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Izakaya En: More than eating, drinking place

Date Posted: 2009-11-12

‘En’ emulates a celebration of life, a gathering place and fate, all in perfect harmony.

That’s the philosophy behind Izakaya En, a lively nightspot in Naha City’s Omoromachi District, where the Hong Kong-based owners say they’re “committed to providing a gastronomical experience with good food, drinks and service with a personal touch.” En Group formed in 2000, and opened its Okinawa location in 2008, sticking with its theme of “incorporating a space with an intricate design concept, a relaxed atmosphere and music that will bring your senses to a whole new level” while enjoying the best of Japanese and Okinawan foods.”

Okinawa food culture is high on En’s list of attributes incorporated into each of its Asia locations, which started with a single Izakaya in Singapore, then spread to Hong Kong, Jakarta in 2004 and Shanghai only a year ago. The group employs 270 people at its 15 restaurants, led by a team of Hong Kong and Japanese directors.

En has a luncheon menu at its Omoromachi location, and an even more expansive evening cuisine. Lunch is served noon to 3 p.m., while dinner is available 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Teishoku, or set meals, are available from the bilingual menu. Nomihodai, all you can drink, features beers, awamori, cocktails, chu-hai and soft drinks for ¥1,580. En even has live Okinawan shows on Saturdays.

Prices are more than reasonable at En. A sampling of the menu entrees shows Deep Fried Okinawa Red Fish Set or Grilled Cod Set for ¥1,280, Grilled Salty Mackerel Set for ¥1,150, Creamy Japanese Yam and Ox Tongue Set for ¥980, Okinawa Soba Noodles topped with Pork Set ¥980, Sushi with Mixed Japanese Dishes ¥1,500, and a Set featuring sushi rice topped with sashimi for ¥1,500.

Stir Fried Tofu with Pork and Vegetables and a Stir Fried Bitter Melon with Pork Set go for ¥780 each. Stir Fried Pork in Soy and Ginger Sauce is ¥980, Deep Fried Pork Cutlet Set is ¥1,150, a Pork Cutlet is ¥1,280 and a Beef Teriyaki St is ¥1,380.There is also an Assorted Tempura Course, a Grilled Eel Course, and Sashimi with Stewed Dish Course.

The Okinawa En manager says “through our efforts, we aim to share with the world our ideal, dedication and zest for food and the cultures of Japan and Okinawa.”

The Izakaya is located on the first floor of Fujiya Building in Ameku, Naha City. To get there go south on Hwy 58 until you reach the blue Ekka Hotel Building on your right. Turn left at the traffic light right after the hotel towards Shioshin area. The Fujiya Building is immediately on your right, but to reach it by car you have to drive couple of blocks towards Shintoshin in order to make a U-turn and come back towards Hwy 58. Their telephone number is 098-941-7588.

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