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“As Japanese as it gets, and really good food.”
Review of Niki's Tokyo Inn

Niki's Tokyo Inn
Ranked #898 of 4,648 Restaurants in San Antonio
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: Sushi, Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Reservations
San Antonio, TX
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“As Japanese as it gets, and really good food.”
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.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
3 Thank CFV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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37 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    5
Rating summary
    Food
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    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
San Antonio
Level 4 Contributor
34 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Favorite Authentic Japanese Food Restaurant in Town”
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.

Helpful?
1 Thank RChapman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Antonio
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Come on Tuesdays and Wednesdays--that's when the freshest surprises come in!”
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.

Helpful?
2 Thank flange5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sa, tx
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“the night i stopped going”
Reviewed July 29, 2009

I was trying to impress my, then boyfriend, to try Japanese food. It was his first time trying Japenese food. I had been bragging to him of the delicious food me & my daughter (7 y/o) would eat by ourselves every Friday. We simply loved it! Upon leaving, my boyfriend & daughter went outside ahead of me, & being my treat to them, i stayed behind to pay the bill. Pat, the waiter & owner? Had followed them outside demanding a tip! He was saying how the staff work hard for a tip! My boyfriend was flabbergasted! And speechless! When it was just me & my dtr I would always leave a tip when paying on a credit card. By the time I got outside to hear all the commotion, I explained to Pat I indeed left a tip while paying inside! He was'n hearing any of it! Needless to say, Pat did an about face & returned inside the restaraunt. My boyfriend was so embarrassed he said he will never set foot in that place again! I just felt horrible! That was 5 years ago, now married, we have not returned. That was just plain rude, & they made good $ off of me!!! Had he remained inside & not harass the customers, we'd probably still go there..

    • Value
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    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank JackSa_Tx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shazam17
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Niki's Tokyo Inn /good experiences,could be even better.”
Reviewed July 17, 2009

I have eaten at Niki's for 20 years and counting and can say it is very consistent. To the reveiwer who states the fish at other sushi places is probably made form frozen fish, I must say that nearly all inland sushi places use previously frozen fish. This is actually much fresher tasting than trying to keep the fish in a perfect state with all the miles it has to travel. That being said, I never order salmon unless a sushi restaurant specifically states it is wild as farm raised salmon is about the most nasty tasting thing I have ever put in my mouth and if others cannot detect the difference, they need to eat fresh ,wild salmon and if they can't tell a difference, then something is wrong with their taste buds!
Back to Niki's , always consistent in service(slow) , to cuisine(generally quite good).
I can live with the service. But my top suggestions would be to :
1) list the type of frying oil they use as many items that are not in the sushi category are fried and I for one, detest trans fat(partially hydrogenated oil) in my food and when I asked the waiter(son of the owner) dismissed me out of hand (as if my question was the most annoying question he ever had posed to him). If using transfat oils, pleae switch to a healthier choice. My favorite is rice bran oil(high smoke point, clean, odorless and creates wonderful textures when frying , and can also be used for vinigrettes,etc)
2) Update the wine list to include boutique white wines from France and Italy that are unoaked and delicous with their style of foods. (Now they have the ubiquitous plum wines and some other junky wines from the large distributors.) Maybe also consider having a couple higher quality sake items that can be served cold (in addition to the hot lower quality sake they have now-which does still serve a purpose)
3) Include (when in season) fish that are flown in fresh and make a point of telling or listing the clientele so they have a choice to order higher quality fish and be even happier at the end of the meal.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Shazam17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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