Credit: Taken from their website (sorry, too excited, forgot to take photos of shop)
A 3-minute drive from the tourist attraction, star-shaped fort Goryokaku, Unagidokoro Takahashi うなぎ処 髙はし at Hakodate Hokkaido has recently received a Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide for excellent food at ¥5000 or less. The shop used to serve seasonal tempura but when it was passed to the second generation, they changed the focus to unagi (eel). They still have tempura on their menu that is also popular.
Credit: Taken from their website
Japanese believe that unagi is “cooling,” and eat them during summer to fortify the body against the heat, although winter is a great time to eat it too. Here, the restaurant uses domestic eels, pairing it with their traditional sweet sauce of 60 years of history. The lunch and dinner sets are priced similarly from ¥3500-¥5500.
One amenity they provide is the free parking spaces in front of the shop.
However, their menu is entirely in Japanese; it is very authentic.
We had no choice but to point randomly at the menu, hoping to get a decent meal. And it turned out more than decent. We ordered the bamboo set and the one on the rice bowl. We couldn’t fathom the difference between them. But reading some online Japanese reviews using Google translate, it seems that the bamboo box version is more fragrant? I am guessing that after the eel is grilled, they put it on top of the rice and close the lid and steam it a little?
In any case, the food is excellent and ticks all the right boxes. The eel is fat and sweet, and the rice is fluffy and plump and sticky. One thing to note: you have to add the sweet sauce yourself. By itself, the eel is refreshing and light. But the sweet sauce, which is balanced, brings it to the next level.
When I asked my friends if this was better or Man Man in Singapore (which is also a unagi speciality restaurant with a Bib Gourmand accolade), there was a unanimous chorus: Man Man is better. I can see why we think Man Man is better: the eels at Man Man are grilled deeply and daringly to the point that they are almost charred so that the bitter burntends give a bold impression. But I have to say, Unagidokoro Takahashi has its strengths too. Man Man is more in-your-face but Unagidokoro Takahashi is more balanced, subtle, and moderate. As Singaporeans, we are culturally used to strong tasting food, but I can see how Japanese or Westerners would pick Unagidokoro Takahashi over Man Man.
We paid for our own meals.
Unagidokoro Takahashi うなぎ処 髙はし
24-7 Goryokakucho, Hakodate
北海道 函館市 五稜郭町 24-7
11.30am-2.30pm, 5pm-9.30pm, closed Tue
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Written by A. Nathanael Ho.