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“Grilled eels on rice - no one to top this one yet!”

Atsuta Horaiken Honten
Ranked #2 of 16,069 Restaurants in Nagoya
Certificate of Excellence
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Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Special occasions, Families with children
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations
Reviewed May 31, 2014

My friend in Toyko knew that I love Grilled eels on rice and she strongly recommended me to try this restaurant in Nagoya. So this last April, on my way from Osaka to Tokyo on JR, I stopped by Nagoya for four hours just to see how good it is. The restaurant has four branches, two in the Matsuzakaya Department Store and the other two are free standing shops in the same negihborhood. I went to the second oldest shop and atlas, when I arrived, I found the shop was closed on that day of the week (which is not unusual in Japan and on this, please make sure you check beforehand in similar endeavours in the future to avoid disappointment). In despair, I talked to a passerby who happened to understand English and he pointed me to a flyover close by and said the oldest shop Atsuta Horaiken Honten was within walking distance. It only took me fifteen minutes to walk there. Glad that it was open for business (so they close on different days of the week so that one could always find one that opens). It is an old Japanese styled house with a little court yard at the entrance. Since I knew that this place is well patronized most of the time, I had chosen before I started my journey to have early dinner at 5+pm to avoid the crowd. I was one of the first guests to arrive and was shown to a G/F section with only four tables and a nice view of the garden at the back. I had to sit tatami style on a thin cushion on the floor. I ordered the one and a half portion of Grilled eel and rice, and a dish of grilled eel liver. They were fantastic!!! The really tasty grilled eels covered the entire big bowl and they were crispy on the outside and tender within. The rice was superbly cooked and chewy. I had done my homework before I came and knew that there are four suggested ways to consume the meal : 1. Put the first quarter of the big bowl of eel rice into a small bowl and taste its original flavour. 2. There is a small dish of chopped green onion and dried sea weed slivers in the meal tray (some wasabi too if you like it), so mix well the second quarter of the big bowl with these two condiments again in the small bowl before you consume it . 3. There is a jug of tea broth in the tray so mix the third quarter of the bowl with this liquid (just enough tea to cover the rice in the small bowl will do) and try a different flavour. 4. After tasting it the above three ways, devour the remaining quarter in the way that you liked most. For me, mixing the grilled eel and rice with green onion and seaweed suited me most although I think that you would not lose much if you stick to just eating the whole thing without any variations. The grilled eel liver was also good but may not be everybody's liking. The servers in kimono were pleasant and unobtrusive. This place is definitely worth another visit in the future.

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1  Thank Ricky Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 25, 2013

This was a great experience. The location is very close to the local shrine, but make sure you plane on going early as it is well known and there was even a line up of a couple people when we went at 1600 on a rainy day with threat of mild typhoon weather. Very importantly, the non-smoking area is completely separate from the smoking area. The service is professional and standard fare for Japan, but the Unagi was fantastic and a very deep flavour. It was fun to eat it plain, with condiments, with tea etc and I would definitely return for more if I was in the area again. It is so easy to take for granted all of the great food and service in Japan, but this was one of the highlights which reminds we why I love the simple pleasures of this country so much!

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1  Thank Voodew
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 29, 2013

Always being the one to buy the 'nice' one from the shops, this doesn't compare! By far, this is the tenderest, most tasteful eel you will ever have had! And to boot, the staff are brilliant, from the guys outside helping you park to the ladies that serve you and the matre'd. They are all great and so attentive! The whole family was satisfied and so happy we made the effort to go! Totally worthwhile, if you are in that neck of the woods.

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1  Thank Toby L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2011

Hitsumabushi, is one of Nagoya City's food specialties. It is a rice topping meal of slow grilled fresh water eel or unagi. This restaurant is the one it is famous for. They have several branches throughout the city, the main one is near the Atsuta Shrine, an institution recognized as of national historical importance.

Ordering Hitsumabusi is a course meal composed of clear soup with eel heart, a box of condiments, particular some curry like spice, nori seaweed slivers, and soup stock. There is a systematic way to eat hitsumabushi. One should start by consuming the soup, followed by the rice topping. To start of the rice topping, you must divide the content into four portions of which. one must eat sequentially in the provided extra rice bowl each of the quarter portions of:

rice and unagi only
rice, unagi and nori seaweed condiments
rice, unagi, nori and the clear soup stock...

the last portion is your best, among the three styles. My oersonal choice would always be the first one because it highlights the tenderness and delicate flavors of the unagi.

As a summer food, unagi is believed to have a cooling effect for the body. Thus expect that during the summer months of june to august, peaking at july this restaurant has a long line. Unagi day falls on the mid summer (third week of July) which according to Japanese meteorology, is the day of the last rains and warm humid days are to start.

The way of cutting the unagi in Nagoya is always from the back as a respect for the Seppuku rites of the Samurai (also in Tokyo) and the slow broiling technique of Kansai. It is said thatnthe Nagoya style of preparing unagi is a hybrid of these two distinct schools of cooking influences.

I forgot to mention earlier that one of the condiments is the green onion slices. The set also comes with sweetish pickled vegetables.

All in all the Houraiken experience is a must, and with this anyone would never eat unagi the same way again.




rice, unagi

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6  Thank NeilHTG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 5 days ago via mobile
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Thank kbmt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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