Head north for ‘natto’
After visiting the natto museum and factory I had a strong craving for natto. Thankfully, there are a few restaurants near the museum that specialize in natto cooking. The restaurant that I went to is called Tenmasa. Tenmasa is located on the second floor of a corner building that is only a three minute walk away from Mito station.
The restaurant has an extensive menu. They specialize in natto dishes, but they also have various seafood dishes, including ankou nabe, which is a specialty of Ibaraki prefecture.
I had the natto course menu, which was only ¥1,500. The course menu came with five different dishes that use natto, a bowl of rice, and pickled vegetables. However, if you want to just try one or a few select natto dishes, they have thirteen different natto dishes that you can choose from. I was surprised at how many natto dishes they had and the many diverse ways you can use natto for cooking. Overall, the meal was delicious and the natto really accented each dish. My favorite and most surprising dish was the natto tempura; it was sandwiched between two shiso leaves and then lightly fried like normal tempura. If you have ever been curious about natto, but not game enough to try, this might be a good dish to start with.
If you like natto or want to try some unique natto dishes, I highly recommend Tenmasa. Not only is it close to the train station, their food is really delicious.