Authentic Japanese Dining Experience at Izakaya Kenta

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With all the countless Japanese restaurants gracing the metro, it isn’t an easy feat to stand out from the rest. Luckily, Izakaya Kenta manages to do this just fine, all with its authentic Japanese food and dining experience.

Unlike other Japanese dining establishments, Izakaya Kenta boasts of a wide range of Japanese fare that almost seems limitless with its offerings. You can find almost every kind of sashimi, sushi, maki, noodles, nimono (simmered dish) and agemono (or deep-fried Japanese cuisine) in its menu. For a first-timer, try the Nana Ten Mori — a smorgasbord of seven kinds of sashimi that are all fresh and juicy.

Try the crowd-favorite Tako Potato, as well. It’s Izakaya Kenta’s take on takoyaki, using deep-fried potato to envelop a generous amount of octopus meat instead of batter.

If you’re into chicken dishes, you won’t go wrong with the restaurant’s chicken yakitori platter that serves different parts of chicken in skewers. For a filling fare to satiate the hungriest appetite, the Unaju will certainly not disappoint with its entire tray of rice topped with glorious soft, smoked eel.

Izakaya Kenta has been capturing the hearts and palates of diners since it was established in 1997 along Pedro Gil. It closed for three years in 2010 but reopened in 2013 after ‘Doc Rey’ Medina bought its rights.

Notably, its menu offers something that most Japanese restaurants do not — the food here is as close as you can get to tasting homemade Japanese food. It’s no surprise, then, that Izakaya Kenta’s customer base is mostly comprised of Japanese folk seeking food that tastes and feels like home.

“It’s very authentic, almost like lutong bahay,” Medina proudly stated. This is all thanks to head chef Dennis Ganzon, who has accumulated more than 20 years of cooking experience both in local and internal kitchen. He’s also an original staff member of Izakaya Kenta who rejoined after it re-opened and relocated in Malate.

Aside from the authentic food, you can also experience the traditional Japanese style of eating with Izakaya Kenta’s interiors. It has tatami rooms for groups and private gatherings — all of which are accentuated with tatami mats that hail originally from Japan. Surprisingly, Izakaya Kenta’s tatami rooms are designed differently. There is a space underneath the dining table for your feet so you can avoid leg and knee numbness.

Here’s another secret why customers keep frequenting Izakaya Kenta: their service is top-notch and almost personalized. The staff here are all friendly and attentive, radiating warmth and hospitality that’s just not reflected in other restaurants. They make it a point to know the diners and memorize their orders so they can serve them well and diners can feel like they’re a priority.

Because of all of these, it’s hard not to love Izakaya Kenta. With its warm and brightly-lit facade, authentic menu, and stellar service, it’s the one Japanese restaurant you’ll keep coming back to for your Japanese cravings.

2019 Best Japanese Restaurants in Manila
  • Restaurant Rating
The Good

One of the best Japanese restaurants in the entire country at really great prices.

The Bad
Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a feature writer based in the Philippines. In addition to writing for Balikbayan Magazine, she is a news correspondent for Asian Journal News-Manila.

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