The Rochester is aptly named after Hamamatsu's sister city in New York State, well known for its calendar of gastronomic events year-round, and is the latest dining option in Grand Hotel Hamamatsu, opening in April 2015.
Rochester joins a well-established line up of famous restaurants, including teppanyaki house Inanba, Chinese restaurant Tsumorin and traditional Japanese Ryotei Chotokan. While it certainly has lofty standards to uphold, the new restaurant is markedly chic and stylish, a breath of fresh air in a hotel better known for tradition and history.
Rochester is located on the 12th floor of Grand Hotel Hamamatsu. Elevator doors open to a spacious atrium, with daylight streaming in from transparent curtain glass windows. The front dining area features a live cooking open kitchen counter where chefs prepare dishes in front of your eyes, while the the rear provides cozier seating options and can be partitioned to create private dining rooms. Wherever you choose to be seated, you will be able to enjoy stunning skyline views of Hamamatsu City while having your meal.
As the main hotel restaurant, Rochester provides buffet dining for all three meals of the day. A wide selection of Japanese and Western cuisine is available, and will sate your appetite long before you manage to sample every single dish on offer. As well as this buffet dining experience, Rochester also offers a variety of multi-course lunch and dinner sets.
I had dinner at Rochester on my last visit to Hamamatsu, ordering the ‘French Dinner Course’, a ‘Beef Fillet Steak with Seasonal Vegetables’ being my main course. In fact, I watched the chef prepare the steak in the open kitchen, and almost fainted when he advised that I allow the beef to rest for at least 5-10 minutes before partaking ( it’s torture to wait after watching/hearing/smelling the beef sizzle on the hot plate). The 3-course meal was simply lovely, and only outdone by the picturesque sunset outside my window.
Restaurant Rochester is located on the 12th floor of Grand Hotel Hamamatsu. The hotel is a 15-minute walk from the JR Hamamatsu Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Alternatively, it is a 10-minute bus ride on the local bus No. 20, or a 5-minute taxi drive from the same station.