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Crab dishes come to mind when speaking of Hokkaido winter delicacies. Be it boiled, grilled, or simmered in a hot pot, there's a lot of ways to enjoy crab. Here are 10 dining spots serving delicious crab dishes in this region.
1. Shunkashuto Katsugyoryori Hokkai (Tomakomai / Japanese Cuisine)
Hokkai is a highly reputed restaurant in the port town of Tomakomai, a tourist spot which can be reached in around 30 minutes by car from the New Chitose Airport. At the center of the restaurant is a huge fish tank surrounded by counter seats. The seafood is taken out from there directly after ordering, meaning that guests can enjoy superbly fresh dishes. Especially popular are the dishes using Japan's top three crab varieties (horsehair crab, red king crab, and snow crab). Enjoy them in various simple ways here, like boiled in salty water, grilled, and battered and deep-fried (tempura).
Shunkashuto Katsugyoryori Hokkai
Open: [Tuesday - Sunday] Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
[Tuesday - Saturday] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY
Access: Restaurant district Go west on Nijo-dori and it is on your right.
Address: 1F Hokkai Bldg. , 2-5-7 Nishikimachi, Tomakomai, Hokkaido (Map)
2. Kita no Donburiya Takinami Shokudo (Otaru / Japanese Cuisine)
Takinami Shikudo can be found inside Sankaku Market, just off Otaru Station. It is a popular dining spot where you can taste fresh seafood every day. Inside is a fish tank where horsehair crab, red king crab, and even the rare blue king crab are kept alive until they are to be cooked and served. Of course, aside from crab, they have other kinds of Hokkaido seafood delicacies, such as salmon roe and sea urchin. There are even a plethora of rice bowl dishes, which includes the [Wagamama-don] wherein you can choose 3 to 4 items you like from among a selection of popular toppings. It wouldn't be surprising if you didn't know what to order!
Kita no Donburiya Takinami Shokudo
Open: 8:00 - 17:00
Average price: [Dinner] 1,500 JPY
Access: Located within “Otaru Triangle Market,” right outside of Otaru Station.
Address: Sankaku Ichiba-nai, 3-10-16 Inaho, Otaru, Hokkaido (Map)
3. Futagoyama Shoji (Sapporo / Japanese Cuisine)
Futagoyama Shoji is an izakaya (Japanese pub) serving seafood cuisine in the district of Susukino in Sapporo. It is popular among local foodies. Their seafood is kept in a fish tank built of the restaurant, and enjoyed as sashimi, sushi, hot pot, and in many other ways. Make sure to try their horsehair crab freshly taken from the tank and simply boiled. You'll get to taste its rich umami (Japanese savory taste) and uniquely-flavored innards. Another recommendation is the grilled red king crab that you won't be able to resist for its appetizing aroma and soft, flaky meat. There is also a crab course meal for those who want to taste an array of dishes all at once.
Open: [Weekday/Saturday/Day before holiday] Normal hours 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Closed: Sunday, National Holidays
Average price: [Dinner] 6,000 JPY
Access: Five minute walk from Susukino Station, Nanboku Subway Line
Address: Ota Bldg. 3F , Minami Rokujo Nishi 3chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
4. Marukan Gyogyobu Umigakihonten (Hakodate / Seafood Izakaya)
Marukan Gyogyobu Umigakihonten is a seafood izakaya (Japanese pub) located 3 minutes on foot from Hakodate Station. The 2-story interior features an open design. From the counter seats, diners can see how dishes are cooked in the kitchen. It's also a delight to watch the fish swimming around the fish tank. The proprietor, a former fisherman, carefully inspects and chooses the seafood. In particular, they make sure to procure horsehair crab when it's in season from different fishing ports depending on the time of the year. Their menu includes kaisen-don (rice bowl dish with seafood) that is lavishly topped with crab.
Marukan Gyogyobu Umigakihonten
Open: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am
Average price: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY
Access: A 3-minute walk straight through the shopping arcade at the main (front) exit of JR Hakodate station.
Address: 6-14 Matsukaze-cho , Hakodate, Hokkaido (Map)
5. Hakodate Kaisenryori Kaikobo (Hakodate / Japanese Izakaya)
Kaikobo is situated in Hakodate Asaichi, which is a well-known gourmet spot. At this restaurant, you can select your favorite seafood from a 9-ton fish tank, the largest in the Donan area, and have it cooked on the spot. Of course, various kinds of crabs are available and are served boiled, char-grilled, as sashimi, or in any other style you want. The varied menu includes crab salad, crab gratin, and kani-don (rice bowl dish topped with crab). Their [Kani Chahan], a dish of fried rice stuffed in a crab shell and topped with crab meat, is hugely popular.
Hakodate Kaisenryori Kaikobo
Open: Lunch 11:00 am -2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm) / Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 4,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,500 JPY
Access: A 3-minute walk from JR Hakodate station towards the Hakodate Asaichi Market.
