Nihonbashi: Japanese regional
Mondo (Nihonbashi: Japanese regional)
Open 11am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

While it may be similar in appearance and atmosphere to a hundred other lively drinking spots in this office-building neighborhood, Mondo turns out far better food and drink than your typical izakaya, at remarkably budget-friendly prices. The specialty here is regional cuisine from Shimane Prefecture, and the menu offers a lot of interesting dishes you won't find elsewhere in town, along with excellent craft sake.

As with many good izakaya, the sashimi platter of the day, showcasing fresh fish and seafood flown in direct from the region, is an excellent place to start. Other enticing seafood dishes include tasty crabmeat croquettes, geso aburi-yaki (very tender grilled squid tentacles), and a three different types of satsuma-age fritters, made with flying fish and incorporating tender burdock root and sweet potatoes. There are also grilled and stewed fish dishes, and a half dozen or so mackerel variations.

Local heirloom-breed pork and chicken and locally raised beef are featured in several dishes, and there's a selection of local Matsue Oden and Shimane kushi-katsu - deep-fried skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables. At lunchtime they serve a few different styles of Izumo Soba, another regional delicacy.

Although the regular drinks menu lists only a few types of sake, if you stroll over to the restaurant's bar area you'll find a much larger selection, with forty or so labels from small craft breweries across Shimane Prefecture. Tasting-size glasses (90ml) are just Y500, and the bar staff can help with recomendations (in Japanese). There are also inexpensive three-part tasting flights of some pre-selected sake, although we found these less interesting.

The dining room is quite large, with picture windows at the back overlooking the river, and a comfortable counter area off to one side. Service is friendly and efficient, and there's an English-language menu, although it seems to be more limited than the Japanese menu. The restaurant is affiliated with the Shimane-ken Prefectural antenna shop, which helps explain the abundance of freshly imported ingredients and the very reasonable prices. Budget around Y3500-4500 per person for ample food and drink; party plans are also available. Budget around Y3000-4000 for ample food and drink at dinnertime.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-8-3.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended