Kushikatsu Tanaka is an incredible izakaya chain with locations throughout Japan specializing in delightful, budget-friendly skewered deep-fried food.
I gotta say, this place is one of my favorite Friday/Saturday night spots to hit when I’m hungry and just want to relax, eat good food, and take my mind off things.
The food is tasty, has tons of variety, doesn’t take all your money, isn’t uncomfortably upscale, and the service is fast.
Rule #1: Don’t Double Dip
This shop has a little metal can on the table with an amazing dipping sauce for the various skewered deep-fried foods you order. But there’s a rule.
Never double dip.
Dip once per skewer. Never dip, take a bite, and then dip again.
However, you can use a leaf of cabbage to scoop some up and pour onto your already bitten kushikatsu skewer.
Is Kushikatsu Tanaka English friendly?
Not especially, but some branches have photos nearby the menu that you can point at. Unfortunately the menu has only a few tiny photos and then a whole bunch of Japanese text.
But the staff are always awesome, even when they are swamped and overworked.
The signs outside aren’t in romaji, but the unmistakable bright yellow/metal slider-door exterior makes it easy to spot.
Is Kushikatsu Tanaka good for groups?
Generally, yes. Some locations may be a tight fit for large groups. Most shops will have a large counter seating area and then some tables.
The one I enjoy is in Kawagoe, a little north of Tokyo. It has quite a few tables, but it’s usually so busy it’s hard to get in on a Friday/Saturday night.
I’d make reservations if possible.
How much does Kushikatsu Tanaka cost?
While it will vary by how much you eat, expect to spend around ¥2,000 per person if you eat a good amount and moderate drinks. More if you like to drink freely.
Cards are not accepted and most locations won’t have parking either — bring cash and if you are the designated driver, expect to park in paid parking, so plan for that in the budget if necessary.