Poco a Poco

The branch of this restaurant in Mihama – American Village – closed in early 2015, but there are several other locations around Okinawa. The review below includes directions for a branch in Okinawa City, but was regarding a now-closed location.

CONTRIBUTED BY SARAH FORTE

Poca outside

I am a modified grazer. Yes, I made that term up, but hear me out. A grazer, by one definition, is one who eats small portions throughout the day. But I’m a modified grazer. I can eat large portions in one sitting, but prefer my portions to be varied. Buffets and I get along nicely because I can try lots of little portions of many different things. In Japan there is another style of restaurant that fits this billing: The izakaya. The name “izakaya” is a compound word consisting of “i” (to sit) and “sakaya” (sake shop). For me, the sake is optional, but I’ve come to appreciate the varied, small portions of food that are meant to be shared.

My husband and I recently ventured inside an izakaya that we have driven past innumerable times: Poco a Poco. In Spanish “Poco a Poco” means “bit by bit” or “little by little.” Pretty fitting! The byline for Poco a Poco is “Relax Dining.” We found the atmosphere to be quite relaxed. There were three kinds of seating: booths blocked off from other booths with tall curtains, bamboo couches around a table also with dividing curtains, and tatami seating. No matter where you sat, you had your own sanctuary blocked from view by other guests.

Poca Spring Rolls

In izakaya fashion, the menu was large and full of pictures. The waitress quickly brought an English menu after seating us. Our food order included tuna and avocado spring rolls, salmon and avocado marinade, a meat and cheese plate, clam and anchovy pasta, sliced beef in an orange pepper sauce and a chocolate brandy tart. Everything was tasty and beautifully presented! The beef was extra spicy and had a real kick! I’m not sure if I could taste the orange, but the pepper part of the sauce sure came through! We didn’t know when we ordered that the dessert came flambé. The couple in the next booth and their waitress gave a surprised yelp when their tart went up in a little more flame than anticipated!

Poca Beef

Poco a Poco does follow the izakaya custom of serving an otōshi or tsukidashi. These are the tiny individual appetizers that come without ordering. You will see a small charge on your final receipt. In our case we were served a small ball of tuna and spinach on a saltine atop a tiny bed of salad. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time we go it’s something different.

Poca Pasta

The only two disappointments of the night were the smokiness and an ordering glitch. Despite the tall ceilings we caught a whiff of cigarette smoke upon entering.  It didn’t bother us throughout the meal, though we could definitely smell it on our clothes when we left. It also seemed that the English menu was slightly outdated regarding food availability, not prices. We didn’t notice until the dessert I ordered had been discontinued.

The price did not disappoint! We didn’t realize it when we decided on Poco a Poco for the night, but most of their food menu items are half price from 1800 until 1930! We had come at just the right time! Drinks, sushi and sashimi were full price. After 1930 there is one half price menu item each day: Monday-sushi, Tuesday-glass of wine, Wednesday-sashimi, Thursday-an awamori bottle, Friday-Danish with vanilla ice-cream, Saturday-original pizza, and Sunday-Teriyaki chicken.

If you’re looking for a new izakaya where you can have your food “little by little” or if you’re in the mood for some awesome peppery sliced beef, you might want to try Poco a Poco!


Poco a Poco Okinawa City Branch

Hours:  Open from 1800 until 0300 every night.

Phone: 098-989-8980.  They do take reservations, although the night we visited there was no need. The tatami mat seating can hold larger groups and that might require a reservation.

Payment:  This izakaya accepts Yen and credit cards.

Address: 7-5-18 Hiyagon, Okinawa City

Google Maps Coordinates: 26.3212279, 127.80930549999994

11 COMMENTS

  1. They do not split checks! Just to let everyone know so I would highly advise taking yen instead of useing “cardo” place does rock though foods excellent!

  2. The one in Urasoe is about 2 minutes outside of Kinser at 251 and 38. Best directions to get there are to go out the Typhoon Motors gate and go across 58 at the light (veer slightly right when crossing. Go down to the second light, and take a left on 38. There will be a Coco’s at the bottom of the hill, and it will curve to the right as you come back up the hill to the light. Poco A Poco will be at this light, right in front of you.

  3. The one across from Lester offers Ladies night on Wednesday – all you can eat and drink for 2000 Yen. The party must be all ladies to receive the lower price.

    As far as children, my boys love this place (14, 11 & 8). They love having so many choices and getting “free” refills. Children are lower priced. We have taken large groups of families that include toddlers and it works fine. I would not expect a high chair though. If you are going with children – go early. It does become loud and crowded later in the evening with all that free drink! It is a good idea to make reservations, especially on the weekend.

  4. I’ve been there with my daughter before and didn’t find it to be kid un-friendly. I don’t remember if they had things like booster seats or high chairs (we were all sitting on the floor), but my daughter was certainly welcomed. The food was good and she just sampled off of whatever was going around (we were there with a large group). She was just over three at the time and is a good sport about trying new things. I don’t remember if they offered the usual kid faire, but she certainly didn’t go home hungry. I really dug all the small portions that everyone passed around.

    Also, for those further south, there is a location in Ginowan and another in Urasoe. I’ll try and get all three on the map. The one in Ginowan was one of the first places I ever went out to dinner here on Oki. I remember it being a bit more of a funky vibe than the one by Kadena.

  5. They have a 3,000 yen all you can eat and drink for 3 hours. The food is delicious and you order from the special menu that they have, so the meal comes to hot. ( not a buffet style)

  6. I visited a while back with a group of ladies and we just happened to go on a Tuesday night which is ladies night. Everyone pays 2800 yen and it’s all you can eat. They have a special ‘party’ menu (pictures included) for you to order off of. We just kept ordering things and shared everything. It was so much food, well worth the price. Great place for small groups. (around 10-15) and we did make reservations.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here