CONTRIBUTED BY MERMEE
I love food. Being raised in a half-Greek family has given me the reflexes to offer people food, to talk about food, to cook food, and of course, to eat food! However, due to my severe shellfish allergy, eating out in Okinawa can be a bit like Russian roulette. Having only been here a month, my husband and I have been cooking our own meals or visiting our nearby HottoMotto. Our rare divergences from this course have not elicited that happy-feet dance I get with a truly delicious meal, until this past weekend.
Memorial Day finally gave us a bright, sunny day to revel in. We decided to venture out to Nanjo, to see some castle ruins and to finally explore a beach. We had not packed any food, so we figured we would just try our luck. We had taken the expressway to the Nishihara JCT exit, driven south on 506 and 507 to connect with 331; we drove up the coast from there, looping back around. At a fortuitous red light, we turned to see a café on our left.
Café Yashinamiki is on the south side of the road, on 331 in Sashiki. The parking lot is gravel, the small walkway to the sliding front door is adjacent to a small garden with beautifully blooming orchids and other flowers. There is seating both indoor and out. The inside is small, but the wood walls and the clever decorations and photos made it feel airy and not cramped. We were shown to a table by the sole staff member we encountered. She presented us with a small menu – all in Japanese and no photos! I gave her the deer-in-the-headlights look and shrugged my shoulders. She started going through the menu in broken but intelligible English; the first three offerings on the menu were a chicken dish, a fish dish, and a beef dish. They also had coffees and baked goods. We chose the fish and the beef dish; those first three offerings turned out to be part of a four-course meal that included unlimited drinks.
We were seated near the small drink station that included cold coffee, two different chilled teas, chilled water, hot coffee and tea as well as sugar and cream to mix in. The first course was a small salad that included two pieces of salmon with a mustard sauce, small garden salad with dressing, as well as a sliver of quiche. The second course was a small bowl of soup; that day’s soup was a creamy potato soup with ham, onions, and garbanzo beans. The main plate included the chosen protein source as well as a mouthful of fresh greens and some sautéed mushrooms and potatoes. You had a choice from three desserts – we chose the cheesecake and the chocolate cake. Our total bill for the two of us came to 2900 yen.
Each course was nicely plated, served efficiently, and we never felt rushed. Our waitress was very friendly, the food was delicious, and the locale is saved on my cell phone’s map – we will definitely be going again when in the area!
Directions: from the Expressway: take the Nishihara JCT exit. The exit ramp puts you onto 506 heading south. Take a left onto 240 until in converges into 329; take a left and then stay straight at the next light to continue on 331 for approximately 6 km. The café will be on your right at an intersection with a traffic light. From Camp Kinser, you can take 58 south, take a left onto 82, take a left onto 240 and follow the above directions.
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., closed Wednesday