Niseko is a skiing town and so restaurants and shops usually open for skiing months (December to Feb). We were there in November and missed out on the popular restaurants. Regardless, to make this a comprehensive food guide, I’ll include those restaurants.
Entering Graubunden is like a dream. Its European-styled architecture reminds me of candy cottages in fairy tales. Inside, it is cosy and homely. While it looks new, Graubunden has been around for 20 years! They are a sandwich and cake cafe. When you’re tired of Japanese food, this cafe provides a good change.
Unfortunately, they don’t bake their own breads, but fortunately, the food is delicious. The sandwiches start from ¥800 and can go up to ¥1400, depending on the topping. There is also a choice of bread for the sandwich: baguette, soft baguette, rye, and bagel.
I recommend Graubunden Special ( ¥900), which includes scrambled egg, back bacon, and cheese. I really enjoy back bacon better than streaky bacon because back bacon is meatier. Here, the bacon is divine. While the sandwiches may seem expensive, the hearty portions and the deliciousness make up for it. We paid ¥5050 for three sandwiches and 4 coffees.
Japanese Address: 〒048-1522 北海道虻田郡ニセコ町曽我888-1
English: 〒048-1522 888-1, Soga, Niseko-cho, Abuta-gun、Hokkaido
When you’re in Hokkaido, you have to eat the milk products. Milk Kobo is established in 1996, and uses milk and cream produced on Takahashi Dairy Farm next door to make its puffs and cakes. In summer, there are ice cream classes.
The shop opens at 9.30am but if you’re early, you can cam-whore (like we did) around the area with Mt Yosei and vast fields as backdrop.
They are famous for their huge choux puffs (¥170 each), which goes very with a cup of black coffee. Their puffs are baked fresh daily, and are filled with a light, chilled cream.
We also tried their cheese tarts (¥200 each, pictured below). Their cheese cake (¥650, not pictured) comes in a box of four and is especially good; it is creamy inside, almost oozing out. The yogurt here is award-wining and is nice.
Here, you can also buy products to bring back to your home country to give your friends, colleagues, and relatives. But they expire quickly (within a week or so). We paid ¥1730.
Japanese Address: 〒048-1522 北海道虻田郡ニセコ町曽我888-1
English: 〒048-1522 Hokkaido Prefecture, Abuta District, ニセコ町 Soga, 888-1
tel: +81 136-55-8852
Photo credit from their website.
My good friend who has exquisite taste and has been to Niseko twice highly recommended Prativo, which is in the same compound as Milk Kobo as they are under the same management. What is great here is their lunch semi-buffet for only ¥1550; that is, there is a choice of a main, while salads and desserts are buffet-styled. The buffet is good because they use local produce so everything is fresh, tasty, and environmentally friendly. Reduces the carbon footprint. They also have set dinner menus for ¥2700 or ¥3500, but it’s really more worth going for lunch.
Japanese Address: 北海道虻田郡倶知安町字山田 188-24
English: 188-24 & 188-29 Yamada, Kutchan Town
T: +81 136224292 or +81 136220480
5.30pm-11pm, closed Wed
Bang Bang izakaya, which is closed during non skiing season, is opened by a husband-wife team with more than 30 years of history. It is extremely popular so a reservation is imperative if you don’t want to be disappointed. Recommendation: grilled Hokke fish, Hokkaido sausage, mentaiko-stuffed chicken wings and grilled sweet potato.
居酒屋 次郎長 Izakaya Jirouchou
Japanese Address: 〒048-1502 北海道虻田郡ニセコ町字本通83
English: 83 Hondori, Niseko, Abuta District, Hokkaido 048-1502
Since Bang Bang was closed for the season when we were there, we very clearly asked our hotel concierge at Hilton Niseko to recommend an izakaya that locals go and she delivered.
Izakaya Jirouchou is part of a local fish shop–you enter through the small door on the left–so their fish items including their sashimi (¥900) and grilled fish are excellent.
They are also known for their oden (sort of like Japanese version of yong tou foo), and each item is only ¥100. Go crazy.
But really, every dish is very good. The buttered mushrooms are orgasmic. Kaarage chicken (¥800) is equally delicious. Basically, anything deep-fried here is top.
As you can see, we ordered A LOT of food. NON STOP. We even had 3 beers, but the four of us paid only about ¥8000. Super good value!
Japanese address: 北海道虻田郡倶知安町字山田167-21
English: 167-21 Aza Yamada, Kutchan, Hokkaido, Japan 044-0081
tel: +81 136-23-1432
5pm-12am (Open during winter only)
Photo credit from their facebook.
Bar Gyu is a really cool speakeasy. The hidden entrance is the door of a fridge, so it’s also called “Fridge Bar” by many. They serve classic cocktails and hot ciders such as buttered rum and apple pie.
You may be interested in…
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–Asari しゃぶしゃぶあさり, Hakodate Hokkaido: Sukiyaki Chef-Owner Says, “I Want to Open a Shop in Singapore!”
–Michelin Bib Gourmand Ramen in Hokkaido: Ippontei 一本亭 at Lake Toya and Ramen Shingetsu ラーメン 信月 at Sapporo
–Unagidokoro Takahashi うなぎ処 髙はし, Hakodate Hokkaido: MichEELin Bib Gourmand Unagi Restaurant. Much fEELs.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.