Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?


Below are some websites to surf to help you research your first post lock-down celebratory dinner, or just to help you kill some time on the computer.

Oh, also, as you might find yourself doing more eating “out” on base, I’m curious to know about your favorite on-base dining establishment.  What is it?  Why do you like it?  Is it the food?  The service?  The speed?  The location.  As I’ve mentioned in the little “Who’s Hai” bio., I give top prize to the Subway at the Spot on Camp Foster.  Why?  It’s not the food.  And certainly not the atmosphere.  But I’m just constantly amazed at the efficiency of the place.  That manager has made that Subway a well oiled machine.  Never a wrong order, always fast even if there’s a line.  I must give him props.  Honorable mention goes to Charley’s in the food court, ’cause hey, they’ve got a damn fine cheesesteak going on there.  Please feel free to throw in your two cents as well.  Who knows, we may rediscover some on base dining gem.

And now for your websurfing pleasure:

The Dining Guides

Okinawa Index This is a fun site to explore.  There’s a listing of over 70 restaurants/cafes on it with phone numbers, hours, and a little descriptive blurb about most of them.  You can also search for restaurants by region on an interactive map, which I think is a pretty nifty tool.  The guide is by no means comprehensive, but a great little resource if you are tired of going to the same old places all the time.  This a wonderful website to waste your time on.  And I mean that in a good way.  Created for participants in the Okinawa’s JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching Program), it’s got all kinds of useful information for any English speaker living on the island (or Oki’s outer islands for that matter) — from info about diving, to being vegetarian in Japan, to regional guides.  The regional guide link is the one I’ve pasted above because it’s got long lists of great sounding restaurants.  Here’s an example of one:  Cinnamon Café – This place has a great atmosphere along with some of the best coffee and chocolate cake in Naha. Coffee and cake sets cost about Y900. Also, there is a good selection of artsy / fashion / culture / architecture / interior decoration type magazines, as well as a few photography books. They usually play cool music, too. See Map, 24. (That’s written by Lynn Miyahira, btw) Good chocolate cake??? Count me in.

Food Language:

Hey, so always wanted to know how to say “onion” in Japanese.  This interactive picture dictionary (click on the picture and hear how it’s said in Japanese)  through is pretty neat.
For vegetables click here
For fruit click here
And for kitchen utensils click here 


  1. Another recommendation for Platters! We eat there all the time. We like to call ahead and order then just pick up our food and bring it home to eat (my husband doesn’t like eating out at places but is happy to bring it home to eat…).
    We are not big fans of the seafood restaurant at the marina. It is fun to go there in the summer though or on a warm day and sit outside. We went with my mom one time when she came to visit and she had a lot of fun feeding the fish (since the outside deck is over the water). And yes my mom was acting like a kid and throwing everything she could for the fish to eat (FYI-the fish like bread and not cucumbers from your salad…).

  2. Another supercasual favorite that I like to take the kids to is Platters on Kadena. It’s located in the Schilling Center. Basically, you order food (10% off if you’re a Air Force card holder), then pick it up when your number is called. The kids enjoy the chicken strips w/waffle fries and I’ve been pretty happy with everything that I’ve ordered so far. Steak-cheese sandwich, yakitori noodles, beef stirfry, etc. It’s a 1950’s-themed restaurant, so there’s a big jukebox there as well as non-functional mini-jukeboxes at each booth that the kids like to fiddle with. Also, we love having dessert there too b/c TCBY is right there in the same room.

  3. I have to add on here a new family favorite resturant. Chili’s too located at the USO building on Kadena near gate 2. It has an even more casual atmosphere than the regular Chili’s. You go to the counter and order your food and get a number. You pick a table and put your number on a stand for the staff to see. As you food is ready the staff bring it too your table. The menu is similar to the regular Chili’s but limited and they have breakfast. We have been two times and the places has only been half full both times. It is great with my 3 kids because it is fast and no waiting. This place is now high on our list of family favorites on base.

  4. The seafood restaurant is decent. I have had better but I have paid more too…so I guess it is subjective. I usually have the stuffed flounder or some kind of grilled fish…their garlic mashed potatoes are pretty good too.

    I’ll have to try Nap’s, just moved from the south…have been missing the pulled pork we had there. Also after all the raves, I will have to give the Tee House a whirl….maybe hit some balls after or something. Thanks for the ideas.

  5. Kadena O’Club is great – particularly the Sunday brunch (though I guarantee it’ll be nuts this weekend) – a great bargain for lots of great food (GO HUNGRY!).

    Teppanyaki at Jack’s isn’t bad, I agree- so is that seafood joint at Kadena Marina good??

  6. The only place that I’ve had really good food at onbase is the Mac. grill. It’s consistent good. I tried Naps when it first opened (it’s the only place to eat on the base we live) and the food was horrible. The meat was super salty and the cole slaw was rancid. They must be doing something right though now because I always hear people talking about how great it is. I’ll have to see if I can convince my husband to give it another shot:)! I’ve been craving BBQ and was going to go hit one of the spots already reviewed on here this weekend:( I suppose that will have to wait though. Oh and has anyone eaten at the Kadena O Club? I wonder if that place is any good?

  7. Okay, well, first I’ll admit I haven’t been to too many places on-base (or off, for that matter) in the couple months I’ve been here. I’m not very adventurous in the world of food (I’m somewhat picky and don’t like being hungry after a meal). But so far…

    My fave on-base establishment is T-Bones, located in the Rocker on Kadena. Service is always outstanding, [menu, not buffet] food has been perfect every time, and they kindly separate adult-only groups from the families. Beware of the cornbread surprise muffins though. Not in a bad way, not at all (we love them every time). Just don’t be surprised if you don’t actually get cornbread. Of the last 4 times, we’ve gotten cornbread twice, sugar cookie muffins (I swear that’s what they were!! no cornmeal at all) once, and a mixture of the two the last time (smelled like movie popcorn, tasted like cornmeal cookies). Weird, but good… and fun to guess what’s in the basket.

