CONTRIBUTED BY LEAH MAGID/PHOTOS BY MOTOYUKI NISIMURA, JEFF MAGID, LEAH MAGID
When we first moved down to the Araha Beach area from out in the country by the bull farms, we were a little wary of the “beach bar” community. We hadn’t really ventured off the main “beach street” much, and one night walked into Daisy’s Café and decided to have a beer while we thought about where to eat. The night crowd started to seep in, so we left and had some soba down the street.
A few weeks later, we happened by Daisy’s a little earlier in the day. The menu looked like standard beach fare, and we contemplated burgers, a variety of taco rice concoctions, salads, chicken and fish before settling on a tuna sandwich with some fries.
The Orion was cold, the sandwiches were fresh and tasty and the fries were great. We figured we would head back now and again and try different things on the menu.
Fast-forward to a year later…Daisy’s Café is somewhere that we eat at least once a week. The place has been renewed with fresh paint here and there, updated décor and some additional menu items.
There are only a few dishes we haven’t tried, and we really like almost everything. It’s not just convenient, and it’s not one of those “I’m starving, it’s close and it’ll do” kind of menus.
The chicken Caesar salad is our stand-by meal. Whether it’s with a glass-bottle soda, a cold Orion or water, it is filling and perfectly dressed. The fish and chips are light and fresh and the fillet is enormous. The karaage (fried chicken) is great, not too heavily salted or greasy and goes beautifully with the green salad.
The tom yum is something that I literally dreamed about just the other day – filled with great seafood, it packs a flavor punch that can’t be beat.
I need to tell you about the rice dishes. There are taco rice, vegetarian taco rice, kamakura rice, passion rice (spicy), energy rice (like a fajita on rice plus egg) and the king of them all, Jazzmine’s Rice. Jazzmine’s Rice is the signature dish. It’s a spiced meat and egg on rice mélange of flavors and textures. Straight up, I have seen grown people who are not drinking, licking the wooden dish. They were not ashamed, either.
There is gumbo, there is teriyaki chicken and there are burgers (best in town in my opinion) and hot dogs. Fries, onion rings, veggie sticks and mixed nuts round out the snack menu. Sometimes there are desserts such as “rare cheesecake” and there is always soft-serve ice cream.
They have Orion on tap, and a number of bottled beers including Guinness. There are cocktails, shots and wines as well, and a respectable selection of awamori. For the designated drivers, kids and non-drinkers, there are freshly squeezed fruit juices, sodas, fruit smoothies and shakes, water, sanpincha (jasmine tea), coffee and coffee drinks.
Everything is made to order by a great staff who give their all. They grow their own rosemary and basil, and they don’t serve food that doesn’t look and taste great.
This is a pet-friendly establishment and they will bring your dog a dish of water when you get your glasses of water and menus. There are even leash hooks and now and again the manager’s dog, Bounce, will be in the house.
The true star of Daisy’s Café is the view. It’s a close-to-the-beach view from just about everywhere, inside and outside.
At night it does get a little more of a lively crowd. It is a popular spot for many people – young and old, singles, couples, families and groups of people, Okinawan, American and Japanese tourists. They have hookah as well, and do allow cigarette smoking though most smokers are considerate enough to locate themselves away from people who are trying to eat.
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m., Saturday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Payment: Yen, US Dollars, and credit cards (add 6% for credit card charges). To go is OK! An average meal with two beers runs under $20 person.
Who: Dog friendly. Kid friendly (most of the time – use your judgment).
Address: 2-20-5 中頭郡北谷町, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0116
Directions: Daisy’s Café is just north of Araha Beach’s basketball courts. There is a small wooden sign on the beach road near the AU.