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Yakiniku Kitaya aims a notch above others

By: David Knickerbocker

Date Posted: 2001-12-20

A few months ago, I pledged my love to beef and the almighty “yakiniku” restaurant in a review published in this paper. Time passed, and now it was time to find another great place to eat my favorite. This time around I decided that the restaurant would be significantly different from the other yakiniku restaurants I had written about earlier.

Craving quality beef and vegetables, I headed to a restaurant called Kitaya located on Route 23 on the south side of Kadena Air Base. The quality of the meat was outstanding, and the meal left me feeling pleasantly stuffed. The all-you-can-eat menu has dozens of items to choose from, including harami, kalbi, chicken, and other yakiniku usuals, as well as bibimba, an interesting spicy dish of rice, meats and vegetables. And the difference -- the quality of the meat is absolutely a notch above average when compared to other yakiniku restaurants I visited in the past.

The chef of the restaurant says he has been working with preparing yakiniku for 37 years and could be considered a master chef. The restaurant has been open for just over two years, and the meats and vegetables are all of the highest quality. I especially enjoyed the kimchi (spiced vegetables). This red-hot kimchi was not just spicy; it was utterly delicious. Whereas some kimchi is all about spice, leaving flavor along the wayside, this kimchi was the best I’ve had in a long time. The meat was high-grade beef, tender and juicy -- flavorful! The good stuff! All beef served in this restaurant is imported from the United States. While your beef cooks, why not sip a cold glass of beer? Draft beer sells for ¥450, Orion for ¥500, and Kirin costs ¥550, but other drinks, including soft drinks and awamori, are available. All soft drinks are priced at ¥200.

A few issues back, I stated that there’s nothing like a yakiniku meal for sitting around with a few friends, discussing the day while drinking a cold beer or glass of water while your meat and veggies smolder on the grill. Kitaya is by far one of the best yakiniku restaurants I have found on Okinawa. The meal was delicious, the staff was very friendly and the atmosphere pleasant. If you haven’t yet tried a yakiniku meal, don’t pass up Kitaya.

Kitaya is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and offers all-you-can-eat yakiniku from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for ¥1,000 per adult, ¥500 for children six years and older, and ¥300 for children ages five and under. From 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., all you can eat costs ¥1,500 for adults, ¥800 for children six years and older, and ¥400 for children ages five and under.

Kitaya is located on Route 23, down the road towards Highway 58 from Gate 2 Street. Once you pass the bar-restaurant Hammer, you will see a Hot Spar convenience store. The next building down houses Kitaya. Plenty of free parking is available in front of the restaurant.

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