Minatoan: Tasty homemade Japanese soba near Yokosuka

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Minatoan: Tasty homemade Japanese soba near Yokosuka

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

At Minatoan, a popular soba noodle shop in Yokohama, don’t expect to find the standard grey noodles you’ll find at any other soba shop around Japan.

Here, chefs in the soba-making studio visible from the dining room ground buckwheat seeds into a fine powder, shedding the dark shells, and creating a fine white flour. This then gets mixed into a white transparent dough used for the noodles, which are the base of all the dishes served in the restaurant.

The restaurant itself can accommodate nearly 60 guests, but there is always a line outside for the unique white soba noodles served inside.

Inside, the seating provides a classic Japanese setting with white walls, bamboo pillars, dimmed lighting and wooden tables. From the dining area, a large window gives diners a great view of the chefs kneading and stretching soba noodles served fresh daily.

Despite the sophisticated dining atmosphere, my meal was inexpensive. I ordered one of the shop’s most popular menu items, “tsuketen,” a set of soba noodles and assorted tempura for 968 yen (about $9).

When my meal arrived, I was overwhelmed by the large portion of soba noodles on the plate – large enough for nearly two people! And, this wasn’t even the largest serving. If you have a big appetite, order the “Fujisan-mori” portion. For an extra 220 yen, you’ll get 2.2 pounds of noodles. That’s a lot of noodle. But for me, my regular portion was quite a challenge to finish.

My tsuketen had a great aroma and the flavors burst in my mouth the more I chewed. The broth was slightly dry, and the tempura shrimp, eggplant, pumpkin, bell pepper, onion and carrot, were fried to perfection. All of the elements of this meal were in harmony, bringing out the rich flavors of the unique white soba and the deep broth.

Besides tsuketen, Minatoan offers a variety of soba noodle dishes, including soba with ground potato and seaweed, soba with mochi or curry and chicken starting at around 600 yen.

Prefer your soba cold? Minatoan also serves up cold noodles perfect for the summer heat. And if you have picky eaters in the group, don’t miss Minatoan’s katsudon, a fried pork cutlet on top of rice, oyakodon, rice bowl topped with chicken and egg, or their curry don, curry and rice. The menu is extensive and also includes many traditional Japanese appetizers like fried oysters, tofu salads, fried chicken and more.

If you are in Yokosuka, your quest to finding this unique soba is a mere 30-minute drive away. Minatoan offers the soba noodles you never knew you wanted to try and the price will keep you coming back for more. Plus, soba is the perfect dish to keep you warm this winter season. Give it a try!

Location: 5-23-24 Konandai, Konan-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Pref.
Hours: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.
URL: minatoan.com/
Tel: 045-833-4111 

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