Most come to Niseko for the snow, but all come to Japan for the local cuisine. Niseko has some of the best.
Torimatsu. Some of the best yakitori and kushiyaki anywhere. Visited and filmed by the late Anthony Bourdain in February 2011 for his No Reservations television show. ¥¥
Usagiya. Close runner up for some of the best soba and tempura you will find anywhere. Great standards: cold soba noodles with shrimp and vegetable tempura; Adventurous delicacies: mountain vegetable tempura (spring and summer only). ¥
Sato Sushi. The best sushi on the Kutchan side of the mountain in a delightfully classic sushi shop setting. All items are from the local seas and shockingly fresh, changing with each season. ¥¥
Yotei Maru. Also great sushi with a little more fun in Niseko's only conveyor-belt style sushi shop. Freshly prepared sushi dishes pass before your eyes and let you choose at your own pace and desires. The salmon is always phenomenal. ¥
Nakama Ramen. Where the locals go after a hard day of shoveling snow. The menu is huge, and this is a great place to go if you need to replace a full day's worth of calories burned on the slopes. ¥
Itsuki. Yakiniku (Korean barbecue) restaurant with all the trimmings. Beef, pork and vegetables cooked (yourself) over an open flame. ¥¥
Soga. Same as the above. Both are popular and occasionally difficult to get bookings, so it is great to have a couple of options. ¥¥
Daiichi Kaikan. The low-key Daiichi Kaikan is a local's secret cache of excellent Japanese fair, from hand-made udon dishes, to sushi, tempura and their signature tonkatsu mille-feuille set, about as juicy as pork cutlet can become. ¥
Bang Bang Cafe. One of the most popular restaurants at the resort for years now, Bang Bang's izakaya menu has required reservations often months in advance during peak seasons. Yakitori and cooked dishes are all spectacular. ¥¥
Niseko Ramen. Warm, rich and inexpensive, Niseko Ramen delivers Japan's mania for Chinese-style noodles and dumplings with the friendliest flair. ¥
Abucha 2. Classic Hokkaido dishes meet modern architecture in this restaurant located on the first floor of the Suiboku condominium block. In winter, the "hokke" (Northern Mackerel) is a must. ¥¥
Yukitei Niseko. Simple, stylish and tasty. Yukitei Niseko is a new addition to the dining selections in 2016 and their traditional Japanese dishes, from deep-fried tofu in broth (agedashi-dofu) to super-fresh sashimi and various hotpots are reliable pleasers. Their fusion Camembert-tempura is remarkably delicious, if not a bit decadent. ¥¥
Gokoro. In the Japanese pantheon of noodles, udon does not usually carry the honors steeped upon expertly prepared buckwheat soba noodles (see below), but Gokoro handmakes the thicker straight wheat udon noodles as good as it gets. Set in a building directly in the shadow of Mt. Yotei, Gokoro is a great way to enjoy a lighter, delicious set of traditional dishes. Open for lunch only. ¥¥
Rakuichi. Perhaps the best soba in Japan and, thus, the world. Annupuri's famous spring water combines with locally grown soba flour and the chef Rai-san's famous handiwork (performed in front of your eyes) to deliver the freshest and perfectly textured noodles. The evening kaiseki course changes weekly and uses the freshest ingredients. Dinner is probably the best quality for value you will find in Japan and always memorable. ¥¥¥
Sushi Shin. Niseko's entrant into the world of the most exquisite form of the art of sushi presentation. Under the tutelage of Chef Miyagawa, a Michelin 3-star sushi chef with an eponymous restaurant in Sapporo and highly regarded branches in Hong Kong and at the Four Seasons Kyoto, Sushi Shin delivers not only incredibly delicate flavors from the most carefully curated sea life, but also a presentation of purity of materials on which the meals are served. ¥¥¥¥
Karabina. Hand-built izakaya run by the son of Rakuichi's soba master. Great food in a very relaxed atmosphere and a large selection of sake. Perhaps the best stewed pork belly you will find anywhere. ¥¥
Being in Japan does not mean that it all has to be about sushi and soba. The same great produce which yields amazing local cuisine also delights Western creations.
Asperges. Chef Hiroshi Nakamichi is the genius behind Maccarina on the other side of Mt. Yotei and brings the concept from his restaurant in northern Biei for exceptional lunches and dinners just across from the entrance to Hanazono 308. ¥¥¥¥¥.
