The buzz: Established in Ginza more than 70 years ago, Kitaohji has opened its first branch outside of Japan, in Thonglor. The specialty is kaiseki, meticulously-presented multi-course meals, made with seasonal ingredients. Unlike any of the branches in Japan, this one accepts walk-in customers and also offers a few a la carte options.
The decor: Nestled in the soi behind Eight Thonglor, the restaurant sits in a traditional-looking Japanese house amid a beautifully-landscaped Zen garden with lots of bamboo plants. Inside is more modern than the exterior suggests, but the decor is predictably dominated by wood.
The food and drinks: Kaiseki follows a set order, according to dish type, with each specific selection dependent on the day’s produce. First, a cold appetizer such as steamed squid and red beans is served to the table even before the diners arrive, followed by sashimi. The main course is then served, followed by a vinegar dish, deep-fried dish, rice or noodles, and dessert. The dinner is priced by the ingredients in your main dish. For now, the options are wagyu kakuni (braised beef, B2,000), charcoal-grilled wagyu (B2,500), wagyu steak (B3,500), steamed hair crab (B3,500) and grilled taraba king crab (B4,500)—all are exquisitely prepared. The a la carte menu covers sushi and sashimi, as well as select dishes from the kaiseki options like grilled wagyu (B2,800/200g) and grilled taraba king crab (B2,500). Of course, there’s a wide variety of drinks, namely sake, which starts at B490 per 150ml tokkuri (ceramic flask), and umeshu (plum liquor), which starts at B350 per 60ml glass.
Why you should care: If you’ve got the cash, this is one of very few restaurants in Bangkok that specializes in kaiseki, which gives you an all-round experience of Japanese food. Natcha Sanguankiattichai