Te' Pan Le Omus1/4
Photo: Masaru TakeuchiTe' Pan Le Omus
Ageo Gohan2/4
Photo: Ageo GohanAgeo Gohan
Izumiya 3/4
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaIzumiya
グランシャリオ4/4
Photo: Kisa ToyoshimaBakery Restaurant Grand Chariot

10 places to eat in Saitama

You’ll find izakaya serving pork skewers, an old-fashioned 24-hour coffee shop, a Scottish pub selling local whisky and more

Written by Time Out. Paid for by Saitama Prefecture
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Saitama is less than an hour away from central Tokyo, making it an easy weekend getaway from the capital. Famed for Kawagoe’s historical Little Edo town with its old-fashioned streets, Saitama is also home to plenty of hidden restaurants, bars and cafés. 

You’ll find long-established restaurants serving traditional cuisine using locally caught fish from the river alongside izakaya pubs boasting inventive pork yakitori skewers. For something sweet, go for fruit sandwiches, and for a real treat, head to the Scottish pub serving homemade haggis with whisky from Chichibu. We’ve rounded up the ten best restaurants, cafés and pubs to visit while you’re in Saitama.

'Yakitori' in Higashi-Matsuyama
'Yakitori' in Higashi-Matsuyama
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

'Yakitori' in Higashi-Matsuyama

Restaurants Saitama

Stroll around Higashi-Matsuyama Station in the evening and you're bound to spot countless traditional lanterns along the streets. Most of these red paper lamps sell out 'yakitori', but instead of grilled chicken, in Higashi-Matsuyama that stands for skewered pork seasoned with miso — a local speciality that goes perfectly with a cold beer. 

Te'Pan Le Omus
Te'Pan Le Omus
Photo: Masaru Takeuchi

Te'Pan Le Omus

Restaurants Saitama

Specialising in black-haired wagyu and local vegetables, this upscale teppanyaki joint offers multi-course meals featuring domestic sirloin steak, which are best enjoyed while sitting at the counter watching the chefs at work. Don’t be fooled by the fancy food – the restaurant is child-friendly, too, with plenty of space for strollers and even a diaper changing bed.

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Fruit Parlor 808
Fruit Parlor 808
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Fruit Parlor 808

Restaurants Sandwich shop Saitama

Super-fresh fruit straight from the greengrocer's, lathered with just-right whipped cream and arranged amply and artistically between two simple slices of white bread; the humble fruit sandwich has never been more Instagram-friendly – or less suited to munching on the go.

Izumiya
Izumiya
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Izumiya Honten

Restaurants Omiya

Open from 10am, this homely izakaya oozes nostalgia and gets packed with local boozehounds as early as noon on weekdays. If you can't read the menu, written on paper slips hanging haphazardly around the room, just ask for whatever your neighbour's having – it'll most likely be delicious.

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グランシャリオ
グランシャリオ
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Bakery Restaurant Grand Chariot

Restaurants Saitama

Train geeks will have a field day digging into curry, beef stew and hamburg steaks at this unique restaurant, a faithful re-creation of the restaurant car from the defunct Hokutosei sleeper train, which operated between Tokyo and Sapporo for 27 years before being retired in 2015. 

Tachibanaya
Tachibanaya
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Tachibana

Restaurants Japanese Chichibu

Chichibu is renowned for soba made with the mountainous area's clear spring water. Taste the difference at Tachibana, where aromatic, somewhat coarsely ground buckwheat gets turned into smooth noodles that are best savoured cold (ask for ‘mori’ or ‘zaru’) – and with some walnut dipping sauce (¥100).

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Yamazakiya
Yamazakiya
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Yamazakiya

Restaurants Urawa

Saitama's lack of coastline means that freshwater fish has always been a big part of the local diet. The river delicacies are best savoured at eel eatery Yamazakiya, which has been going strong since the Edo era (1603-1868). Besides grilled eel over rice, specialities here include several carp dishes.

Hakushakutei
Hakushakutei
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

Hakushakutei

Restaurants Omiya

Can't sleep after an exciting day of sports-watching?Make a beeline for this 24-hour coffee shop, which is noted more for its giant food portions than its joe. The eclectic menu ranges from old-school favourites such as omelette over rice and Japanese-style spaghetti to Thai, Sri Lankan and Indian dishes.

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Highlander Inn Chichibu
Highlander Inn Chichibu
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Highlander Inn Chichibu

Bars and pubs Pubs Chichibu

Homesick Scots can get their fix of haggis and single malt in impressive surroundings at Highlander Inn, a down-to-earth pub housed in a 100-year-old traditional house. The marriage of tatami-mat seating, haggis and Japanese whisky is a surprisingly amiable one, and a worthy addition to Chichibu's vibrant whisky scene.

Ageo Gohan
Ageo Gohan
Photo: Ageo Gohan

Ageo Gohan

Restaurants Saitama

A treat for both the eyes and the taste buds, the steak bowls at Ageo Gohan are pure perfection: medium rare, lean Akagi beef over steaming rice cooked in a clay pot, expertly put together by an Ageo-born chef whose custard puddings are also a thing to behold.

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