One of the standout experiences at Nijo Market is trying the seafood rice bowl, or kaisen-don, at one of the many restaurants that specialize in this dish. During my recent visit to Nijo Market, I had the pleasure of dining at a seafood rice bowl restaurant called “Donburi Chaya” and in this post, it’s going to be all about the experience I had at this lovely eating house.
Location and Wait Time
Donburi Chaya is a small restaurant located in the indoor section, right at the center of Nijo Market, at which every shopper can easily stumble across when exploring an array of seafood stalls.
Nijo’s Market Indoor Alleyway
The diner was the most reviewed seafood donburi restaurant in the area, and with such extensive exposure online, a long waiting line forming at its wooden door wasn’t something unanticipated. My visit was on a late Friday morning when the market’s indoor alleyway was already clogged with throngs of visitors. Although there were about ten waiting teams before me and my boyfriend, it took us less than an hour to get seated, which wasn’t so bad compared to the wait we had at another donburi eatery a few days back.
Warm Atmosphere Inside Donburi Chaya Restaurant in Nijo Market
Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by the friendly staff who quickly brought us to one of their cozy tables. The atmosphere was warm and inviting, with seating available at the counter or at a few small tables. The restaurant had a traditional Japanese feel with wooden tables and chairs and some paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
Seafood Displayed at Donburi Chaya
What impressed me the most about Donburi Chaya was their frankness. The restaurant had a small display of the various types of seafood used in their dishes, allowing customers to see the quality and freshness of the ingredients. The restaurant also had a sign indicating where their seafood was sourced from, which added an extra level of transparency and trustworthiness.
A Menu Board Outside the Door
Donburi Chaya’s menu is straightforward and available in English, offering a variety of seafood rice bowls and a few appetizers. The main attraction, of course, is the kaisen-don. There are several options to choose from, ranging from the basic kaisen-don with tuna, salmon, and ikura (salmon roe) to more elaborate bowls featuring Hokkaido specialties like uni (sea urchin) and crab. There are also options for those who don’t eat raw fish, such as the grilled salmon bowl or the tempura bowl.
I opted for their famous donburi, Chiyo-Donburi, which consisted of five small bowls: four of rice each topped with different seafood and one bowl for miso soup. My boyfriend ordered a bowl of Kitano Yonsyoku-Donburi, one of their standards. We also ordered an extra miso of the day to try the famous leg of Hokkaido’s king crab (without knowing that there was already a leg in my Chiyo-Donburi set).
Each piece of seafood was fresh and had a clean taste, with the scallops being a particular highlight for me. The sea urchin was also delicious, with its creamy texture and distinct flavor. The rice was well cooked and seasoned with a light touch of vinegar, providing a nice contrast to the rich seafood. The ikura was a standout, bursting with briny flavor and adding a delightful pop of texture to each bite.
One thing I appreciated about Donburi Chaya was the attention to detail in the presentation of the dish. The seafood was arranged beautifully on top of the rice, and there were small garnishes of shiso (perilla) leaves and seaweed embossed with the business name and logo bringing both visual interest and flavor to the bowl.
The service at Donburi Chaya was friendly and efficient. The staff spoke some English and were happy to answer any questions I had about the menu. The food came out in a decent amount of time, and the staff checked in periodically to make sure everything was satisfactory.
The price for the kaisen-don at Donburi Chaya was on par with other seafood rice bowl restaurants in Nijo Market, coming in at around 2,000 yen. While it’s not the cheapest meal option at the market, the quality of the seafood and the overall dining experience made it well worth the price.
Overall, my experience at Donburi Chaya was fantastic, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a delicious and authentic seafood breakfast in Nijo Seafood Market. The fresh and high-quality ingredients, attention to detail, and excellent service made it a standout dining experience.
About Donburi Chaya
Address: Japan, 〒060-0053 Hokkaido, Sapporo, Chuo Ward, Minami 3 Johigashi, 1 Chome−7 二条市場
Hours: 7:30AM - 5PM (Everyday)
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