Updated: August 27, 2018
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Za Watami & Watami: Nice, Cheap, Authentic Izakaya Chain

In Japan, Za Watami and Watami are two of the most famous izakaya brands. With an awesome ambiance and decent food and drinks at a pretty cheap price, the two traditional taverns are hard to beat.

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Za Watami / Watami 坐和民 / 和民

Za Watami and Watami are two Izakaya chains managed by the same company that are extremely popular in Japan. The theme of the two chain is "Wa" (和) which means Japanese-style, which translates into an interior decor that has lanterns, a lot of wood, Japanese-style low tables, sliding doors, and an overall traditional layout.
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The two chains are quite similar. The essential difference is that Za Watami locations tend to have more private rooms whereas Watami tends to have a more open concept. Pictured above is an open area where it tends to get a bit rowdy late in the evening.
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Individual rooms such as this one are ideal for an evening spent in small groups in a more private setting. You can still hear the noise that comes from outside the room but these are comparatively quieter places.

As you can see, the two Watami chains have a really nice authentic izakaya atmosphere, and that's probably a key to their massive success. On top of that, they have a menu that is really affordable, and on the traditional side two. The combination of a great atmosphere and cheap, good Japaense-style foods is hard to beat. Here is the typical menu of Za Watami and Watami.

Food And Drinks

Sashimi

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You can get a sashimi plate with four different kinds of seafood for ¥990.
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This is an interesting item to order! It's a full squid lightly grilled. Season it with some lemon for the perfect light and healthy side dish. It's cheap too. Just ¥490.

Grilled Fish

Grilled fish is a must at a Japanese-style izakaya.
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At just ¥690 for a very large piece of "hokke", a wind of white fish, this item is one of the most popular on the menu. Just order one piece and you'll have enough to share within a small group.

Yakitori (grilled chicken)

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Yakitori, or grilled pieces of chicken on a skewer, is a type of food that is quite representative of the Japanese izakaya. It's never a bad idea to get an order of this too. They only use domestic poultry too, a sure sign the quality is not bad. An assortment of 5 is ¥690.

Deep-Fried Foods

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A certain amount of fried foods is pretty much a must-order at any izakaya. The deep-fried chicken karaage is ¥490.
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If you want to have something irresistibly rich and satisfying, you might want to try the potatoes and tomato meat sauce with cheese. They have a few of these kinds of western-style foods. These fries are ¥390.

Drinks

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They have a huge drink selection. The beer served here is the excellent Suntory Premium. Other options include High ball drinks, whiskeys, sours, tea and liquor mixes, cocktails, fruit-based alcohols, wines, shochu (Japanese spirits), etc.

Desserts

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To finish off on a sweet note, they have a couple of desserts, for the most part, ice cream-based. They are around ¥300.
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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