En Okinawa

CONTRIBUTED BY MONETTE EAMES

En outside

Just when we were about ready to give up looking for this place, we see a corner restaurant with the words “en Okinawa.”  We parked excitedly and started out of the car and practically by the time we set foot on the ground, we were greeted by a man holding a small notepad.  He welcomed us and asked if we had reservations.  I told him we did and followed him in.  (By the end of the night, I realized that the only people they would really seat that night were the people who made reservations unless they wanted to sit at the bar.  Maybe this is only true when the show “Zampa” Live Drum Performance happens.)

The first thing we see as we enter is this huge taiko drum made from a single piece of wood — a tree that was about 400 years old.  We were seated immediately and served glasses of water and a Japanese welcoming appetizer—tofu, shitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, syrupy miso, topped with wasabi.

En food 3
We opted to get everything ala carte instead of the typical sets that we usually get at Japanese restaurants.  We ordered the local Okinawan vegetable salad, grilled salmon with butter and soy, deep fried chicken with sauce, stir fried thin noodles with tuna flakes, prawns with garlic pepper sauce, and lots of rice.  As we waited for our food, the kids were allowed to play with the drums.  When the food arrived, we were dazzled.  Everything was artistically prepared and just delightfully delicious.

En food 2

En food 1

 

And when dinner was done, the show started, right at 8:30pm.  There was a thundering of drums that made my heart pound—hard!  There was an underlying beat while the other two performers had their own beats going on.  The three performers all had a chance to shine with their solos.  It was just amazing! There was a part where they drummed extremely fast, back and forth, back and forth, left to right…  just amazing.

En eisa

Then the flute played and in came the shishi-mai.  I must say, this was the best performance I have ever seen by a shishi-mai.  It went everywhere — in the main stage area, in the back-rooms, in the upper rooms — it made a point to be seen by everyone. Its acrobatics and mannerisms were so much like a dog’s or lion’s.  We learned after the show that this group has travelled all over the world sharing their gift of Taiko drumming.

En shisa

Service was exceptional, food was great, and the place a beauty.  Our family left semi-speechless.  My 4-year old kept talking about the yummy food, the drums and the lion, and even the bathrooms (which were beautiful).

When we left, we were told that the show was being moved to Sunday nights and we were given 4 coupons for free Orion beer.  We don’t drink beer, but I’m sure we’ll be back!  Make sure you RSVP a week or two in advance if you want to see the show after dinner.  We made a reservation for 7:00 for our family and that was enough time to order and not rush through dinner before the show started.


En Okinawa

Hours: Lunch 12 pm-3 pm (last order 2:30),  Dinner 6 pm-midnight (last order 11:30), “Zampa” Live Drum Performance – Sundays 8:30 PM

Telephone:  098-941-7588

Address:  1 Chome-20-9 Uenoya, Naha

GPS Coordinates: 26.2296411, 127.68660479999994

Website: www.en-okinawa.com

13 COMMENTS

  1. I went to this place expecting it to be great because of all the hype on this website but was extremely disappointed. We sat down and they brought out a tray of food for us to select from so we grabbed 2 things because we thought it was an appetizer. Nope, each thing we took (about the size of a cookie) cost ¥500. So, thats ¥1000 right there.

    Then I ordered a shrimp dish but they brought out the wrong dish. When I said it was wrong, they went away and came back 30 seconds later with the same exact dish with the shrimp rearranged in a different way. The shrimp were deep fried and I ordered a completely different dish.

    After I told them it was the same dish, they told me that they didnt have the dish on the menu. So they basically tried to fool me into eating the same dish they brought out the first time. So I ordered something completely different.

    Then they charged me for that dish plus what I ordered after that and refused to remove the charge for the dish they didnt have and that I sent back.

    The food was terrible on top of it. My bill for me and my wife ended up to be over ¥6000 for 2 meals and 2 sodas.

    What a joke…I wouldnt recommend this place to anyone. One of my friends had a similar experience.

  2. Go out Gate 1 onto 58 and head south into Naha. Follow the directions previously posted in the comments and original post. En is also marked on the Oki Hai map. It is tucked way in the back corner of the little shopping center it is in, so it is a little difficult to see from right where you need to turn. Look for the “Agre” building and turn at that light into the little plaza’s parking lot.

  3. Thanks for the directions! We had a great time. The food was a bit “fancy” for my kids but the adults loved it. We also loved the show and audience participation. Great place to take visitors.

  4. directions:
    Pass foster on 58 and continue about 10k. You will pass a lexus dealership and impressions. It is on your left in a corner. It is right off 58. No turns

  5. I’ve heard of this place before and am dying to try it. I always assume restaurants only take yen (and thereby avoid the foreign currency fees of credit cards), about how much yen should I make sure to have on hand for what sounds like an amazing dinner and show for 2 adults?

  6. Hey Diana – check the map (green button near the top of the page) – I used En’s website to place a pinpoint on the Oki Hai map. It is down near the Shintoshin Area in Naha.

  7. I just made reservations for Sunday and the show is now at 7:30 pm. They also have a happy hour from 6-8 that night.

  8. I called to make reservations, but was told to call back later when someone who spoke English could take my call.

  9. This sounds great. Did you call to make reservations or did you fill out the form on the web site? Did they speak English when you made the reservations? Thanks!

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