I recently took a trip to Okinawa to visit a family friend who currently is based on the island with her family. I didn’t really have any expectations of Okinawa, prior to the trip. So to my surprise and lack of research, it reminded me a lot of the United States. There is a reason why Okinawans do not consider themselves Japanese. There is a beauty between the combination of these cultures and it has had a huge effect on their food inspiration. So I wanted to share some of my favorite restaurants in Okinawa with this Okinawa restaurant guide.
Okinawa Restaurant Guide
Lanai Cafe is a popular Okinawa restaurant. They do however get busy pretty quickly so I suggest you arrive early. This restaurant is pretty popular among locals for their pancakes, salads, and burger over rice. Getting some healthy options on the island can be difficult. The restaurant has a cute little vibe and is located next to a big mall where you can try other delicious foods for lunch. You can enjoy the day shopping, getting a massage or more after walking off for breakfast. Be sure to order the macadamia sauce on the side for your pancakes, the sauce is what sold me at the restaurant.
Pork Tamago Onigiri
You can not go to Japan without eating Onigiri. With that being said, when visiting Okinawa, the best Onigiri shop hands down is Pork Tamago Onigiri. This place is absolutely amazing. On the island, you will see many tourist shops selling SPAM souvenirs as it is a popular staple here. At Pork Tamago Onigiri, this famous Okinawa restaurant, you can get a variety of different Onigiri, many of them including SPAM. These things are a bit greasy but so delightful. In addition, you can see the ocean and have a great view while eating there. This restaurant is located in American Village where many tourists do shopping.
Stripes Okinawa Restaurant
Stripes is a ramen place and have the best ramen in town. A lot of ramen places have more of a fish flavor in their broth even though they are soy sauce based. This Okinawa restaurant had the perfect amount of food and the best flavor in the area. It also has an interesting kind of vending machine that is classic and old school and prints out the order for you. Don’t forget to add an egg and bamboo shoots! A great side to add are the bean sprouts and cucumbers in a spicy sesame oil sauce with salt.
Blue Seal Ice Cream
Okay, I know this isn’t an Okinawa restaurant, but it’s Okinawa’s most famous ice cream bar. It can be comparable to Baskin Robbins. The best ice cream hands down are the salt cookie. You have to try it! My favorite classic though is mint chocolate chip, so I had to at least try theirs. We went here almost every night for me to enjoy the ice cream over and over again. You can also find other flavors like Ube and other classics like strawberry cheesecake or chocolate chip ice cream.
Ever since I have found out about the famous rainbow bagels in New York, I’ve always wanted to try them. I haven’t had the chance to, but I’ve also heard that there is a long line out the door to experience them. So when I found out there was a rainbow bagel cafe in Okinawa, I knew it was my destiny to have them. This cute little cafe has these beautiful bagels and is perfectly toasted with the perfect amount of cream cheese. I literally couldn’t get enough and wish I had more room to eat more than one bagel! In addition to these rainbow bagels, they also have cute decorated cookies for sale as well.
謝苅そば Soba Okinawa Restaurant
This is probably the best restaurant on the island. It is a soba shop known for their handmade noodles and the pork falls off the bone. The meat melts in your mouth. This place sells out quickly and ends their day early since everything is handmade. I suggest you try to arrive as soon as they open to enjoy their delicious soba. On top of being a great restaurant, they also have one of the best views in town. This place is cash only, so be prepared to not use your card.
This cafe is along the pier in Okinawa. It is a beautiful cafe to enjoy the best French Toast in Okinawa. They have a cute aesthetics as well with a beachy vibe. There is a beautiful outdoor patio at this Okinawa restaurant where you can enjoy yourself and relax along the oceanside. If you have kids, right outside there is also a water obstacle course which is great for keeping the kids busy.
So my entire trip in Okinawa was pretty much based on food. My friend highly recommended this place and they have an amazing Dutch baby pancake and lattes. The lattes are so cute with cute designs. This Okinawa cafe has all handmade furniture as well which were designed and made by the owner there. It was a great way to get some great coffee, catch up with friends and enjoy the natural sunlight.
A Happy Pancake
Now this place you need to arrive early to get a seat and not have to wait around all day. Even during the weekdays, this place can get crowded. At this Okinawa restaurant, they sell the fluffy pancakes topped with ice cream or fruit. It is a perfect place for brunch. Even if you are there before they open, the waiting list has already started. We made the mistake of arriving in the afternoon on a weekday and it took us over 2 hours to wait for a seat.
Yoshihachi Okinawa Restaurant for Sushi
This Okinawa restaurant can be a bit difficult getting great sushi on the island. I’ve been told that fresh fish on a tropical island usually isn’t best for sushi. So this place is a great place to get more American style sushi. Be sure to try the California roll. Once you walk inside the restaurant you will feel like you are in the 70s. With many signed photos from celebrities, floor seating and more. It reminds me of the Karate Kid in some aspects. They do take some time to make the rolls so be sure to keep that in mind if you are in a rush.
There you have it, my Okinawa restaurant guide. What were some of your favorite places?