Daruma "Ugly Man" Restaurant

CONTRIBUTED BY SUZIE SMITH

As a newbie to Okinawa, I’m always looking for a new place to enjoy Japanese cuisine. Normally I’m a little shy when it comes to trying out places that no one seems to know about, but this endeavor was different. I’d seen the Daruma Restaurant several times while traveling from Kadena to Foster and it caught my interest. Funny enough it wasn’t because of the delicious food that it had advertised, but because of the “Ugly Man.”

 

One afternoon with the girls, we decided to check the place out. I was unsure of what to expect but pleasantly surprised by what we found. The set up is very similar to Arashi (the “vending machine” ramen shop). Once you walk in there is a HUGE menu with pictures for you to choose from. There dishes range from soba to curry to stir fry and even includes kid’s meals! On top of that, the meals were very inexpensive.

 

Only 780 yen for a pork cutlet on fried rice with soup and a salad and my kid’s meal was only 380 yen.

 

Once we decided on what we wanted we put our yen into the vending machine and selected our dishes. Once our tickets printed we chose our seats, traditional Japanese seating and American style are available. The waitress took our tickets and brought us a pitcher of water and cups. Then the real surprise happened. The plates they brought to us were massive! I was shocked. We paid so little (compared to most Japanese places I’ve been to) and got so much. We couldn’t finish all of it and had to take some home. Be advised: They will charge you for takeout boxes, but you can bring your own if you’d like.

 

All in all, a great find. Delicious, generous meals with all the awkwardness of ordering taken away; definitely my new go-to place, affectionately called the “Ugly Man” Restaurant.

Hours: 11:00- 23:00 – Closed Sundays

Payment: Yen Only!

Directions: From Kadena Gate 2, turn right onto the 85. At the third stoplight, the street before Gate 5, turn left (still the 85). Follow until the 5th stoplight. The restaurant is on your left. Parking is limited and a bit awkward so please be careful.


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5 Comments
  • January 10, 2017

    My family just stopped here for dinner and it was a-ma-zing. The “many pork” soba (#1) was like Thanksgiving ham in a delishious ramen form. Our son shared his chicken plate with us, which was just as delishious as ours. The portions were so big we couldn’t even finish, even though we tried very hard. My advice for first-timers is just a location for the ticket machine: go in the door and take a sharp right. Highly recommended for Okinawan food!

    Megfry88
    Reply
  • March 16, 2015

    My family lived in Okinawa for 4 years and we ate here at least once a week. I never knew the name of my dish but the vending machine number was 11A!! It’s been 6 years since I’ve been and I still remember it. We would feed a family of five for $20, it was incredible. I miss it a ton.

    Emma
    Reply
  • February 17, 2014

    Great little restaurant! A couple blocks from Plaza Houzing (Camp Butler), this is a great weekly staple. All of their Sobas are delicious and their meal sets are all tasty and quite filling. Very friendly older ladies that run Daruma; again I make it a point to eat here weekly.

    Ryan
    Reply
  • September 9, 2011

    I am so glad someone posted about this place! I live literally 2 min away from this place. I am new to the Island and have drivin past this small treasure every day… multiple times a day. Finally had the courage to go the other day and was not dissappointed by any means! the food was great… the service was great… and considering the amount of cooking going on it wasnt that hot in there either… great food for a wonderful price!

    Brandy
    Reply
  • September 8, 2011

    I was in Okinawa a few years ago and LOVED Daruma Soba. The meal-sized miso soup was one of my favorite dishes on the island. If you want fresh, cheap and delicious Okinawan food this is your place.

    Mick B
    Reply