7 Places to Get Good Japanese in Manila for Under PHP 500

Finding good food when on a fairly tight budget is not the hardest thing to do, especially in Makati and the South where streets are lined with a sprawling assortment of restaurants that offer meals with variable price tags, depending on how much you’re willing to spend for your grub.

And when it comes to picking a restaurant, Japanese is at the top of my list. Accessible, clean-tasting, and consistently satisfying, this bunch of restaurants is almost-always on top of my list whenever someone asks “where can we eat that’s good and cheap?” Here are a few places where you can get your Japanese fix for less than 500 bucks.

1. Izakaya Kikufuji

Photo via Lynne-Enroute.com

Friends who I constantly eat out with are probably sick of me saying “Kikufuji” immediately when they ask where to eat. They roll their eyes but give in anyway. And always, without fail, I hear the hallelujah chorus play in my ears whenever we wind up at this institution along Chino Roces Avenue.

Photo via Candid Cuisine

Kikufuji is a great place to get cheap, good Japanese. A notch lower than Seryna price-wise, they may have a bit of missteps in terms of the service and cleanliness of the place, but the food is damn great. My staples here are their Spicy Tuna Sashimi, Beef Cube and Cartilage Yakitori, and the occasional Chirashi. They have bang-for-the-buck lunch sets, too, where you can try out a bit of everything and cap off your meal with some overly sweetened iced coffee.

Photo via Kamusta Magazine

Izakaya Kikufuji

Address: Chino Roces, Makati

2. Nanbantei of Tokyo

Nanbantei of Tokyo is always a good choice. I like going here when I am immensely hungry and ready to pig out on their extensive yakitori selection. It’s not the best in Metro Manila, but if you’re looking forward to a delicious dinner that’s easy on the wallet, then this is the place to be. They have great service, and you can have all the sticks and rice you want without feeling bad about the pricetag.

Photo via carurachan.blogspot.com

My Nanbantei favorites include the Tofu (ask for extra sauce), Chicken Hearts, Liver, Skin, Pork Garlic Yaki, Shiso Maki—heck, just order everything on the menu. They also have seasonal specials every once in a while that are worth checking out. Best enjoyed with double orders of onigiri.

Photo via Chope.co

Nanbantei of Tokyo

Branches: Greenbelt 3 and Bonifacio High Street Central

3. Kagura

Kagura is located inside Little Tokyo, and they are well-known for their Okonomiyaki, or savory Japanese pancakes. One look at their menu and you will have a hard time choosing—I personally like the octopus and chicken skin okonomiyakis, but they also have okomiyaki that’s stuffed with noodles, topped with cheese, and loaded with different kinds of meat. Don’t make the mistake of ordering one okonomiyaki each when you’re dining here with friends—unless you’re planning on having them taken out (or have a crazy-voracious appetite).

Photo via Butter Love Affair

Kagura at Little Tokyo

Address: 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati (beside Hana)

4. Nihonbashi Tei

Photo via walkandeat.blogspot.com

Who can talk about cheap Japanese food in Makati and not include Nihonbashi Tei? This is our go-to Japanese joint after a late night movie run at Greenbelt. There is beer and sake to binge on, and almost everything on their menu is delicious. I really love spicy tuna sashimi, so I’d tell you to order that. We also did a hack of Nihonbashi Tei’s Spicy Tuna Sashimi a few months back, if you’d like to try making at home instead.

Photo via jekert.wordpress.com

Their noodles also come in huge servings and are good for sharing, while their rice bowls are quite filling as well. Come here with your good friends and split a bottle of sake while gorging on Nihon’s delicious Japanese food.

Photo via whatseesterate.wordpress.com

Nihonbashi Tei

Branches: Along Pasay Road, Makati

5. Suzu Kin

Back in the day, Suzu Kin was but a tiny store near Kamagong in Makati. It had a sign that looked like as if it was written on using a permanent marker. It wasn’t the fanciest restaurant, I admit, but it was home to one of my favorite comfort foods—their Beef Garlic, which comes an addictive brown sauce that I personally feel is some version of liquid crack.

Photo via imotiv.ly

I used to eat at Suzu Kin a lot when I was still in university. After school and the long drive back to Makati, all my taste buds would crave for was a sizzling plate of Suzu Kin’s Beef Garlic. That, and their cheap California Maki, Katsudon, Nigiri Sushi, and maybe an order of Oyster Butter if I didn’t mind risking my oyster allergy, which is, of course, always a bad decision because I find myself wound up in the bathroom. But it’s always worth it.

