Food Japan Travel

DONBE (丼兵衛) : A Delicious Seafood Breakfast Spot in Sapporo’s Nijo Market

There have been tons of reasons for Nijo Market to be a popular stop in Sapporo, the largest and the capital city of Japan’s famous Hokkaido. The most popular ones can be to lose yourself in a tasty bowl of Kaisendon (海鮮丼), a Japanese dish of rice topped with raw or precooked seafood. 

During my last visit to the city, I was lucky enough to experience the deliciousness of the dish at one of the busiest seafood donburi restaurants in the market, DONBE. In this post, you are about to be brought down my precious memory lane created from this fine eatery. I am also going to break it down and let’s see if the place is worth a visit for your next trip to Sapporo.

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    Mingling among an array of seafood stalls and restaurants, DONBE is located adjacent to Kondo Noboru Shoten in the northeastern corner of the Nijo Market. It is a short-walk distance from either the Sosei River end of the vibrant Tanuki Shopping Street or from Sapporo TV Tower, the city’s notorious landmark.

    Wait Time

    As it’s slipped out from the beginning that DONBE is one of the busiest diners in the area, so, waiting patiently should be the first priority you exercise. On our visit, we arrived a little before 11 o’clock on a Wednesday and there were already a handful of customers’ names written on their queuing sheet. Even though the waiting list isn’t very long it can still take a long time until your name gets called because DONBE isn’t a spacious eating place. It took us roughly an hour to get seated inside. Even so, they provide their first bowl as early as 7am so we highly recommend having breakfast here to avoid such crowds.

    What Makes DONBE Different?

    DONBE is run by First Relation Company, a marine and agricultural products dealer based in Hokkaido. The seafood topping prepared by the chef at DONBE is stated to be the freshest ingredients auctioned off first-hand each day as it is the operator’s specialty. This contributes to the restaurant being entrusted with numbers of visitors, both locals and tourists alike. 

    The restaurant also seems to have a pretty strong commitment in selecting and making its rice and soy sauce used to make a bowl of seafood donburi. Their homemade soy sauce is claimed to have a very unique thickness which can be exquisitely entwined with the toppings and brings out the rich umami taste when drizzling in the vinegared rice.

    Things You Should Know About DONBE

    While many kaisendon serving restaurants in the Nijo Market are open until 5pm, DONBE stipulates its closing time at 2:30pm. However, they are prone to shut the door much earlier than the stated closing hour – the fact that we experienced. At noon, half of the menu was already sold out. 

    About the price, compared to the other providers in the same area, DONBE can be seen selling their quality kaisendon at a little higher price. For one reason, the restaurant doesn’t have mini-sized seafood bowls. They serve only full-sized kaisendon without skimping on their daily-well-selected topping. 


    DONBE is equipped with menus dubbed with limited English. But there shouldn’t be a difficulty in ordering since each dish is visually presented in detail of what you are getting. Simply point at the picture of the kaisendon of your choice, sit tight, and prepare to be amazed by the chef’s creations.

    DONBE‘s Menu


    Everything we ordered was amazing! I traveled with a sashimi enthusiast and he approved that it was the best kaisendon he has ever eaten. We opted for a Manzoku-don and Tokusen Sapporo Asaichi-don; number 1 and 3 recs, and they were top-notch! Arranged beautifully on top of the rice, The seafood was incredibly fresh and had a clean, briny taste that was a testament to the quality of the ingredients. 

    DONBE’s Manzoku-don

    DONBE’s Tokusen Sapporo Asaichi-don

    The highlight of the sea urchin. It was buttery and creamy, with a unique and slightly sweet flavor that perfectly complemented the other seafood delicacies.

    The rice was cooked to perfection, with a slightly sticky texture that allowed it to hold up against the weight of the seafood. The dishes also came with a small side of pickles and greens, which provided a nice contrast to the richness of the seafood. I couldn’t agree more with my companion. This is the greatest kaisendon restaurant in Sapporo!

    Access Map

    Essential Info

    About DONBE in Nijo Market (二条市場 札幌 海鮮丼 丼兵衛)

    Address: Japan, 〒060-0053 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Minami 3 Johigashi, 2 Chome−8
    Hours: 7AM-2:30PM (Everyday)
    Phone: +81113308859

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