Kobe Beef Teppanyaki in Kobe: Review & Where to Try It

Kobe is an easy and convenient day trip from Osaka. One of the city’s most famous local specialties is Kobe beef, which is famous worldwide for its exceptional marbling. To be certified as Kobe beef, the meat must come from Tajima-gyu cattle raised in Hyogo Prefecture under strict conditions.

Kobe beef can now be enjoyed across Japan and I think it’s not worth a ride to Kobe solely to try its beef. However, if you are doing some sightseeing in the city, tasting Kobe beef in its place of origin will add a special touch to your trip. In this travel guide, we will suggest places to try Kobe beef in Kobe, share detailed review of our meal and whether the experience is worth it as Kobe beef is not cheap at all.

Where to Eat Kobe Beef in Kobe

Kobe has many restaurants where you can enjoy Kobe beef prepared in various styles, such as teppanyaki, sukiyaki, or shabu shabu. For first-time visitors, I recommend trying teppanyaki as it is a great way to showcase the quality of the meat and there’s also an entertainment element of live cooking.

Grilled and sliced Kobe beef served on the plate.

Teppanyaki involves grilling the beef on a large, flat iron griddle (teppan) and the chef will do it right in front of you. You will hear the sound and smell the aroma of sizzling Kobe beef as it cooks, and it will be served hot straight from the griddle to your plate. The whole meal should take about an hour (or less than that if you are a fast eater).

Below are some well-known Kobe beef teppanyaki restaurants, all within walking distance from Sannomiya Station.  I’m not sure about their availability for walk-in guests, but if you’ve made it a goal to eat Kobe beef in Kobe, it’s better to make a reservation.

  • Kobe Beef Steak Ishida: This is where we had our teppanyaki lunch. We made our reservation by filling out a form on their website and received a confirmation email the next day. They have several locations around Sannomiya Station and will notify you of your dining location. I will review our meal later in this post.
  • Kobe Beef Steak Mouriya: Here’s another well-known steakhouse in Kobe. They also have several locations just like Ishida. You can fill out a form on their website to request reservation and they will email you back.
  • Bifteck Kawamura: Another long-standing steakhouse in the area. Reservations can be made similarly to Ishida and Mouriya.

The restaurants above also have several locations in nearby cities, in case you don’t have time to try Kobe beef in Kobe. For example, Ishida has a branch in Osaka, Mouriya in Gion (Kyoto) and Kawamura in Himeji and Tokyo as well.

Prices will vary depending on the beef cuts and grades. These teppanyaki restaurants often have choices of sirloin or tenderloin (fillet) with tenderloin more expensive. Prices are quite similar among the places above. Overall, expect to pay upward of 10,000 yen per person. You can opt for lunch, which is cheaper than dinner, for better value for money. At a lower price range, you can take a look at Wakkoqu near Shin-Kobe Station.

Our Teppanyaki Meal at Kobe Beef Steak Ishida

We reserved two Kobe beef lunches with A5 sirloin and garlic rice. They mentioned that we could upgrade to more expensive courses or order additional items once at the restaurant.

After we had taken our seats, the staff brought out the piece of sirloin that would be cooked in front of us. While the chef prepared other ingredients and setup, we were served a tasty and refreshing appetizer with tender roast beef and tuna in vinegar. Then a small plate of salad which was just a simple green salad.

a thick cut of A5 sirloin wagyu at Beef Steak Ishida in Kobe.
Our A5 sirloin
a plate of roast beef and tuna appetizer.
Roast beef and tuna appetizer

Once we finished these small plates, our chef started cooking the beef. He divvied up the meat into different parts, separating out some trimmings and thick fat. The steak was grilled while the fat was chopped up and rendered on the other side of the teppan.

Chef separating beef on the teppan in Kobe Beef Steak Ishida restaurant.

They recommended medium rare and the beef looked glistening and tasted juicy and tender. Vegetables, including zucchini, sweet potato, and tofu, were then grilled in the rendered beef fat.

