Niseko tends to be crowded during the year-end Holidays and so the only feasible way to ensure that you get to eat at the best restaurants in the area is to book in advance.
Most of the restaurants we went to only had a few tables, which was typical in the area, and so I had to book pretty early (6 to 3 weeks in advance). Also, Joaquin, our 9-year-old, has a severe fish allergy which meant we had to avoid sushi and sashimi. But it’s alright, Japan had fantastic beef anyway!
Here is the list of the restaurants we visited in Niseko particularly in Hirafu and Hanazono ski resorts. Perhaps you can find here something that you’d like to try this winter:
HIRAFU VILLAGE AREA
The Barn by Odin
This is first on our list because the food and ambience here were most memorable. It’s located in lower Hirafu away from the crowd on the main road.
Food: The menu is limited but everything that we ordered tasted delicious. The most unforgettable was the Wagyu Beef Tenderloin served with wasabi! We also ordered oysters, mussels, wagyu strips, and also tiramisu for dessert. Ambience: One of a kind! The restaurant looked pretty inside and out. Intimate but casual. The staff here was exceptional during our visit! You have to try this restaurant!
My pictures would not do the food justice so please visit their website here.
Swiss raclette and cheese fondue are the main items on the menu. Why Swiss fondue in Japan? Because it’s great in winter! We thoroughly and absolutely enjoyed our food and time at The Alpinist. This restaurant is an absolute must-try! My boys were really grateful that I managed to find such a fantastic restaurant. 5-stars!
Food: From cold cuts to hot soup and crispy salad, and of course the cheese fondue and the dessert, my kids enjoyed everything. At the end of the meal, our experience was made even more special when a staff came to us and asked, “how about I make you kirsch for the road?” Now that is what I call service! (watch the video below) Ambience: Relaxed, fun, and during the entire dinner the wooded interiors brought us back to the Alps. The restaurant was on the top floor of Odin Place building, right on the main street of Hirafu. Nothing but happy crew and customers in this restaurant. Check their website here for updates.
Kirsch – Such a treat, thank you!
Steak Rosso Rosso
Another night of good wagyu. The staff was extremely accommodating The space here is limited, like most restaurants in Niseko, so reserve in advance. When we were there, 3 of the other tables were occupied by families and some seemed to be frequent customers and they were chatting with the staff like old friends. Check their website here for updates.
Niseko Soan Yakiniku BBQ Restaurant
A popular yakiniku restaurant in Niseko. Busy but courteous staff. Too casual for my hubby though who wanted to just finish our food and go. The meat here was fresh and cheap. I just wish they had more meat items on the menu. We would probably be looking for other yakiniku places the next time we visit Niseko. They have no website but you can find them on facebook.
Food on Wheels
There were Indian food and pizza on wheels right on the main road of Hirafu. There were always people queueing. Will definitely try this next time…
Seico Mart Take-Away Dinner
They have a wide range of Japanese takeaway dinner here. Cheap food but I bet good nonetheless. We came to this mart to get breakfast items. If Joaquin didn’t have allergies, we would definitely have given the take-away lunch or dinner boxes a try!
HANAZONO NISEKO AREA
308 Restaurant and Café
This cafeteria is in the main building of the resort. This was where we had lunch every day because my kids did not want to spend more than half an hour away from the slopes. Do try the Kani ramen, I had it a few times! The coffee and hot choco were perfect, and I had them several times along with countless slices of banana cake and brownie while my boys were out snowboarding. Here’s the resort website.
Hana 1 Café
This café is located at the base of Hanazono Lift Quad #1 where I had to wait for my boys as they ride down the slopes. They’ve got the perfect hot choco on a snowy day!
Niseko was memorable for us, not only because it was a winter wonderland, but also because it had great food. We look forward to going back there one of these winters. And I’m gonna eat my kani ramen again!
Note: We visited Niseko in Dec 2017. There are hundreds of nice restaurants in Niseko and we thought of sharing our choices not only to journalize our experiences but perhaps help you in your decisions, too. 🙂 Check the restaurant website links that I provided for their updated menu.