Address: 11-8 Wakamatsu-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido (Map)
6. Nizakana Sashimi Shunsai Uminoshiki (Sapporo / Japanese Cuisine)
Uminoshiki is a seafood restaurant located in the Susukino district of Sapporo. They offer course meals using top-quality ingredients, which include kinki (broadbanded thornyhead) and kue (longtooth grouper). Choose according to your preference and budget from options such as the [Luxury Crab Course], where you can fully enjoy red king crab, horsehair crab, snow crab, and blue king crab, or the [Shabu-shabu Course], a hot pot dish of crab and kinki. There's also an extensive selection of alcohol, including 20 kinds of sake and 30 kinds of shochu (types of Japanese alcohol). All their seats are in private rooms, so you can relax while enjoying the luxurious flavors of their food.
Nizakana Sashimi Shunsai Uminoshiki
Open: Normal hours 6:00 pm - 2:00 am
Average price: [Dinner] 6,300 JPY
Access: A 3-minute walk from Susukino station on the Nanboku subway line.
Address: G4 Bldg.6F , Minami Rokujo Nishi 4chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
7. Hakodate Dining Gaya (Hakodate / Seafood Izakaya)
Located next to Hakodate Asaichi, Gaya is a seafood izakaya that is committed to providing only the best local ingredients. They use live seafood that are kept in a huge aquarium to ensure maximum freshness. They offer four kinds of crabs, namely horsehair crab, red king crab, snow crab, and blue king crab. Aside from eating them boiled or as sashimi, you can have the crabs on top of a bowl of rice, which is a favorite of many. Their set meal of kaisen-don with crab and salmon roe, soba (buckwheat noodles), a drink, and dessert is a great lunch option.
Hakodate Dining Gaya
Open: [Opening hours] 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:00 pm). The above hours may vary depending on the season. / Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (last order 2:00 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 2,000 JPY
Access: A 2-minute walk from the west exit of JR Hakodate station. When facing Mt. Hakodate from the west exit, you will see the restaurant sign. Hakodate Morning Market Area entrance.
Address: 9-14 Wakamatsu-cho, Hakodate, Hokkaido (Map)
8. Kyodo Ryori Tei Sugi no Me Main Store (Sapporo / Japanese Cuisine)
Sugi no Me is a long-standing establishment located in a nearly 70-year-old stone warehouse in the Susukino area of Sapporo. In this restaurant where an old and refined Japanese ambience pervades, you can enjoy Hokkaido cuisine made with local ingredients. A recommended item for those who want to indulge in crab is the [Kani Kaiseki] (Japanese banquet cuisine with alcohol). Take a moment to savor the extravagant crab dishes, which includes boiled horsehair crab, grilled red king crab, crab salad, and crab with rice. For a-la-carte dishes, their [Horsehair Crab Chilled in Iced Water], is a popular sashimi item that is enjoyed for the soft texture of the meat. Since they only use, and therefore have to pick out, horsehair crabs with a lot of meat in them, they require their guests to make reservations 2 days in advance.
Kyodo Ryori Tei Sugi no Me Main Store
Open: [Weekday/Saturday/Day before holiday] 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:30 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 10,000 JPY
Access: Three minute walk from subway Nanboku Line Susukino Station.
Address: Minami Gojonishi 5, Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
9. Kani Ryori & Washoku Kanikichi (Sapporo / Japanese Cuisine)
Situated 5 minutes on foot from Odori Station in Sapporo, Kanikichi is a dining spot that prides itself in its crab dishes. You can enjoy a diverse range of dishes, such as boiled horsehair crab, red king crab tempura, crab shumai (dumplings), and crab salad in a calm Japanese atmosphere. The menu mainly consists of three kinds of course dishes, and you can choose which course meal to get according to your budget. Even better, their dishes, like baked buttered potatoes, make use of ingredients unique to Hokkaido, and their menu features local sake.
Kani Ryori & Washoku Kanikichi
Open: [Weekdays, Saturdays, and the day before national holidays] Lunch 11:30 am - 2:30 pm (L.O. 2:00 pm) / Dinner 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm (L.O. 10:00 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 7,000 JPY / [Lunch] 1,000 JPY
Access: A 5-minute walk from exit 1 of the Odori subway station, or a 3-minute walk from Nishi Juichichome station on the Tozai line.
Address: Kitako Odori Park Bldg. B1F , 9-1-1 Odorinishi , Chuo-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido (Map)
10. Aiyo Odori Branch (Sapporo / Seafood Izakaya)
Aiyo is an izakaya located about 5 minutes on foot from Odori Station in Sapporo. Enjoy the unique taste of Hokkaido with ingredients like meat, vegetables, and seafood that are procured from various parts of the region. A must-try dish is their [Roasted Red King Crab]. Delight in the tenderness and sweetness of the deliciously roasted leg of a large red king crab. Aside from crab, their dishes of rare beef brands like the Yakumo beef loin steak are best sellers. They also have an abundant lineup of drinks, including Sapporo Classic beer, which is only sold in Hokkaido, and shochu.
Aiyo Odori Branch
Open: 5:00 pm - 12:00 am (L.O. 11:30 pm)
Average price: [Dinner] 3,500 JPY
Access: 5-minute walk from Odori Station. Above the Sunkus next to Tanukikoji 5-chome.
Address: 5-1, Minami 2-jo Nishi, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido (Map)
You are sure to find lots of restaurants serving delicious crab dishes aside from the ones on this list. When you visit Hokkaido, make sure to try them all!