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Kanazawa, Takayama recs

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Putting together a food itinerary for my trip to Kanazawa and Takayama next month. Any feedback or recs are gladly welcome.

Kanazawa - Day 1
Any good izakaya recs for dinner?

Kanazawa - Day 2
Lunch at Miyoshian in the Kenrokuen Gardens
Dinner at Komatsu Yasuke — I saw in a previous CH post in 2009 that Yasuke is 79 years old and will be retiring soon... does anyone know if he is still there?
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6341...
Alternatively, dinner at Daiba

Takayama - Day 1
I am hoping to book Ryori Ryokan Hanaoka and enjoy their dinner here, having read many positive reviews about this place. Still waiting to hear back from them.
Any alternative ryokans, if they are all booked?

Takayama - Day 2
Lunch at Yamatake-Shōten
or any other place for good Hida beef, preferably grilled
Has anyone been to Suzuya or Maruaki?

Also, how do reservations work? I'm a month away from the trip, do I need to start calling these places in the next few weeks? Thanks so much!

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  1. By the way, I was sadly informed by the Takayama Tourist Office that Ryori Ryokan Hanaoka has closed. Does anyone know of a nice ryokan that serves excellent food???

    1. mori-mori sushi in the forus mall is the best!

      1 Reply
      1. re: cheryl.berk

        Thanks Cheryl, much appreciated!!

      2. Sen is also a nice evening izakaya choice for Kanazawa (http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/9606.... ), with plenty of local dishes and good sake. I thought Daiba was a bit better though, if you have to choose only one. All your Kanazawa choices should probably be booked at least a few days in advance, or longer if you want to go at a popular time such as Friday night.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robb S

          Thanks, Robb! Really appreciate all of your other CH posts on Kanazawa and Tokyo, as well as the reviews on bento.com. They've been HUGELY helpful as I am planning my trip for next month.

          1. re: doodilin

            You're welcome! I hope the actual restaurants live up to expectations.

        2. This is a bit overdue, but I just wanted to comment that we thoroughly enjoyed our meals in Kanazawa and Takayama! Here's a rundown:

          KANAZAWA

          Daiba - Great seafood, had a lovely grilled nodoguro (black throat sea perch).

          Itaru (there are a few locations) - This turned out to be one of our most enjoyable meals of the trip. Everything we ordered was delicious, including the sake.

          After dining at Itaru, we randomly ended up next door at 'Things Ain't What They Used to Be,' a cozy bar that was playing live soft jazz. The owner has had the venue for 40 years! If you are a fan of Bob Marley, go to Pole Pole, a dive bar with a great vibe.

          TAKAYAMA

          Center 4 Hamburgers - Great Hida beef burger (buns are buttery goodness) in a charming, kitschy setting.

          Yamatake Shoten - Owned by a butcher who raises the cattle himself. We grilled a healthy portion (over 700g for two!) of Hida beef that literally melted in our mouths.

          If anyone tries these places, would love to hear what you think of them. Thanks to all for your suggestions.

          2 Replies
          1. re: doodilin

            Just wanted to thank you doodilin for leading us to Center 4 Hamburgers - while I don't eat meat (and this place certainly punished me for it - vegetarian burger is just vegetables in a bun, albeit a delicious bun) my bf found the Hida beef burger pretty outstanding.

            We really loved Kanazawa, and though we didn't get a chance to try Daiba or Itaru, we did find ourselves in a great Italian place called Ryoman tucked away in a small street in Higashichaya-gai, the old geisha district.

            1. re: doodilin

              As the thread's been updated, let me add a note.
              We did originally book (via our ryokan host) for Yamatake Shoten, though she wasn't familiar with it and looked it up in order to make the booking.
              However, when we arrived, she showed us where it was on a map and it seemed quite a haul. She suggested Maruaki for hida beef, very near to the ryokan and she'd also been for a family celebration meal there recently and liked it.
              We had her cancel the previous booking (which was for the following night) and went to Maruaki.
              We loved it!
              Photos and menu feedback here: http://www.kaveyeats.com/2012/12/hida...

            2. Komatsu Yasuke is a truly wonderful place that everyone visiting Kanazawa should try to visit. My wife and I had a wonderful lunch there. The owner, now 81 years old, is an energetic and charming host. It was great fun watching him and his assistant preparing the dishes. Everything was delicious! I would return to Kanazawa just for the pleasure of eating there again.

              2 Replies
              1. re: lsclark

                What a shame, I wish I had known the owner at Komatsu Yasuke was still around! I missed it when I was in Kanazawa.

                1. re: lsclark

                  From what I can tell, it seems like Komatsuyasuke is only open for lunch. Would you happen to know if this is correct? I was interested in going there, but I like to leave my daytime schedule open and just wander around so having lunch reservations wouldn't work. Ended up making reservations for Otomezushi instead since they are open for dinner and our family friend living in Tokyo had heard about it and wanted to try it as well.