SRF Café offers break from standard base cuisine at Yokosuka
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan – One of the things I dislike the most about living on base is the food choices. They essentially boil down to either Subway, greasy burgers or fried chicken with only a few variations in between.
I’ve often wondered to myself, “Why, on a U.S. base in Japan, isn’t there a restaurant offering quick, somewhat healthy Japanese food?” I was openly complaining about this one day in one of my college classes when a fellow classmate informed me about the SRF Café, which I later found out is officially called the Oasis Cafeteria. I was familiar with the Ship Repair Facility and knew they employed many Japanese workers on base, but had no idea they ran a dining facility. I had never seen or heard of such a thing on Yokosuka Naval Base, and I’m someone who has walked, biked or ran through almost every square inch of the base extensively.
The directions I received were pretty vague. “It’s behind the fleet theater” was the only guidance, yet behind the base theater were several featureless and identical looking buildings. I asked someone nearby for directions and rode a small elevator up the 4th floor. Upon exiting, I was surprised to see a small cafeteria serving Japanese base workers and a smattering of U.S. Navy personnel. The rest of the building was empty and industrial looking, nothing that at all indicated such a facility existed within. I was also surprised to see the café prominently display the Navy Exchange logo as I had never seen the café advertised anywhere, ever.
The café is divided roughly into two sections. The first is the Udon counter, which serves several noodle based dishes, to include: Tempura Udon, Tofu Udon, Curry Udon, or just plain Udon. The other counter seemed to be more for beef bowl or other meat-dishes such as pork curry, tempura or pork ginger. The café also offers special lunch sets, including meatballs or rigatoni.
Many of the meal sets come with salad and/or miso soup. There were also various side dishes available, such as spam, rice balls, and French fries. Lines for the Café weren’t too bad until roughly noon, when apparently half of the Japanese workers are let out for lunch and they rushed into the café, forming lines 10-15 people deep at the counters. The café also offers a loyalty card where, after purchasing nine meals, your 10th meal is free.
Now, a good question to ask is “is the food any good?” Yes, but keep in mind that the SRF Café is a cafeteria and food is served in an assembly line format. So, maybe the setting isn’t as nice as restaurants off base. Overall, the food isn’t bad and convenience is the main thing here. You can grab a quick, cheap bite to eat and not want to sink into a food coma for the rest of the afternoon. It’s a nice break from the endless amount of chain-store eateries that dot the landscape at seemingly every military base.
On a side note, right next to the café is a minimart which contains snacks, drinks and toiletries. This is only worth mentioning because it offers a small selection of Japanese candy, drinks and snacks, most of which the other minimart on base does not carry. Both the café and minimart are cash only and accept either U.S. dollars or Japanese yen.
Name: Oasis Cafeteria
Location: Building 2043 – 4th floor, located behind the base Fleet Theater.
Hours: Mon – Fri 1115 – 1245
Phone #: 046-896-2144 / DSN: 241-2144