    For more of the fast-food type: Captain D’s on Foster. Hands down. We’d get fat off that stuff if we lived on Foster, and hubby isn’t one for fast food.

  8. One more vote for the tee house. Also wanted to mention that I just figured out breakfast platters there rock! The breakfast special is pancakes, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, and coffee for like 4 bucks. Also (SOMEONE needs to do a post on this) NAP’s is a southern BBQ place on camp shields (by Chibana and kadena gate 3) and it’s really really good. Esp. the burgers and pulled pork sandwiches.

  9. Personally, I think the Butler Officers’ Club on Plaza does a wonderful Mongolian Dinner on Weds. They also do the best Sunday Brunch. Plus, I like eating there because they have a nursing station in the lady’s bathroom which makes it convenient if my baby gets hungry…

  10. I haven’t had Mike’s since we were here last time..but I remember it being decent. Don’t forget too that there is the Seaside Restaurant at Kadena Marina…I am pretty sure it is open even though they are doing work on the Marina itself. The view from their deck is nice as well.

  11. I won’t even get into how stupid I think this entire lock down thing is (good thing I at least live off base), but I do enjoy the Grilled Steak Salad at Charley’s if I am forced to eat on base (usually because I am shopping or something through the lunch hour). It something you can eat in a food court that won’t kill your diet and is filling too.

    I am glad to hear that Cafe Casa opened back up…I was afraid they would be closed for a while after the owners sold. We love their coffee…not nearly as bitter as Starbucks…I wonder if it will taste the same with the new owners…can’t wait to find out.

  12. This comment wont help anyone right now persay but my family’s very favorite on base dining experience has always been the Habu Pit Teppanyaki (on Futenma). They are closed now for renovations until June, and we will be gone by then 🙁 All the wait staff and chefs are soo nice and helpful and its VERY kid friendly with their help. The view is the best on base on island by far (even better than the ‘ocean view’ room in the Palms restaurant on Hansen) it is up on top of Futenma mountains (hills?) and looks down over the whole Ginowan/Mihama town and ocean . We used to purposely make reservations at sunset so we could see it in the light and after dark (I know sounds cheesy, Im really gonna miss it here). As for food I think it rivals with some off base teppan places and the prices cannot be beat! I always order the Shogun which has chicken, beef and shrimp but child size and it is always more than enough for me (even pregnant me)and only costs $11! My hubby gets the Shogun adult which is enough to feed 3 adults IMO for $17. Oh and you can order from the regular club kids menu if your kids are picky so that always saved us. Im so jealous that you all will get to go here once it reopens! Enjoy!

  13. I’m a big fan of Jack’s Place on Kadena. Particularly the Tepenyaki Joint. The cuts of meat are good and you always leave full. The only problem is my body isn’t liking the meat as much (getting older blows!), so I need to cut down on the meat and eat a little more fiber. Maybe I’ll need to invest in some Geritol and Depends.

  14. My favorite on-base restaurant is Mac Grill as it is also one of my favs in the States. I’m also looking at this detention as an excuse to try new recipes at home. Actually to show new recipes to the hubby, go grocery shopping for him and ask him to make the delicious sounding meals for me. 🙂 Yes, I am very very spoiled.
    I do know that in 1995 when a rape occured by three service members against an Okinawan girl, this detention lasted three and a half weeks.

  15. Great idea, Kelly! And as always, great links and post material in general.

    I know for one thing that Coffee Casa reopened under a new manager today (and is it totally wrong that I’m aggravated to the point of almost pulling over to chastise the American couple I saw sitting outside enjoying a cuppa joe??) and I know that’ll be a visit I’ll make soon enough. That & Hearth Cafe because they’re local establishments with super nice people that I love supporting. I am dying to try Jakkepoes too.

    As for on-base, The Tee Spot is a big favorite of ours. We live out Gate 1 of Kadena, and it’s close, the service is always speedy, and the view is really nice for on-base. It’s on the Banyan Tree golf course overlooking the course & the flight line, and in the distance, the ocean. There are also TVs in each corner with whatever’s on the sports channel playing. It’s completely picky-kid-friendly (grilled cheese, chicken tenders, burgers, etc.) and I really like their soki soba, panini, gyros, and salads. You order at a counter & take the number to your table, it’s one of the speediest meals around!
    There are other kinds of fare too, and they offer a discount for Kadena Club Card holders. To get there, just make a left turn at the first light inside gate 1 (sign points you to the Golf Course), then another left at the end of that road. Tee House is up on the hill to the left, above the pro shop.

    Banyan Tree Restaurant is another fave – they have great Asian options & sandwiches too, and the pizza is better than Pizza Hut, in my opinion.

  16. First time dealing with the military (as spouse of a medical contractor) & I have to admit it’s the first time I’ve ever tasted life without liberty & basic right to move about. If anyone really wants to know my opinion of going from punishment via “a midnight curfew of a small population (that includes the ENTIRE set of recent offenders)” to “every single law-abiding, Okinawan-society loving SOFA-status person 24/7” without any stop in between to include only active duty (Marines & MAYBE others) first, feel free to email me about my impression of leadership.

    Big props to Jack’s Place. Still need to try the Tee House. I’d also recommend Mike’s Italian Garden (near the AMC Terminal on Kadena) as well as the restaurant at Okuma (just don’t stop anywhere along the way, pee in a cup or something).