Izakaya, the Japanese tapas bar 居酒屋

A culinary and cultural discovery in a bar-restaurant

In Japan, it's "Metro-work-bistro": we meet in the izakaya after work, we drink, we eat, we laugh and we discuss aloud, we even sometimes sing. . Grace at these Japanese taverns, discover the other side of the Japanese while enjoying a multitude of small dishes and drinks.

From small neighborhood bistros to big izakaya chains

In the 1970s these places were still rather reserved for office workers, salarymen. In the 1980s, izakaya chains emerged (Uotami, Tengu, Yoro-no-taki, to name a few). The menu is varied and the prices reasonable, but less quality and human warmth, morphing into large capacity dining and the reception of groups...

Designers take over the interior decoration to create different atmospheres according to the target clientele. A far departure from its original form, some establishments open for lunch... breaking away from the very concept of Izakaya.

Today this type of establishment attracts all categories of people, from students to the salarymen, men or women, to have a drink with colleagues as well as to party with friends until the end of the night.

A busy street lined with izakaya

A busy street in izakaya


Izakaya Uoyaki Itaru

Sign izakaya Uoyaki Itaru.


How to order in an izakaya?

First of all, be aware that this type of establishment charges what is called a "table charge". That is, in addition to paying for food and drinks, a certain amount (usually 500 yen) is charged per customer for a small plate with appetizers such as edamame, pickled vegetables, or something more original depending on the establishment.

The menus are already on the table. Some have pictures, which are useful for foreign visitors and the big chains have menus in English. The Japanese immediately order drinks, beers, sake, shochu, etc. ("Toriaezu biiru ": "I'll start with a beer").

We toast and exclaim “kanpai” (“cheers!”) And gradually order several dishes in family style. A bell system allows a waiter to be called at any time for additional orders.

Kanpa! We toast with beer, a classic of the izakaya


Du poulet frit à la japonaise, "kara-age" (kala-agué)

Du poulet frit à la japonaise, "kara-age" (kala-agué)

Lucas Richarz

A platter of sashimi

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