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Jul 5, 2010 10:25 PM

Ishigaki recommendations

I would be very grateful if anyone could recommend restaurants in ishigaki (or neighbouring islands). We will be staying at the ANA Interconti for 8 days starting this weekend.

I heard the hotel has some good restaurants - has anyone been? Of course we would prefer to mainly eat outside of the hotel and would be very grateful for any recommendations of any cuisine at any pirce level, from very cheap and cheerful to high end and outrageously expensive. Okinawan specialties are of course our preference, but if there are any good non-Okinawan restaurants (either Japanese or non-Japanese) then please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Coincidentally, I will also be in Ishigaki next week from Tuesday through Friday. I have never been there and my GF is making all of the arrangements, but one night we are going to try to eat here:

    One other dinner will be spent at a yakiniku restaurant that serves Ishigaki gyu, which is supposedly a famous type of beef.

    9 Replies
    1. re: ruprecht25

      Fantastic, thank you! Will try it.

      Will also try yakiniku. We love yakiniku but had not realsied that Ishigaki was famous for its beef.

      1. re: ruprecht25

        I spent time on Ishigaki earlier this year. Yes, the beef is excellent and I actually prefer it to many of the premium brands up north such as Hida and a few others, as it is leaner and makes for excellent sashimi.

        1. re: Silverjay

          Excellent, will try some beef sashimi as well.

            1. re: Silverjay


              Was there any other food you particualrly enjoyed in Ishigaki?

              Also, what alcohol other than awamori (and presumably beer) is popular in Okinawa? I am taking some bottles of good sake with me in case it is difficult to get - am I being overcautious and the place is brimming with good sake?

              1. re: Asomaniac

                I didn't come across any wine bars and French restaurants if that's what you're looking for. Being a subtropical island, they don't brew sake there or anywhere else in Okinawa Pref. I'm sure most places will have some imported selection though. I didn't look for it myself. Ume-shu and black sugar flavored ume-shu seemed to be readily available, although probably more for the benefit of out of towners than locally preferred. Beer and awamori are the standards. There's a surprising variety of island awamori and most were quite good- although my memory erased each night regarding names/brands. Black sugar shochu is pretty available as well. Most places will do sequasa or yuzu or other local fruit cocktail drinks. There's also a microbrewery on the island.

                For yakiniku, I went to the most popular place, Yamato (, which is essentially a family run joint. The owner REALLY likes Kanemoto Tomoaki and the Hanshin Tigers..At the shop, you cook over shichirin. Suggest reservations for here. They are crowded. I liked the sashimi, the shio bara, harami, and the yaki-shabu.The places with certified Ishigaki beef have a special emblem on their door. The beef is not as ridiculously marbled as other premium brands. Grilled is fine, not mind blowing, but very good. I liked it best as sashimi or nigiri.. I did sushi and seafood one night at Akebono (, which is popular with tourists, but is really just a neighborhood joint. Just ask what's in season. It should be local tuna season and maybe katsuo as well. So I would ask about that. Local akagai is very good. There's a lot of swordfish too, if that's your thing. I spent one night sushi bar hopping. It's very cheap there. If the weather is bad, the boats don't go out, so your selections will be more limited. There's an excellent local shellfish type that I had never heard of, but I've totally forgotten what it's called. Definitely ask for that. They have different names for some fish vs. what's used on Honshu I realized as well. Be sure to talk with the chefs.....My hotel suggested I go to this maguro senmonten (, but I decided not to go since it wasn't the season. But it might be worth checking out during your visit..One night I was looking for a local izakaya and stumbled into Adantei, near the Nikko Hotel. I sat by the back bar and ended up in a lengthy friendly conversation with the proprietor and his daughter. I was given WAY too much awamori to recall the entire evening and parade of dishes. My camera seems to have an inordinate amount of jarred habu-shu photos from that evening. Anyway, there's a ton of places like this in Ishigaki Town. Honestly, I think someone would have to live there to really understand what shops are better than others...One place I never got to try, but was enthusiastically recommended, was this ramen shop- . And there's no shortage of Okinawan soba places as well. The one at the airport was decent and another one near the port, that a cabbie recommended, was pretty good as well. It was just west of the shiyakusho. I didn't eat in other parts of the island outside of the main town. It's not a particularly charming town, but the island has some nice places. And the people, the ones that are actually from there because there are a lot of transplants from other parts of Japan and main Okinawa, are funny. The best thing is that it should be prime manta viewing season round about now.

                1. re: Silverjay

                  Great, thank you very much. This is all really helpful and I will try to visit as many places as possible. I really love akagai so what you are saying is very good news. No, I was not looking for wine bars and French restaurants, there are plenty of those in Tokyo and it would be criminal not to focus on Okinawan cuisine on my first trip there.

                  Looks like I will take some good sake with me just in case for those late afternoon rest periods at the hotel. I was going to try to get it in a liquor store in Ishigaki (I would assume Niigata or Yamagata sake would be available anywhere), but if it is not particularly popular in Okinawa it's probably unlikely that they will be selling anything overly decent.

                  I will be trying various local awamori in restaurants, though my tolerance for awamori is not very high so some of the evenings might end up being cut short..

                  1. re: Asomaniac

                    So you're concerned about the strength of awamori, but you're planning to slip back to the hotel room in the afternoon for a snort of sake? That's wackazoid.

                    1. re: Silverjay

                      Good to see there are some things on this board that remain constant - It would not be Silverjay without a judgmental swipe at someone else's choices which differ from what he would do, in between some very good and gratefully appreciated culinary advice. A[art from anything else, I have a high tolerance for beer, wine and sake but less so for other alcohol, including awamori - even if it is mizuwari - and whiskey, gin and vodka.

                      Plus for some reason you seem to be deducing from my comment about sake in the hotel that I am going to get trolleyed on it. Ever heard of someone enjoying a quiet two glasses of sake or another drink before dinner? Apparently not - clearly I'm being wackazoid.

        2. The Grandvrio Resort ( has an Ishigaki burger that won a award or two last year, and this yakiniku albeit small is quite good:
          焼肉石垣島 -
          One type of awamori that I heartily recommend is awanami (and i dont really like most awamoris), from the island of Hateruma. You can only buy airplane liquor bottles of the stuff at the local shops, but man it is worth trying once. And having it in a passion fruit is just amazing. and of course go wild on the snack pines and mangos!

          If you do plan on going to Hateruma, we had my friend's wedding at Sainantan:

          It's a pension, but such a great place, and the staff is so warm.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nrt

            Thanks everyone for the recommendations. Ishigaki was excellent. I particularly loved the ishigaki gyu sushi and sashimi, which we ended up eating at least a bit of pretty much every day, and the katsuo (we had several multicourse meals that were basically katsuo in many forms and guises). Akebono was a great sushi place, and we also went to a fantastic tuna restaurant the name of which escapes me (they have two branches, but I simply cannot remember the name). The drinking side of things was pretty good as well with several Okinawan microbreweries offering some interesting stuff. The awamori killed me though (though it was a good way to go, I found some absolutely excellent ones). Overall we had a fantastic time, met lots of great people and will be back.