The Awesome Japanese Restaurant You Probably Don't Know About: Kitsho in Hotel Jen Manila

Tucked away in one corner of Hotel Jen Manila’s lobby is Kitsho, the hotel’s in-house Japanese restaurant and sake bar. Helmed by Executive Chef Matsuhiro Mizumoto, Kitsho offers authentic Japanese food—from sushi, sashimi, and tempura to gyudon, ramen, and a variety of noodle dishes, to a selection of mains you would traditionally find in a Japanese eatery’s menu. Manila is extremely known for discreet Japanese places flocked mostly by expats; Kitsho has the same unassuming vibe—quiet, neat, and understated.

We were able to try Kitsho’s Weekend Buffet (PhP980/head) last November when we stayed at the re-branded Hotel Jen (formerly Traders Hotel) along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City. But unlike the usual buffet wherein diners choose their preferred dishes from several stations, Kitsho’s has a slightly different concept: an a la carte eat-all-you-can, where you can select from a list of appetizers and mains for the chefs to cook, as well as from an assortment of sushi, sashimi, and desserts.


I settled in and checked out the list of dishes we can have cooked at Kitsho’s kitchen. How nice it was to be able to check out the colorful arrangement of freshly made sushi and sashimi laid out on the spread as the chefs prepare the dishes I had picked from my seat. While waiting for them to be cooked, I piled my plate with some Tuna Sashimi, Salmon Sashimi, Beef Sushi Roll with Asparagus, California Roll, and Spicy Tuna Roll. All were incredibly fresh and delectable.

By the time I came back to my seat, a server was headed towards me with a bowl of hot miso soup—my favorite way to start any Japanese meal. Shortly thereafter, my first few plates arrived: the Shrimp with Chili Sauce, Sara Udon, Beef Teppan, and Karaage. I loved the shrimps doused in a thick, spicy sauce which totally whet my appetite for more exquisite Japanese food ahead. The noodles were incredibly flavorful; the beef was surprisingly very tender; and the karaage was delightfully crisp.

Among the selections, there’s also tempura, tonkatsu, seafood fry, sukiyaki, chicken teriyaki, gyoza, and many more—but my favorite among them all was the Salmon Teppan, which was flavorful and delicate, with that slightly charred skin adding an insanely delicious dimension to the dish. I had multiple plates of this!

To be honest, I wasn’t able to take photos of the other dishes because I was so excited to eat (LOL) but the tempura was pretty good too, as well as the gyoza, tofu, and sautéed vegetables. Fresh fruits are available in the spread to cap off the meal.

During our visit, we got to try the Dirty Milkshakes from the nearby hotel café, Coffee.comSinful creations in mason jars, the milkshakes come in a range of colors and flavors. I found the chocolate and strawberry too sweet—my favorite was the Banana Caramel Popcorn, whose sweetness is balanced by the slight acidity of banana. The popcorn added some nice crunch.

For those who love sake, there’s a small bar area where you can enjoy a selection of Japanese wine. Sake, shochu, and beer are available, as well as a wide selection of cocktails. Take note though that this is not part of the Weekend Buffet.

Businessmen, whether staying in the hotel or not, can book the private rooms perfect for lunch or dinner meetings. Regular diners who are not here for business can also request the rooms if they wish to have a little privacy.

Kitsho’s interiors are traditional and something you would find out of a typical Japanese restaurant. No centerpiece to catch everyone’s attention or fancy wall installation that everyone would love to put on Instagram, but the good thing is that the place doesn’t distract diners of what they really came here for—the food, which is nothing short of remarkable.

Kitsho @ Hotel Jen Manila
Lobby Level, 3001 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Manila
+632.795.8888/ Fax: +632.795.8899
Budget: around PhP1,000 for buffet
ala carte menu: click here

Do you love Japanese food? Have you tried Kitsho? Which Japanese restaurants around Manila have you also visited?

My meal was sponsored by Hotel Jen Manila. All opinions, however, are my own.

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