Birdland Cafe

CONTRIBUTED BY MONETTE EAMES

Birdland Front

When one thinks of the military base houses built in Okinawa in the 1950’s, rectangular boxed shaped homes with low ceilings, typhoon proof windows, mold and dehumidifiers, and vinyl tiles would probably come to mind (yes, I’m guilty of sometimes just focusing on the negatives when living in base housing). Beautiful jazz music like the Lullaby of Birdland probably wouldn’t be drifting in and out of that picture you’re imagining.

Well, maybe it’s time we (or maybe I) start playing some jazz and just think about how blessed we are to even be in a place to call home.  In fact, why not play different versions of the Lullaby of Birdland right now and get ready for lunch, pasta and sweets, or dinner at Birdland Café just a few minutes away from Koza Music Town?

Birdland Front 2

We came across this incredible diamond in the rough while on a date night and we will definitely be regulars here.  We parked our car not expecting much, but we were more than pleasantly surprised.  From the outside, all you see is some kind of base housing from the good old days.  However, when you walk in, you feel a sense of coziness, peace, openness, and relaxation.

Birdland Inside

We were tenderly welcomed (there was something about the people that worked here—soft-spoken, gentle, benevolent) and were led to a room that could have sat about twelve comfortably. There were three other rooms. One room could have seated about ten, another, maybe twelve and the last, eight. Two of the rooms were probably the bedrooms once upon a time, as we noticed the storage space above the closet just like our house on base. We’re guessing it was a three bedroom home with a living and dining area.

Birdland Shrimp

Birdland Steak The menu is in Japanese, but our waiter explained what everything was perfectly in English.  There was the pasta section with a few types of pasta: three different sauces—tomato, cream, and olive oil.  Then there was the rice section.  For a set, it was an extra 500 Yen.  The set included a drink, small salad, and dessert.  Then there were the sweets.  We asked the waiter for his recommendations and ordered those.  We got the pasta with shrimp and mushrooms in cream sauce and the steak dish with rice.  Both were absolutely SUPERB!!!  Excellent tasting, everything was delicious, and the presentation was simply beautiful.

Birdland Inside 2 As we enjoyed our dinner, the cars passing by and the open windows with the breeze gently blowing in made us feel as if we could watch the world pass us by without having being a part of it.  It felt like we were next to the ocean and the entire experience was relaxing, peaceful and very enjoyable!  The décor of the restaurant was incredible, with character-wooden tables, soft comfortable couches, and interesting photos and memorabilia everywhere you looked.  The soft jazz music playing in the background completed the total dinner experience leaving the guests with a memory that will last a lifetime and maybe some ideas on how to redecorate base housing if we just wanted tables and chairs!

Everything we experienced here was exceptional, including the prices.  Birdland Café has been in business for eight years and the owner loves jazz and plays the saxophone.  The restaurant is named after the jazz song, Lullaby of Birdland.

Address:  7-4-3 Goya, Okinawa City, 904-0021

Directions:  From Kadena Gate #2, head straight out, pass Koza Music Town, and cross through the 330 intersection.  Once you are through the intersection, start counting the stoplights.  At stoplight #7, take a right (it will be at the bottom of the hill past the Esso Gas Station).  You’ll pass a driving range on the right, and then about 1km later, you will see the Birdland Café on the left with parking on the left and right.

Hours: Lunch– 11:30am – 3:00pm,  Pasta & Sweets– 3 – 6pm,  Dinner– 6 – 10:30pm (last order)

Phone: (098) 933-0232

Payment:  Yen


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7 Comments
  • July 13, 2013

    This quaint little cafe in a busy section of Okinawa city is exactly as I have stated: quaint. The menu, add on “sweets” and soft atmosphere reminds me of the simple mom and pop cafes you will find in the South of the U.S. The music is soft and pleasant and accompanies your meal appropriately. My wife and I enjoyed the meal, staff and atmosphere. The you original reviewer and follow comments.

    Jimmie
    Reply
  • July 7, 2013

    The prices here are reasonable, especially given the delicious taste of the food. At lunch, the prices hovered around 1200-1300 per person (which includes beverages and soup). I highly recommend this place!

    Carmen
    Reply
  • May 15, 2012

    This place sounds great but when you say open windows, does that mean there’s no airconditioning?

    Maria
    Reply
  • September 11, 2011

    What are the prices like here?

    hex
    Reply
  • July 7, 2011

    I drive past this several times a week and have never had the nerve to stop in. Now I can’t wait! Thanks for the review!

    Katie
    Reply
  • June 21, 2011

    Fantastic write-up and description! Sounds delicious!!

    Reply
  • June 20, 2011

    Thanks so much for this post! I am always looking for new, fun date night spots and this fits the bill. Can’t wait to try it!

    Megan
    Reply