Shitagokoro, the sister shop of “Fridge”, a popular Italian restaurant-bar in Haruyoshi, is a highly recommended example of a new breed of izakaya that blends great food with modern atmosphere and delivers excellent price performance. While it’s certainly not your grandfathers’ dusty old pub, it’s not too trendy either. The interior sports two counters with comfortable high chairs. The first counter doubles as the “Chef’s Table” and is ideal for watching owner Masahiro Oyagi artistically slice sashimi. Booth seating and an “old school” tatami room in the back round out the seating options.
Oyagi-san recommends starting with a plate of sashimi featuring six varieties of seasonal fish priced at just ¥1,050 per person. The perfect complement to this would be the sampler’s set of three kinds of sake, just ¥900. Instead of overwhelming you with options, the hand-drawn and succinct one-page menu lists a combination of curious and creative numbers ranging from home-style dishes such as iidako to sato-imo no yawaraka ni (octopus and potato stew) to originals like the delightful gobo no satsumage (fish cake wrapped in burdock root). Pictured here is their popular toriharami nabe, a hot-pot similar to Hakata’s famous motsunabe, but made with firm chicken from Miyazaki, instead of motsu. Salads, fish, meat, teppan-yaki and rice dishes too. A great find just outside of Tenjin.
1-9-15 Watanabedori, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
18:00 ~ 24:00 (last order 23:00)
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn125 May 2009)