Akanoya Robatayaki Japanese Restaurant
Totally Unique Japanese Style Dining in Bangkok
Following on from the success of sushi trains, izakayas and teppanyaki, the latest Japanese dining concept to hit Thailand is ‘robata’ – and Akanoya Robatayaki is the first and only place in Bangkok to try this unforgettable restaurant experience.
Robata is a Japanese style of dining that is unlike anything you have ever seen before (unless you’re Japanese, that is). In a robata, diners sit around a large U-shaped counter overflowing with gourmet seafood, meat and vegetables, and have their selections grilled by chefs who sit surrounded by the food on offer that day. When your food is ready it is delivered to your seat on a long, wooden oar to recreate a fisherman’s tavern atmosphere.
The setting of Akanoya Robatayaki alone is worth a visit, as every element of the restaurant is distinctly Japanese, from the traditional uniform of the staff, the “Irashi ma Sen” welcome and even the Japanese language wooden signs placed next to the fresh ingredients. Trilingual staff are on hand to explain the dining concept and suggest things to try; your order is then shouted out to the chef who replies with a loud “Hai!” after each dish.
Akanoya Robatayaki is a lot of fun but there are several important points to consider before deciding if this dining experience is for you:
Firstly, there is absolutely no menu, and no prices on anything. Akanoya Robatayaki state that all of their produce is fresh, seasonal and mostly imported from Japan, so their selection can change without notice. The staff will tell you the cost of items individually when asked, but if you are feeling flush, simply order a selection of Alaskan king crab legs (starting at 2,000 baht), legendary kinki fish (1,800 – 2,500 baht) and fillet of wagyu beef (990 baht). Top it off with a variety of premium Japanese vegetables like asparagus (180 baht for two storks). Also, after dinner there is a delicious, but mandatory, melon and tea set brought with your bill that costs 240 baht per person, whether you eat it or not.
At these prices, it’s not surprising that the taste of each dish is a heavenly experience and there are plenty of other options for diners to enjoy, such as chicken or pork skewers ranging from 120 to 300 baht, and crab fried rice for 350 baht. A range of three dipping sauces are brought to each customer featuring creamy sesame, soy and light chilli flavours but you are encouraged to first sample the ingredients without sauce to appreciate the taste.
Kinki fish (rock fish) is considered a delicacy in Japan for their succulent and fatty white flesh. Their bright red skin turns orange when grilled and is only slightly flavoured with a little salt. It’s quite tricky to eat but with one taste you will understand why so many people persist picking every piece from the bone. Likewise, the Alaskan crab is perhaps more famous as a top-end delicacy on the tables of the rich and famous around the world. The chef prepares them by snapping the thick legs and cracking the shell with a special knife to offer the guest the ultimate in convenience.
The drinks menu ranges a few beers (I went for an Asahi, naturally), juices and then a monstrous number of sochu and sake options that must rank among the best in Bangkok and are available by the glass or bottle, with some real top-end labels for the connoisseurs. The restaurant has two grilling stations, which can seat 19 diners each and on weekends booking is imperative as foodies, celebrities and homesick Japanese salary men flock to Akanoya Robatayaki from far and wide. On weekdays it is usually a little less busy, although the constant shouting of orders and welcomes and farewells always keep the atmosphere lively and fun. Akanoya Robatayaki Bangkok is located on Sukhumvit Soi 49, in the Piman 49 shopping complex, surrounded by other restaurants, bars and shops catering to the Japanese expat market.
This kind of food experience isn’t for everyone and those on a budget should probably go elsewhere but if you want a memorable and totally unique gourmet dining experience in Bangkok, come to Akanoya Robatayaki – it something you will be talking about for weeks!
- Opening Hours: 18:00 – 24:00
- BTS: Phrom Phong/Thong Lor
- Address: 46/10 Sukhumvit Soi 49, Bangkok
- Tel: +66 (0) 2662 4237 (reservations recommended)