Toride

CONTRIBUTED BY JOY BARNES

Toride Outside view

Located within walking distance from Courtney and McT, I’m always surprised by how few people have tried one of my favorite restaurants here on Okinawa – Toride (pronounced Tori-day).  It is a not so “hidden gem” that seems to be overlooked by many Americans searching for great Japanese food.

I would classify Toride as an izakaya – a relaxing atmosphere to have a few drinks and order a bunch of small dishes to share with your dining partners.  I always think of izakayas as the Japanese equivalent to a Spanish Tapas bar.  And when I say “a bunch of dishes” I’m not joking.  Toride’s menu has around 80 items to choose from – everything from sushi to potato pizza to fried chicken skin.  In a previous menu translation the fried chicken skin was called “fried cock skin” – not the most appetizing menu selection to us Americans!

Toride Food
As is the tradition at an izakaya, when you first sit down you are served a small appetizer – at Toride this is typically a few bites of a relish, fish or cold noodle dish.  It is customary at most izakayas to include a small cover charge, that is added to your bill, for this small dish.  At Toride this is Y300 per adult and no charge for children.

I’ve had more items on their menu than I like to admit but I certainly have my favorites.  The gyoza in spicy soup has the perfect blend of soy and vinegar flavor with a red pepper kick at the end; the sauteed asparagus is tender and juicy and the fried camembert cheese is served with a sweet raspberry sauce.

Of the large selection of yakatori, the wasabi chicken is my favorite.  This menu item is not for the faint of taste buds though.  You have to be a serious lover of spicy foods to enjoy the intense flavor that seems to shoot straight up your sinuses – but in a good way!

Toride Chicken Yakatori with wasabi
There are two items on the menu served in the “hot bowl” – the chicken with cheese and tomatoes and the kimchi pork.  They are both served over rice in a steaming stone bowl.  When the waiter brings the hot bowl to your table he mixes the dish in front of you, melding all the delightful flavors together.  For the chicken and cheese bowl, as the dish sits for a while, the cheese gets gooey and sticky and is absolutely delicious!  Both are excellent choices and offer a heartier alternative to the small dishes.

Toride Cooking
No meal at Toride can be complete without the beni-imo sticks for dessert.  The traditional Okinawan purple sweet potato is mashed, wrapped in wanton paper and fried.  It’s served with a small dish of cinnamon sugar which makes it impossible not to double-dip.

Toride Beni Imo sticks
The industrial decor of Toride, complete with plywood tables and rebar, is modern and funky.  Each table is set up in it’s own private alcove so it makes Toride the kind of restaurant that can work great for either an intimate date night or for a fun outing with a large group of friends.

Toride Family dining
We’ve brought our kids many times but I’m not sure I would classify this as a family restaurant.  The after-work crowd can get a bit loud late in the evenings and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a highchair.  That being said, with the private seating, I’ve never worried that our fidgeting four year old or fussy baby would bother other diners.  So, whoever your dining crowd may include, you should definitely take the time to try out the great dishes at Toride.  Overlook this great place no more!

Toride Decor


Toride

Payment:  This restaurant takes Yen only but has a new stamp card.

Hours:  Open everyday, for dinner only, from 5p.m. until 1a.m.

Address: 4 Chome-19-5 Midorimachi, Uruma

Google Maps Coordinates: 26.374796170637303, 127.8559044020734

Directions:  Toride is locatedon Route 8, just 2 blocks east of the Rt. 8 and Rt. 75 intersection.  If you’re coming from the McT area, take a right out of the gate and follow on Rt. 8, pass the 75 intersection and Toride will be on the left side of the road.  From Courtney, take a left on to 75 from the Main Gate, then take a left onto Rt. 8 and Toride will be on the left side of the road.

16 COMMENTS

  1. Ashley, your loss. It really is good, and on busy weekends it will be reservation only. On weeknights you would be able to get in with little problem.

  2. Last night 2/19/2011 We decided to try this place. Walking up to the restaurant we were excited to see many open tables through the windows. The hostess told us there were no tables available and that it was reservation only. However, seeing many open tables just makes me think its one of those places that do not really like Americans. I looked in the parking lot and there were 0 Y plate cars. I will not be going back.

  3. My family and I ate there for dinner last night. The atmosphere was wonderful, laid back, and a real treat. Our 5 yr old daughter loved it as well (especially the beni imo ice cream!) The food was DELICIOUS! Everything from the sushi and seafood salad, to the gyoza and chicken and wasabi and finally ending with the beni imo sticks. I strongly recommend this place to anyone who is not afraid to immerse themselves in the Okinawa Culture. We cannot thank you enough for the wonderful day Phil and Jenn!

  4. Sam – I agree wtih Paul. I have never been turned away from an off-base restaurant so this is not a common practice. Most restaurants do not require reservations especially if you arrive right when they open. We arrive early and we never have problems getting in. I did find out, this year, that Sam’s By the Sea near Awase doesn’t even take reservations on Christmas Eve. We arrived at 6 p.m. and we waited less than 5 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised! Try Toride again, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And, come back and post what you thought!!!

  5. Sam, you probably needed a reservation because this time of year is huge for Japanese. They often hold their bonenkai parties this time of year and if you walk into most izakayas without reservations you would definitely be turned away. Sorry it happened, but wait another week or two then go back, just bad timing.

  6. After reading this, I was really excited, but a couple nights age my family and I walked in and were asked if we had a reservation, when we said no, we were rushed out the door. We probably won’t rush back, even though it looks like a great place.

  7. Our family ate there last week and again the next weekend. We loved it. The food was outstaning. Our family of five ate for $42 and that was including the two beers my husband had.

  8. Do they have many vegetarian items and is there possibly an employee who would understand me making a request like that to be sure I wasn’t served meat?

  9. I’m glad to hear you tried it and like it. Excellent! As for the food being too spicy… don’t let that intimidate you. There are many mild choices on the menu in addition to the spicy ones I highlighted. And as for how many dishes to order… I would recommend 2-3 per person, but the great thing about an izakaya is that you can linger, have another drink, and order more if you’re still hungry!

  10. My husband realized this place was right up the road from our house, so we checked it out last minute. Awesome place! We ordered a bottle of Awamore, roasted garlic clove appetizer, a hot bowl dish, chicken on a stick garnished with Ume, & the Beni-imo for dessert (Mmmmmm). Everything was delicious (not spicy at all) & items on the menu ranged from ¥3-8 a piece.
    While we were dining the manager/owner walked by & bowed many times showing gratitude that we ventured there to dine! We will definitely go back – thanks for the suggestion!!

  11. ‘Izakaya bars are for adults only.’

    Not at all. They usually open at 4 or 5 pm and Izakaya’s are great places for a family meal, especially if you aren’t set on eating one particular type of food.

  12. We’ve been there with kids as well. They even have children’s cups and bowls. The food is excellent; especially the beni-imo sticks for dessert!!

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