Kobe beef cooked on the teppan in Kobe Beef Steak Ishida restaurant.
vegetables being grilled on the teppan.

We were given different types of salt, mustard and dipping sauces for the beef and veggies. The chef would suggest the preferred salt or sauce whenever he transferred the cooked beef and veggies to our plates.

cubes of grilled Kobe A5 sirloin beef at Beef Steak Ishida restaurant.

I would say the beef wasn’t the best we’ve had, but we’ve tried premium beef including wagyu in high-end restaurants in Japan and outside of Japan multiple times. For someone who hasn’t tried premium wagyu, I’m sure they will feel impressed by the tenderness, buttery texture and rich flavor of Kobe beef. I did enjoy the grilled veggies.

Our chef knew enough English to introduce the food and have some simple conversation. We learned that he was from Nagasaki and after learning we were from Vietnam, he shared that he knew some Vietnamese words as he had Vietnamese friends in Kobe.

Only after the chef finished cooking the steak did we understand what the trimmings and fatty parts being rendered were for. Part of them was used in the garlic fried rice, which was delicious.

Beef trimmings and fat being rendered on the teppan.
Beef fat and trimmings

The garlic fried rice was an extra small cost in the meal at Ishida, and it was worth it, as it soaked up many flavors from grilling the beef on the teppan. The rice was flavorful and I loved its texture, soft-chewy in a pleasant and satisfying way. The staff brought out miso soup and pickles to accompany the fried rice.

the chef cooking garlic fried rice on the teppan at Kobe Beef Steak Ishida restaurant.

The remaining trimmings were used to stir-fry bean sprouts, which turned out to be delicious too. These beef fats and trimmings became crisp with some slight chew and the beansprouts absorbed all the flavors from cooking the beef just like the fried rice.

Chef stir-frying the fried rice on the teppan at Kobe Beef Steak Ishida.

Honestly, I think I enjoyed the fried rice and stir-fried bean sprouts even more than the beef. Not that the beef wasn’t good – it was – but to me, the rice and bean sprouts provided more of a surprising and interesting element. Finally, we ended the meal with some refreshing yuzu ice cream.

In terms of service and atmosphere, the chef and servers were all quite friendly and made us feel comfortable. They were clearly familiar with serving international visitors. Our chef saw us on our way out and said Thank you in Vietnamese. Another chef of the restaurant recommended we try nodoguro after learning we would be in Kanazawa for a few days.

Is It Worth It?

I think our teppanyaki meal was tasty and a fun experience to remember in Japan. At 30,000 yen total for two of us, it could certainly be considered a splurge. So was it worth it? There’s no straightforward answers as each traveler has different interests, priorities and budgets. It will depend on individual expectations and experiences.

If you are pretty familiar with high-end dining, it may not wow you. There’s other premium wagyu in Japan, such as Matsusaka, Hida, or even premium Kyoto beef is also really good. For about the same prices, you could also enjoy a decent kaiseki meal, sushi omakase, yakitori omakase, or French fine dining.

As part of an experience of traveling to Kobe plus the interactive and entertainment aspect of the meal, I think it was worth it for us. The live cooking and interaction with the chef added a bit more beyond just the food. I wouldn’t mind trying it again, maybe with different cuts or grades or at a different restaurant for comparison.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Kobe solely to eat Kobe beef. Instead, you should combine it with some sightseeing in the area. Here’s what we did: we took a combined day trip from Osaka to Himeji and Kobe.

We started with Himeji Castle in the morning. After exploring the castle, we took the train to Kobe and had lunch at Ishida. After that, we took the Nunobiki Ropeway to Nunobiki Herb Gardens and had a lovely walk down the mountains. It was a pretty long but beautiful day in Hyogo Prefecture, adding another wonderful memory to our travels in Japan.

view of Kobe city, the port and a cable car from Nunobiki Ropeway.

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