By Paul Walsh
Otis! originally opened in 1987 and it's been the same ever since: a small space full of nostalgic charm The original owners are now slightly older – one still passionate about healthy American food, the other still a live music fan. Between the live performances in the evenings and the line of office workers dropping by for lunch, Otis! is always busy no matter what time of the day.
Otis! is a great place to have a quiet drink or enjoy a tasty piece of pie. Several times a month, there are live music events held here by small, independent bands performing anything from Classical to Blues and Rock.
Otis! has a loyal group of patrons from the international community, alongside the occasional travelers and sometimes you will even see famous entertainers drop in due to its location across the street from the two big events halls.
Having said that, they have had their fair share of big names coming here. You can see the artwork and signatures of famous customers who have stopped by, including a large drawing on the wall by John Lasseter who visited during one of the biennial International Animation Festivals, held at Aster Plaza every other August.
The lunch sets are good sized portions of tasty food – great value if you can get there before they run out (12pm-3pm). Although the à la carte dishes may seem more like tapas than mains, they are not expensive and the quality and taste is good. It's one of the few places in Hiroshima where you can get great tasting chili, enchiladas, nachos, guacamole, tacos, and all the Tex-Mex favorites made both with or without meat.
Vegetarians will love the lunch set of vegetarian chili and rice (or chips), salad and cheese enchilada for only ¥850. In fact, it is such a great bargain that you can add a nice slice of homemade pie, cake, muffin or a cup of coffee and it is still only around ¥1,000. The latest additions to the side-menu include mango lassi, healthy green smoothie, homemade rye bread, French toast and scones.
Talking with the owner-chef, Saeki-san, recently she lamented not being able to make everything completely organic, but she says she uses organic ingredients wherever possible. There is a good balance of meat and non-meat dishes available. So, for meat and seafood lovers there is meat pie, pork spare ribs, Mexican sausage, bacon and beans, meat-filled Tex-Mex dishes, Seafood Pilaf and Jambalaya, Tuna and potato casserole and even BLT sandwiches.
Coffee and the desserts are also popular here as a standalone options: the owner makes delicious homemade American-style pies and cakes: the pumpkin, pecan and apple pie, banana cake, brownies and muffins are all fresh and delicious.
It is a great place to see the non-mainstream groups perform. From the weird and wacky to traditional Japanese or American blues bands, all kinds have passed through this tiny club.
- Seating for 24
- No credit cards
- Non-smoking at lunch
- Reservations accepted
- 1 parking space plus ¥100 parking lot next door.
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I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fantastic and wacky things about this strange and wonderful land. I hope you enjoy your adventures around Japan- feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with kids, vegetarian dining or anything specific to Hiroshima.