Somoza. An inspired project by the creator of the Sekka brand opened in July 2017, Somoza is set in a 150 year old traditional Japanese farmhouse imported from Tochigi Prefecture set in the Hanazono hills above a dramatic gorge. The Japanese chef prepares a delicately balanced meal with Italian inspiration using fresh local ingredients in one of the most inspired settings at the resort. Lunch is ¥4,500 - ¥6,000, while dinner at the Chef's Table is from ¥20,000. ¥¥¥¥¥
B.C.C. White Rock Bakery. A popular bakery where fresh baguettes are produced daily and wood-fired pizzas are made to order. A good spot for a cappuccino or a latte, too.
Sekka Lab. Sekka's magnificent pairing of design and gourmet cuisine took a defunct sports store and turned it into a magnificent dining space to further progress Kutchan's main street selection. The same chef who brings a 5-star experience to the Chef's Table at Somoza inspires a delicious a la carte menue at local prices in a space brought to life by Shouya Grigg's indefatiguable vision. ¥¥¥
Kamimura. The eponymous Chef Kamimura trained with Sydney's world famous Tetsuya and delivers French-style course menus using local and seasonal ingredients. We do not think the rating in one publication as the best ski resort restaurant on the planet is an exaggeration, nor did the Michelin star granters when they bestowed a coveted star on this excellent eatery in 2012. Well-worth the price. ¥¥¥¥¥
Rosso Rosso. If you are in the mood for a great steak, this is the place to go. Excellent cuts both from Australia and Japan with a healthy selection of matched wines. ¥¥¥¥
The Barn. One of the most physically appealing restaurants in the resort area, The Barn has been a favorite bar hangout and deliverer of solid French country bistro cuisine for the past few years. A new chef and floor team will be in place this winter, so we can not predict yet what will come out of the kitchen, but we do know the French owner's perfectionist tendencies leaves the presumption that it will be worth the visit. ¥¥¥
The Alplinist. The producers of The Barn followed up with a fondue and raclette restaurant in the iconic Odin Building at Hirafu crossing. The authentic cuisine will transport diners to the towering European mountains where recreational snow sports took hold and as long as you do not look out the picture windows at all the snow, it will feel like you are in an Alpine bistro. ¥¥¥
Ezo Seafoods. A local institution in extremely high demand and tough to get a seat. Great local seafood served with the passion of its dedicated proprietor, the restaurant brings fisherman's shack charm to the serious dining scene of Niseko. ¥¥¥
L'Ocanda. We would say that there are too many Italian restaurants around if they were not all so good. L'Ocanda is the latest addition in an intimate setting. The 4-table trattoria prepares country style dishes tastefully and delicately with a rotating menu. ¥¥¥
Lupicia. Well known tea purveyor opened its Niseko shop in 2010 and picked a location that provides a movie-screen view of Mt. Yotei in a crisp wood-and-glass structure. Expertly prepared dishes are matched with the finest Asian and European teas. The restaurant also carries a distinguished list of wines. ¥¥¥¥
JoJos Cafe. Pub food basics. Eminently satisfying burgers, salads, soups and pilafs and very fresh herb bread are favorites. Watch or try the climbing wall which runs from the gear shop downstairs and to the restaurant ceiling. ¥
Del Sole. Hand thrown wood-fired brick oven pizza which is arguably one of the best in Japan. The pizza master lived in Napoli for close to 2 years to perfect his craft, which uses fresh local ingredients to achieve his premium flavor. ¥¥
Saison Club. Rustic ranch house with surprisingly good hand made pasta.¥
asian (non-japan) cuisine
Niseko proves itself as a truly regional destination with a strong range of Asian cuisines from which to choose.
Tomone Po-Cha. Authentic Korean cuisine in an authentic atmosphere in downtown Kutchan. Watch the walk up and down the steep staircase to the second floor entrance, particularly if you have had a fair share of JINRO during your meal. The spicy chige-nabe is one of the warmest things you can eat this winter. ¥¥.
Xie Xie. Well executed Szechuan and other Chinese styles at this very local Chinese restaurant by K's Denki on Route 5. Substantial portions at a cheap price, particularly with the ma-po tofu set. Closes early. ¥¥
Kado China Table. The dishes will be barely recognizable to natives of the PRC, Taiwan or the greater Chinese diaspora, but Chef Kado takes local produce and puts his own Kutchan touch on dishes with distinctly Chinese flavorings and accents. Directly in the center of Kutchan's dining district, this restaurant is a cozy local diversion perfect for families and larger groups who want to fill up a table with a variety of dishes. ¥¥
Tuk-Tuk. Tiny and tasty Thai bar just up the street from Ezo Seafoods, Tuk-Tuk delivers great Thai dishes from a dedicated enthusiast. The restaurant has only about 8 seats, so make sure to call ahead and book. ¥¥
Bombay Sizzlers. Delicious Indian cuisine in a stylish dining room in the heart of Hirafu. ¥¥