite from their menu that gives you that wonderful feeling every time you eat it, even though you just had it last week. There are no more surprises, no more anxiousness if you will like what you ordered or despise it, no more negative feelings due to bad service and late arrival of orders. All there will ever be is consistency as this restaurant has stood the test of times (and your palate) already.
In the case of our family, it would be that one Japanese restaurant along Arnaiz Avenue standing just right outside San Lorenzo Village in Makati City called Nihonbashi Tei. We discovered it while we were cruising one day along Arnaiz Avenue without a destination in mind. We just saw it there, beaming in all its glory, being flocked upon by its fans riding on their cars, most of which do not anymore have a space to park into due to the limited space!
Stepping inside the establishment will give you the same story. The place is always busy because of the throng of eaters visiting the place. You can probably see also a lot of Japanese there, which could give you a high level of confidence on their food. But ultimately, we fell in love with it because the food is awesome and we can order anything we want without breaking our wallets and pockets too much; very perfect for those family occasions that we normally celebrate.
Their version of the Spicy Tuna Sashimi (Php 220++) is a must-try. It has always been my go-to dish here ever since I was introduced to its goodness. I love the hugeness of the chunks of tuna sashimi that they use and their perfectly concocted spicy sauce that even those non-spicy fans can tolerate.
Gyoza (Php 170++) is something that we unfailingly order whenever we are in a Japanese restaurant because, really, how can you go wrong with Gyoza? Other than the eight-piece quantity that they serve, we particularly love how they steam and fry their Gyoza on one side. The compactness of the meat inside each is something also that we can commend from Nihonbashi’s take on this seemingly overrated dish
The Unagi Maki (Php 300++) is the perfect way to gobble on some Unagi without putting a visible dent on your wallet; and the good thing about this is that it is good for sharing and it pretty much tastes the same as an Unagi don; just for less.
Gyu Motsu Nikomi (Php 120++) translates to beef intestines stew. Since we are not big on Ramen, we prefer soups like this instead to warm us up and to have some kind of variation to our otherwise dry meal. For people who are huge fans of innards and animal intestines like us, this dish is absolutely for you!
Another soup that we ordered is called Salmon Oshazuke (Php 220++). Oshazukes are basically rice soups made by pouring green tea, dashi or hot water over cooked rice usually with savory toppings. The one that we ordered is infused with green tea and I just love how the green tea adds a fresher taste to the palate and complements the fishy taste of the salmon.
For a more unconventional alternative to your tuna and salmon sashimi, have their Shiromi Usuzukuri (Php 350++) instead!
Even though we want to try other viands and be more adventurous with our food choices every time we go to our beloved restaurant, we still find ourselves ordering dishes that may be ordinary but we have already tried and tested. The Tori Karaage (Php 180++) is one and the other one is Katsudon (Php 260++). Both are great supplement to our orders and are perfect meals for your kids if you happen to bring them with you here.
Overall, we have come to love Nihonbashi Tei because of its accessibility from our place, the helpful staff, the fast service, the great food and diverse menu and their affordability. I am quite positive that I won’t be gearing away from it anytime soon. Case in point is that we will be having our family Sunday dinner there later!
So, what is your default restaurant?
(add) 806 Arnaiz Ave. San Lorenzo, Makati City | (phone) 02 818 8893 (I strongly advise that you reserve prior going!)