If you’ve never experienced an authentic Korean Style BBQ (grilling actually) then you have to visit Yami-Ichi Johnnie Korean Style Restaurant in Matsuyama. “Yami-ichi” in Japanese means “black market”. It’s best to call ahead and reserve a private booth. The restaurant features a small bar and seating booths for parties of 4 to 6. There’s a larger sitting area for bigger groups.
Food is selected before you sit or you can order after being seated. The food ranges from cuts of beef, pork, sausage, vegetables, chicken or just about anything you can imagine. For a party you can start out with a party tray of food items. During the meal you can order anything else you want. Like any good Japanese restaurant, there are menus showing the items you can order. This restaurant has a menu showing parts of the cow you can order from.
The food is cooked by the customers over a very hot Korean style BBQ (charcoal grill). The grill is quite hot but the room is vented so there’s no smoke, but you do feel the heat from the grill. It’s customary to take turns cooking the food and offering to others before serving yourself. If you know someone is particularly fond of an item, it’s good to offer it to them as a treat.
When the grill gets overheated, ice is placed over the flames to keep the heat under control. This is a good opportunity for chatting and enjoying each other’s company. The restaurant serves makkori, a Korean style sake which is a milky white color. It tastes like Japanese sake, only different. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a try. It’s good.
The restaurant has a fun, informal atmosphere about it. The interior is decorated with old Japanese movie posters, old outdoor enamel signs from the 60’s and other nostalgic mementos of the past. It’s a worthwhile visit if you want to enjoy great food cooked Korean style. It has a relatively large (for Japan) parking lot for guests. It’s located in downtown Matsuyama.
Name in Japanese
闇市ジョニー — yami-ichi joni — Yami-Ichi Johnnie