Japanese Restaurants in Hilversum

This weekend was my 5 month expat-iversary in the Netherlands… so what better to write about than another one of my passions… Japanese food! (Btw: yes, I get that most people would celebrate their 6 month “anniversary” but 5 is my lucky number and I am not most people!)

Before I start, I probably don’t say it here much (if at all… I’m not that kinda girl) BUT the last 5 months have been HARD! I won’t lie. Fellow blogger Sophie in Clogs summed it up perfectly in her advice to newbie expats: “…the first few months will be wonderful and frustrating and overwhelming and exciting and lonely and just plain weird – a true roller coaster of emotions.” True, true words! Thanks, Sophie – I couldn’t have said it better myself!

On Friday I was in desperate need of cheering up, so we decided to go out for a meal. And what better than a belly full of sashimi?!

Even before we arrived in Holland, I had already been checking out Trip Advisor to find the best local eateries… and lucky for us there are five Japanese restaurants in Hilversum! We’ve now tried four of the five, and who knows… maybe we’ll try number 5 this month! (Dutchie: nudge, nudge, wink, wink.)

So if you’re a fan of Japanese cuisine, here’s the lowdown of what’s on offer in Hilversum…

Sumo

A chain, yes. But don’t judge! We’ve eaten here once and had takeaway delivered 2 or 3 times. It is always spot on! The sashimi salad is the shining star of this restaurant: copious amounts of tuna and salmon with a delicious (and slightly spicy) salad dressing, crisp, salad, all finely sliced. The salad of champions! (Bottom right.)

Sumo, Hilversum

Japanese feast at Sumo, Hilversum

The portion of edamame beans is epic! Well worth the 5 euros. (We actually took half of them home in a doggy bag as there were so many!) The other dishes are crab and prawn “balls” (but more like discs) and spicy tuna maki! Yum!

Sumo restaurants offer “all you can eat” or  a la carte… as we are massive sashimi fans we went a la carte as sashimi isn’t included in the all you can eat menu. (You can buy it for an additional €12.50.)

Sashimi @ Sumo, Hilversum

Sashimi @ Sumo, Hilversum

A great restaurant and well deserving of it’s 4 out of 5 stars on Trip Advisor.

Have you visited other Sumo restaurants in the Netherlands? How did they match up?

Tokyo

Located on Havenstraat, this restaurant has a great relaxed atmosphere and the staff are super-friendly. I love this traditional Japanese mural – beautiful!

Mural @ Toyko, Hilversum

Mural @ Toyko, Hilversum

They also get bonus points for the amazing wine glasses!

Plum wine & Menu @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Plum wine & Menu @ Tokyo, Hilversum

A big advantage at Tokyo is you can buy 4 maki rolls instead of the standard 8. This is great because it means you can two different varieties at once: a big advantage for us!

They also serve their sashimi platter ON A BOAT!! 😀

Sashimi Boat! @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Sashimi Boat! @ Tokyo, Hilversum

Simply fabulous! A great authentic restaurant… I can’t wait to go back!

Kimono

Sorry to say, but: best avoided. Truly disappointing. The staff were friendly but the food just wasn’t up to scratch. We ordered a sashimi platter which was said to contain 7 different types of fish. It arrived with four, one of which was crabsticks. The tempura was soggy and very basic (no fancy veg or prawns, just standard veg.) The wasabi was discoloured and weak. If the wasabi is good… you should NOT be able to do this:

Kimono, Hilversum

Kimono, Hilversum

…without getting the world’s biggest nose-kick. This amount: nothing.

Hopefully they were just having a bad day and a low-stocked kitchen… but it was enough for us to not want to go back again.

Sochi’s Sushi

This is the one we haven’t tried yet… but soooooon! Located on the Groest, next to Sumo! (Keep your friends close and your enemies closer and all that!) They offer lunch, take out and dinner (but are only open until 8pm, which is why we haven’t been yet.)

It’s on the list!

Ai Uchi (situated within the Amrâth Grand Hotel Theater Gooiland)

This was the little gem we discovered on Friday! As you can see – the bar area is stunning!

Ai Uchi @ the Amrâth Grand Hotel Gooiland

Ai Uchi @ the Amrâth Grand Hotel Gooiland

We had two soups to start but they didn’t photograph well in the romantic candle light! 😉 Miso soup (simple, good) and a Japanese fish soup (highly recommended!)

Then we had tempura, sashimi, edamame beans (of course!) and Usuyaki (beefrolls met knoflook en lenteui = beef with garlic and spring onions) with udon noodles. Definitely the dish of the day!!

Tempura and Sashimi @ Ai Uchi

Tempura and Sashimi @ Ai Uchi

Plum wine!

Plum wine!

The staff were welcoming and nothing was too much trouble. When we asked for more wasabi (heat fiends that we are) the waiter happily brought back a huge pot (well, huge for wasabi, anyway!)

Hilversum gets a big thumbs up for its Japanse restaurants! 

What great restaurants do you have in your neighbourhood?

Hayley x

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8 comments

  1. Happy five month expat-iversary!!! I’m glad I’m not the only one who experiences expat life as a bit of a roller coaster 😛 But I must say just based on your blog and Instagram feed you seem like you are adjusting so well … Whenever you write in Dutch it reminds me that I really ought to be practising! haha
    I absolutely LOVE Sumo … I think there must be other good sushi restaurants in Den Haag, but they are so incredibly expensive, and hailing from Toronto, the land of super cheap sushi (like $7 for 20 pieces), I feel weird paying so much – so Sumo is perfect! I also love that sashimi salad … nom nom nom. Pieter and I ventured outside of our comfort zone and tried the rival all you can eat sushi place here called Shabu Shabu and it was just as expensive and not nearly as good … canned tuna and salmon in the rolls!!!! An outrage!

    Like

    1. Thank you! It’s definitely up and down… that’s for sure! Ha ha… but I am a little geek! I love being back at school ahem, college!

      Yay, glad I found another Sumo fan! 😀 Gotta try new places I suppose, but I do hate that disappointment when it’s not as good… that is outrageous to serve canned fish indeed! Duly noted: avoid Shabu Shabu! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy expatversary!

    I love japanese food (and plum wine!) and we tend to get it delivered most Mondays for our day off (usually too tired to go out), but I want to try Sumo since it gets such good reviews.

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    1. Thanks, Alison! I love that you can get Japanese food delivered here! (In England it’s only possible in the big cities.) Yep, do try Sumo… I hope the Utrecht branch is as good as Hilversum! Vingers gekruist 🙂

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  3. Plum wijn is lekker! (And this is from a non-wine drinker!) It’s strong, true, but I can actually put up with it. I drank a glass when I went to my favorite Chinese place a few years ago, and–again–ik drink geen wijn! (I still go to the restaurant–I just get takeaway, so no time for a glass of wine.)

    I love gyoza, which is basically the Japanese word for potstickers/dumplings. Never been a sushi fan, but I would try tempura. (Why haven’t I? *pokes herself in the noggin*) I like chicken teriyaki (I believe that falls into the category of “teppanyaki”), but I prefer to get it from a Japanese restaurant, because most other places make it too sweet.

    Out of what you tried, I’d be interested in the udon noodles and the prawn-ball-thingies. (I’m so used to your likes now that I saw them and instantly thought, “Those aren’t bitterballen!” Haha)

    Liked by 1 person

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