Photo via The Pickiest Eater


Address: Kamagong, along Sampaloc St., San Antonio Village, Makati

6. Mensakaba Geishu

We know this is place is loads further down the road, but if you’re in need of a ramen fix in BF without having to go to Molito for some Yushoken, then Mensakaba Geishu is probably going to be your best bet. We did a review on it in the past, and it still continues to impress with their straightforward ramen bowls and other tasty viands that the neighborhood will definitely keep coming back for.

Photo by Pamela Cortez

Mensakaba Geishu

Address: Southland Apartments, Aguirre St., BF Homes, Parañaque

7. Tonkatsuya

A lot of people might think that Metro Manila is oversaturated katsu-wise, but not me. There are still days—a lot of them—when all I want to do is to cradle a Yabu kurobuta set in my arms or spoil myself silly with some of Saboten’s tuna katsu set. Kimukatsu is also something that crosses my daydreams, especially their cheese mille feuille katsu.

Photo via walkandeat.blogspot.com

But there are times when I just need a quick, fast, and cheap katsu fix. And this is why I am beyond grateful for the existence of Tonkatsuya. None of the fancy stuff, but the satisfaction level each bowl of katsu delivers goes beyond the roof. Check it out if you happen to chance upon San Antonio Village with a wild craving for katsu to boot.

Photo via Dreaming of Dinner


Address: Palm Tower B, St. Paul Road, San Antonio Village, Makati

Are any of the places above in your list of cheap Japanese eats in the South/Makati Area? What other restaurants do you recommend? Tell us with a comment below!

30 Responses

  1. For best cheap ramen, I think Taisho in SM North (and now with branch in Boni Lightmall) deserves to be in the list 🙂

  2. Good place for rice toppings at Minamiya in Boni Circle! You can also see the chef cooking your order before your eyes!

  3. You should try Tatsunoko along El Grande Avenue in BF Homes Paranaque… Very good but cheap Japanese restaurant.

  4. Oh man, you gotta love Nihon Bashi Tei in Malate! Try their Shake Bento, it has smoked salmon, tonkatsu, beef teriyaki, tuna sushi, rice, miso soup and some side dish. over a year ago it’s approx. Php 250.00 (not sure now) The price is good and it’s really worth it!

  5. yamasaki, outside little tokyo area. P218 for big bowl of ramen, gyosa and japanese fried rice. japanese working men eats there so it must be good and authentic

  6. Wala yung Suzuki Japanese Karinderia the one in Tondo, Manila? Yun talaga ang sulit sa presyo! Medyo mahal itong mga pinili niya. I think sa mga ito pwede 500 per head isang rice toppings.

  7. Great Article – About NihonBashitei — I know of three (may isa pa ata) – two along Arnaiz and one on Adriatico in Malate. The low down; the one on Arnaiz near Slimmer’s world is the go to place if you don’t want to smell like food and they serve some Korean stuff, the one near Don Bosco doesn’t serve Korean while the one in Malate arguably serves the best food among the three.

  8. You should check out the japanese foodcourt like in Makati cinema square, it’s below dunkin donuts. Heck not only 500 peso, you can already get meal under 300 peso for 2. They have ramen, japanese ice shaved, rice bowl and yakitori. Definitely one of my favorite low budget japanese food

  9. give her a break. it says when in manila. so its general. if you dont have anything nice to comment I think it would be better to keep it to yourselves. I commend her though for giving out suggestions.

  10. There’s a nice resto across Little Tokyo called Hatsu Hana Tei, with lunch specials that are pretty filling for under P500. P250 gets you a decent donburi and noodle set.

  11. As someone who lives right beside Little Tokyo, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t tried any other restaurant other than Yamazaki and Seryna. I was always too intimidated. Will go check out the suggestions here, thanks.

  12. Why is there a recommendation for a place in Paranaque when your article’s title specifically states the Makati area?

  13. Happy to see Izakaya take #1 spot! The seared salmon sushi is a must try as well 😀

  14. May I suggest KURODA along Aguirre BF Homes? You have several Combination Sets on the Menu. Basically its Donburi + Bowl of Ramen. Your choices for Donburi are Teriyaki Chicken, or Pork or Chicken Katsudon, or Gyoza, or Gyudon. For Ramen, your choices are Kuro, Shio, or Aka Ramen. They actually give you the full serving for both Donburi and Ramen. Otherwise you can order a bowl of Ramen and ask for extra noodles at no extra cost. Price ranges from P380 to P450 for a combi set. Not bad really if you compute that’s roughly P225 per person.

    1. Cool! Will definitely check it out next time I’m in the area 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. I agree! Isshin is the best place to go that gives you plenty of bang for the buck. Cant wait to try some from Mikka’s list though. 🙂

      1. For me naman, Isshin used to be a big deal, but it kinda slipped a bit. If I had to choose between Isshin and Nihonbashitei, I’d choose Nihonbashitei in a heartbeat.

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