Asima Cafe & Restaurant, Minakami

Locals highly recommend this "Yaki Curry" specialist

By Rufus Starbuck    - 3 min read

Asima is a bit of a Minakami landmark. It’s that place that does the Yaki Curry - oven-baked curries topped with a generous serving of cheese. From the constantly full car park it seems that plenty of people have also heard good things about it. Indeed on the day we went, the car park outside the restaurant was already full and we ended up in the overflow car park on the other side of the road.

In a town where many restaurants tend to look a little dated and grimy, Asima is a welcome exception. It has an airy wooden interior that is part rustic chic and part homely. There is also an outside terrace that has a good view of the mountains (but is right next to the main road from Minakami Interchange to Tanigawadake) - prime location for a restaurant. It must do well out of the tourists who come to the town. The Tone River is on the other side of the street and there is also a rafting company opposite. While we were there a video of the outdoor activities in the area was on a loop on the Asima televisions entertaining the lunch time crowds.

Everyone you ask about restaurants in Minakami recommends Asima. Its signature dish is the baked curry which is really good. There are several different main ingredients that you can choose from (the sausages are awesome!) which come in a tasty curry sauce with melted cheese bubbling on top. This feast comes out of the kitchen in a terracotta dish on a wooden serving platter and a polite reminder not to burn yourself.

The advice I’d been given before coming here was to try the chicken plate as this was the best choice for the greedy. The photo doesn’t really do it justice as it comes out on a really big plate with really big cutlery so it is hard to tell how impressive it is. A very filling lunch consisting of rice, potato wedges, salad and a chicken steak in foil, swimming in gravy and covered in the obligatory melted cheese. The meal was rounded off nicely with an iced coffee and a little espresso cup of vanilla ice cream.

The restaurant is a very relaxing place to spend some time and if lashings of cheese aren’t your thing, the coffee is very good and the cakes in the chiller look very tempting. Asima is very central to Minakami so should fit into any itinerary with ease.

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Rufus Starbuck

Rufus Starbuck @rufus.starbuck

Hanging out in the mountains of Niigata. Arrived by accident and yet to leave. Seem to spend far too much time eating... 

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