RESTAURANT REVIEW: Nobunaga Izakaya Robatayaki Japanese Restaurant in Malate, Manila

Japanese food is one of Dane and I’s go-to cuisine whenever we eat out. Aside from Japan having an amazing culture, Japanese food is definitely delicious. So when I got the chance to plan our 4th anniversary celebration, it was an easy choice to make. All I had to do was pick…. from hundreds or even thousands of Japanese restaurants available within reasonable distance.

After checking one of my favorite Facebook Groups, Best of the Best Manila, Nobunaga Izakaya Robatayaki in Malate was included in the recommendations. I considered this restaurant as well because it was within a manageable distance to Manila Ocean Park, which was the first agenda I booked for our anniversary date.

I booked a reservation for 11am through their Facebook page. They were pretty responsive.

We arrived a few minutes before 11am. They actually open at 11am, but were kind enough to let us in as they were setting up the restaurant so we wouldn’t wait outside. We understand that we came in so close to their opening time, so there were a lot of preparation and set-up happening within the dining area.

The place was reminiscent of Japanese restaurants and greeted Irasshaimase or “welcome to our store”, that everyone else chants after one person says it. They even have televisions showing Japanese news, and even offered Oshibori, a wet hand towel offered to customers in places like restaurants or bars, used to clean the hands before eating.

They actually even had an area where you sit on the floor, just like many restaurants in Japan.

After choosing our seat, we were immediately offered menus. Their selection is very extensive and it was honestly a bit overwhelming to look at. In the end, we decided to go for our frequent staples—Beef Udon, Katsu Curry, Ebi Tempura, and Salmon Sashimi.

Also, I frequently blog about my obsession with being served with water for my food reviews in my personal blog. And unfortunately, I had to ask for water before getting any. It wasn’t also refilled throughout our stay. Definitely a point deduction.

Nobunaga Izakaya Robotayaki’s Beef Udon is tasty and light yet still filling. The noodles were cooked to a perfect al dente, and the sliced leeks were a good texture and freshness addition to every bite.

There’s no notable difference between theirs and cheaper Japanese restaurants like Komoro Soba though, but their serving size and meat portion is definitely a lot more, which is what you pay for when ordering this dish.

Beef Udon Price: P380

Rating: 4.5/5

Dane’s favorite food is curry. After contemplating on which food to try, he opted for one of his go-to dishes. The curry was delicious but the tonkatsu itself was a bit average. But for its price versus famous restaurants selling fried pork cutlets like Yabu, it’s definitely worth the price.

Dane’s only comment though is the lack of carrots, which is pretty commonly served with curry.

Tonkatsu Curry Price: P380

Dane’s Rating: 4/5

Nobunaga Izakaya Robotayaki japanese restaurant - salmon sashimi

The Salmon Sashimi was one of the best I’ve tried when it comes to sashimi. It was very fresh and tender, and almost melts in your mouth. Nobunaga Izakaya Robatayaki’s Salmon Sashimi is quite pricey for what it is, but you really get the quality and freshness. This is definitely on our order-again list.

Salmon Sashimi Price: P450 (6 slices of a third of an inch thickness, about 2.5 inches in length)

Dane and I’s Rating: 4.5/5

Ebi Tempura is another staple whenever we order Japanese food anywhere. Nobunaga’s shrimp tempura is pricey compared to many other restaurants, but once we tasted it, it was evident as to why.

You know how the shrimp is “massaged” to get a bit more length for tempura, resulting in a flatter and less dense shrimp meat? Well this shrimp was definitely firm and full. Which meant that they either used a big shrimp as a base instead of “cheating” it by massaging it.

It’s very tasty and also fresh, and it doesn’t have excessive batter like many tempuras have.

Ebi Tempura Price: P450 (4 pieces)

Dane and I’s Rating: 4.5/5

Nobunaga Izakaya Robatayaki Japanese restaurant serves great food. And it simultaneously arrived within 20 minutes. Service is okay but could still be improved with the water and how hospitable the people were.

Overall Rating:

  • Taste: 4/5
  • Bang for Buck: 4.5/5
  • Ambiance: 4/5
  • Service: 4/5
  • Would we eat here again? Yes!

Nobunaga Izakaya Robatayaki is located at 1644 A. Mabini St, Malate, Manila. They are open daily from 11am to 5am and serve authentic Japanese cuisine. Definitely a must-try if you are in the area!


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