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“Forget About it Unless You Want Trouble” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Niki's Tokyo Inn

Niki's Tokyo Inn
819 W Hildebrand Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212-2127 (North Central)
210-736-5471
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Ranked #608 of 4,137 Restaurants in San Antonio
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: North Central
San Antonio, Texas
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Forget About it Unless You Want Trouble”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2011

The food is real and so is a so called Head Waiter named "Pat". We have years of doing business with this place then a final occurrence. Upon entering this place the last time we were informed that we were "Bad Tippers" and not even to talk or sit down but to immediately leave. It was a flat lie. They loved our money to this point. So unless you tip an intuitive 30% or more then you will be thrown our in front of all persons. The service is very slow and multi-persons wait on you to add to the confusion. If this is what you want then they are for you. But it would be a better just to give your money to the bums that hang out next door waiting to break into your car then go inside and listen to a commoner named "pat" and his narrrow minded staff.

  • Visited January 2011
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    12
    7
    5
    0
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
San Antonio, Texas
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Wear socks. Also, Pat went to Yale.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2010

First off, wear socks, sitting on the floor is a must to appreciate the wonderful atmosphere of this place, and it's required that you are sock-footed to do so.


Secondly, It's rare to be the intellectual inferior to the person waiting on you, but most of Pat's guests are. If you are a regular, you begin to notice that he is incredibly inquisitive and remembers even the details about you. He will treat you superbly if you do the same to him (please realize this is a family operation, and they cannot always have prompt service, as they prefer to keep as much as they can in the family, so if you come on a bad night, be patient, and don't hassle the wait staff, they'll remember it and reward you). You may wonder why, if Pat went to Yale he is a waiter at his family's restaurant? The answer is he (generally) enjoys it far more than being a journalist which, I believe, was his original career path.
Upon entering the place, you may wonder why they keep it in such disrepair. I've asked Pat, and he says they practice anti-advertising. They don't want more people to come. He has told me not to introduce people to his restaurant, because they get stressed out and become irritable if they are as busy as they often are (so he'd probably chastise me for writing this review). The owners are not in the business to get rich. They do what they do because it provides a living they can they enjoy it. Please allow them to enjoy it.

Be nice to them and they'll bring you treats from their garden, experimental deserts, or other delicacies, don't ask for them, if they like you, they'll come.

And of course, the food is absolutely scrumptious.
Suggestions:
Chicken Sticks - an interesting japanese take on fried chicken (also a very economical option)
Ribeye- only if you like fatty meat, wonderfully cooked and seasoned
Green Tea Ice Cream: odd, but very good. Sweeter than you would think.
Amaebi- sweet shrimp sushi
Cucumber Salad
Shrimp Tempura

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio, TX
1 review
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“As Japanese as it gets, and really good food.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2010

I'm half-Japanese, lived at Yokota AFB in Japan as a military brat, grew up with Japanese food. I've eaten at Niki's Tokyo Inn since 1981, nowadays about twice a month. Niki's isn't just a "Japanese restaurant," it's a Japanese family-owned, Japanese family-run restaurant. It's been in the same spot in an aging, blue collar neighborhood for 30+ years, so no, the building's not shiny and new; some might even call it a dive. But Japanese executives and employees from the Japanese car factory south of town routinely fill the small "special" rooms (which have Japanese style floor cushions and low tables, who'da thought?). Like me, they go there for the food, which is very, very good. They go there for the female sushi chef (a rarity), who actually did the required years of apprenticeship to _be_ a sushi chef, and who does the Ikebana flower arrangements throughout the place herself. They go there for the staff treat who their regulars like family, and please note, a little common sense goes a long way with them. Speed of service depends on the night: if the parking lot's full, and you hear a lot of Japanese being spoken by customers, your food's gonna take longer, plan accordingly. I think it's worth the wait. Finally, a "caveat emptor:" as others have mentioned and as is posted on Niki's door, it's an older, less affluent neighborhood, so when you go, don't leave your GPS-type valuables sitting in full view in your car.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Favorite Authentic Japanese Food Restaurant in Town”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 25, 2010

I first visited Niki's 30 years ago with a Taiwanese native (3 times in one week!) and most recently took a Japanese student and her Tokyo visitor here. They totally enjoyed the food and the hearing other diners speaking in their language. I had been concerned how they would rate it but the home sick student said I did a great job picking Niki's! I worry about the future of this institution and whether their next generation will keep it open.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Come on Tuesdays and Wednesdays--that's when the freshest surprises come in!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2009

I've been a regular at Niki's for a little over a year now, as my husband and I visit every week or so. The service speed is inversely proportional to the number of people there, but this is to be expected in a small family operation.

The food is excellent and the head waiter, Pat is hilarious, and if you are not a complete jerk or cretin, will treat you well. If you are rude to him or behave badly, he will have no compunction about letting you know. I don't see this as a flaw as some former guess apparently do. *shrugs*

So! The food! The Chuwan and ramen are both excellent, rich and flavorful, highly recommended. While you might not immediately think of curry, the curry is also excellent--just bear in mind that it is not Indian curry and enjoy!
I'm also a big fan of the yakisoba.

My husband generally makes a point to come in on Tuesday or Wednesday, as they fish in the Gulf over the weekend and Monday, so there are often things off the menu available then! He goes with the chef's recommendation generally.

If you go relatively frequently and are pleasant, don't be surprised if Pat starts adding little things to try or appetizers ^_^

Highly recommended! The first place we take visitors to San Antonio . . . except maybe Taco Taco, if it's the morning.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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