Hokkaido: Where to eat in Hakodate if you’re not into seafood

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    We know it sounds crazy to not want to gorge on seafood every chance you get in Hakodate. After all, the city is known for having one of the freshest sea produce in Hokkaido, thanks to its proximity to the ocean. From the Hakodate morning market to the various restuarants along the bay area, Hakodate is simply overflowing with fresh fish, prawns, scallops, squids and other sea harvests you can imagine. However, if you’re feeling like you’ve had one too many kaisendon (seafood bowls) or not a fan of raw seafood to begin with, here are 4 places you absolutely must check out. In fact, you should check them out anyway, because they are so good.

    Lucky Pierrot

    Lucky Pierrot at Hakodate Hokkaido
    One of the many Lucky Pierrot outlets at Hakodate. We recommend going to the one at the Bay area
    Lucky Pierrot at Hakodate Hokkaido
    There are just too many items on the menu
    Grilled squid at Lucky Pierrot
    Grilled squid
    Chinese Chicken Burger at Lucky Pierrot
    Chinese Chicken Burger
    Fried chicken noodles at Lucky Pierrot
    Noodles with fried chicken

    Exclusive to Hakodate, Lucky Pierrot probably has the most chaotic decor of all fast food restaurants in orderly Japan. The interior is packed (right up to the painings on the wall) with quirky vintage French/ Chinese decoratives and knick knacks and has a clown as its mascot. The menu is rather ecletic too consisting of everything from fried chicken, to burgers to Chinese style char mee (fried noodles), katsudon (fried pork cutlet) and soft serve. The only thing in common on the menu is that everything tastes great. If you only have space for a few items, make sure to try the Chinese Chicken burger — the patty is crispy on the outside yet so moist and tender inside, while the sesame specked burger buns are soft and nutty. The katsudon is pretty good too. Just remember that the portions are rather large so you’d want to pace yourself.

    Lucky Pierrot, Hakodate
    Address: 23-18 Suehiro-cho, Hakodate (Bay Area main branch), 函館末広町23-18
    Opening hours : 1000 – 0030hrs

    Shimonya (四文屋)

    Shimonya at Hakodate Hokkaido
    How it looks like from the front
    Chef at work at Shimonya
    Chef at work

    Located near the famous Goryokaku Park, Shimonya is a causal eatery specialising in donburri for lunch. At night, the quiet restaurant is transformed into a vibrant salaryman heaven serving kick-ass charcoal grilled yakitori (starting from JPY100) and sake. The food at this eatery is so good we would actually recommend you go there for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, try the char siew don (JPY500). The melt-in-the-mouth char siew has just the right amount of seasoning and smokiness and goes perfectly with the plump, flluffy short-grain rice. The chicken and leek yakitori, chicken balls (tsukune) and grilled chicken skin are a must from the dinner offering. The chef is simply a master at seasoning and barbequing. Make sure you order some sake to go with all that savoury goodness and watch the waiter fill your glass until it literally overflows — it’s a Japanese tradition, we were told.

    Char Siew Don at Shimonya
    A must-order, the Char Siew Don (only available for lunch)
    Buta Don at Shimonya
    Buta Don (only available for lunch)
    Grilled chicken sticks at Shimonya
    Assorted grilled chicken sticks
    Grilled chicken wing sticks and leeks at Shimonya
    Grilled chicken wing sticks with leeks
    Grilled vegetables sticks at Shimonya
    Grilled vegetables sticks
    Sirloin steak at Shimonya
    Sirloin steak

    Shimonya, 四文屋 函館五稜郭店
    Address: Honcho Hakodate Hokkaido (69 metres from Goryokaku Koemmae), 北海道 函館市 本町 7-14
    Lunch: 11:30 -14:00, Dinner: 17:00 – 22:30
    Tel: 0138-84-5265

    Asari Honten

    Asari Honten is slightly off the city grid but certainly worth travelling to for a good sukiyaki meal. Located at Horai-Cho tram station, the restaurant boasts a butchery on the first level and the restaurant decked out with beautiful tatami rooms on the second floor. The beef cuts start from ¥1500 yen, which comes with marbled wagyu (the cheaper cuts) and go all the way to (around ¥4000) for the A5 Wagyu.

    Asari Honten, 阿佐利本店
    Address:10-11 Horaicho, Hakodate, Hokkaido Prefecture 040-0043
    Tel: +81 138 23 0421

    Daimon Yokocho 横丁内

    Daimon Yokocho offers a nice cluster of izakaya style bars and kiosks you can venture into. Located about a good 10-minute walk from Hakodate JR station, you can get everything from yakitori, sushi rolls to ramen and of course, seafood — just take your pick. Another great perk of dining here: the opportunity to huddle up and mingle with the locals in one of these smokey bars. Do note that the eateries are really small so they’re not suitable for groups of five or more.

    Daimon Yokocho, 横丁内
    Address: 7-5, Matsukazecho, Hakodate, Hokkaido

    Burger shop Hot Box

    Maybe it was the cosy, charming wooden decor, but something about this tiny burger joint made us walk in to try the fare — and we’re glad we did. Hot Box specialises in burgers and they make them really juicy. Like most Japanese style burgers, the patties at Hot Box are not overly seasoned nor drenched in gravy so the taste of all that fresh, natural ingredients can come through. Go for the original burger, which comes with a thick beef patty and melted cheese sandwiched between two soft buns or a fancier version such as mashed potato bacon burger.

    Hamburger at Hoxbox
    Classic cheese burger at Hot Box
    Interior of hamburger joint, Hoxbox
    Interior of Burger shop Hot Box

    Burger shop Hot Box
    Address: 3-11 Matsukazecho, Hakodate 040-0035, Hokkaido
    Tel: +81 138-22-2772



    Puffer fish
    Unlike its moniker, Puffer fish is actually quite friendly and approachable. Unless you’re out to eat her lunch – or dessert — to be precise – then be prepared that she might raise her spikes at you. Good food is just one of her many likes, Puffer Fish also loves visiting new and familiar places around the world because she believes there are always new discoveries and adventures to be had. She considers herself one lucky ass to be able to put her editorial background to good use by sharing her travel and gastronomical adventures online via Gratenews. She hopes readers get as much enjoyment and insights from her pieces as she has writing them.