Akakara Nabe is a fun izakaya located in Ikebukuro's Sunshine Street that serves awesome Nagoya-style food. In addition to great tebasaki (chicken wings), fried shrimp, and other izakaya specialties, the restaurant's featured item is nabe, or Japanese-style hot-pot. The hot pots feature a rich red miso base and a spiciness level from 0 to 10!!
Akakara is an izakaya-style restaurant that opened its first shop in Nagoya, a city that is known for many delicious regional foods. The restaurant now has locations across the country, offering guests the chance to experience delicious Nagoya food without having to travel to Aichi prefecture! The Ikebukuro Sunshine Street location is just 3 minutes from the East exit of JR Ikebukuro Station. If you're in Tokyo and looking to try a fantastic Nagoya-style hot pot and other Nagoya specialties, this is the perfect place to come!
Akakara's Specialty: the 'Akakara Nabe'
Japanese nabe (hot pot) often features a broth that is light and mild-tasting, but the nabes served here are quite the opposite! Nagoya is known for its red miso, which is used in many of the most famous local dishes. Akakara's self-titled 'Akakara Nabe,' also features red miso as the soup base, which gives the hot pot an irresistible richness.
Choose Your Spice Level. Can you Handle Level 10??
The 11 spice levels
One of the other unique features of Akakara's hot pots is the option to choose the spiciness level. There's a scale from zero (no spice at all) up to 10 (extremely spicy). The most popular is spice level three, which is enough to add a lovely chili flavor to the soup without making it unbearably spicy. If you're pretty sure that you can handle some spice, but it's your first time at Akakara, it's probably a good idea to start at around level three and add more spice if it's not enough for you. According to the restaurant, level 10 is rarely ordered (once per day, at maximum). If you're looking for a spice challenge, why not give it a try?
Toppings Included in the Standard 'Akakara Nabe'
The meat toppings (pork belly, tsukune, and beef horumon) included at no extra charge.
The basic 'Akakara Nabe' is just ¥990 per person, and includes pork belly, tsukune (chicken meatballs), beef horumon (tripe), cabbage, tofu, bean sprouts, chives, and fried tofu skin as toppings. In addition, there's an extensive menu of toppings that you can add to customize the hot pot to your liking! Why not add some bacon, or scallops, or shrimp dumplings? The potential ingredient combinations are endless.
The veggie toppings (Chives, beansprouts, fried tofu, and cabbage) included at no extra charge.
Finish the Rich, Spicy Broth by Making a Cheesy Risotto!
After eating all of the toppings in the nabe, a thick, rich, bubbling soup will be leftover. Instead of letting it go to waste, Akakara offers a 'shime' (finishing) menu of noodles or rice to finish the pot with. For the classic 'Akakara Nabe,' the recommended finishing item is the 'Cheese Risotto,' which turns the leftover soup into a thick, irresistibly cheesy risotto that will leave you scraping the bottom of the pot to get every last bit out.
Back in Black: 'Kurokara Nabe'
Kurokara Nabe, ¥1,290
There are a couple of other tasty soups that you can choose from when ordering a nabe. One is the 'Kurokara Nabe,' which features a deep and rich black sauce made from charred garlic. If you're a fan of bold flavors, you'll love this hot pot. Just like the 'Akakara Nabe,' the spiciness level of the 'Kurokara Nabe' can also be chosen from the same scale.
Add Some Ramen to Finish the Soup!
Some ramen noodles to finish off the pot! ¥390
The best way to finish off the 'Kurokara Nabe' is by turning it into a bowl of noodles! Add the standard ramen noodles, or go for an extra Nagoya experience by choosing the thick, flat 'kishimen' noodles, a specialty of Nagoya.
Order the Nabe as an Awesome Set!
Akakara Set, ¥2,390
If you want to experience all of the best items that Akakara has to offer, ordering the 'Akakara Set' is by far the best thing to do. For just ¥2,390 per person, you get a nabe + noodles or risotto for finishing, karaage (fried chicken), edamame, daikon salad, red miso shrimp fry (another Nagoya specialty), grilled chicken plate, and a side of the day. It's a lot of food and a lot of variety that will definitely leave you full and satisfied!
The Akakara Ikebukuro Sunshine Street Location is a 3-minute walk from the east exit of Ikebukuro station. It's on the 6th floor of a building, so it's not the easiest to spot from the street level. Look for TGI Fridays, which is on the second floor of the same building.
Whether you're just looking for a delicious meal or a place to have a few drinks with some awesome food on the side, Akakara in Ikebukuro's Sunshine Street is a stellar choice. Give it a try!