Down Rt 58 in Urasoe, there is a small neighborhood of old military housing repurposed into small cafes, vintage shops and boutiques named Minatogawa. These small single unit houses were built in the 1960’s and when the land was given back to Okinawa, they cleverly decided to revamp the houses. While a good amount of the homes are owned by local families, there is still plenty to see and taste in this little grid neighborhood. This is one of two old military housing neighborhoods that have turned into cute cafés and shops.
One of my goals this summer was to try a new café weekly and take advantage of my school free time to sit, relax and enjoy the laid back atmosphere most of these places offer. I went to explore this area after reading about it in Laura’s post. I have been back a few times now and every place I go becomes a new favorite.
Rich epi was the first place I tried in Minatogawa . This little restaurant happened to be the only one open on a Wednesday when my friend Tori and I visited after some coral dying. We stopped to explore the area and grab some much needed lunch. I won’t lie, the lack of choices was disappointing, so if you do want to give Minatogawa a try don’t go on Wednesday. We were lucky though because this place was fantastic. The food was simple and bright and the decor reminded you of the era these houses were built. Tori and I reminisced about the cookware displayed and the likeness it shared with our parent’s and grandparent’s growing up.
Lunch time is a set menu with salad, drink and your meal. The meals are fish, chicken, pork or curry. (We both went with the fish) The salad dressings are homemade and are served with cereal. Yes, that is right cereal. It was actually pretty awesome.
They do serve dinner and it has a much larger menu and drink list plus the desserts are included in the sets.
We really enjoyed our time here and the food was quite good.
Pizzeria Onda was my second lunch in Minatogawa. When Wade was recently home he was given the task of finding something for us to do that day. He decided on Minatogawa for some lunch and thank goodness it wasn’t Wednesday! There were many places to choose from and though we almost went with the curry because the smell alone was drawing us in, he ultimately decided pizza was the way to go. He was so right. This pizza joint takes serious pride in the fact they were rewarded for their authenticity from the The Association Verace Pizza Napoletana. And it is well deserved; everything about these wood burning brick oven pizzas scream authentic. All ingredients are from Italy, including the mozzarella they fly in three times a week. How crazy is that… and seriously how do I get on that flight.
The pizzas vary in price (start around ¥1600) and they have daily special toppings. The downfall is you have to order one pizza per adult, the upside is you don’t have to share. I don’t share food well, ask around, so I enjoyed this rule, though I can see how some might prefer to split one. They offer other menu items but really, just get the pizza.
Oh my gosh. Tartés. I love em. As I write this I’m thinking that instead of trying to make tartés this year for thanksgiving, maybe I should just order from here. Okinawa has a plethora of bakeries, and each one is just as tasty as the next. As with everything they do, they take real pride in perfecting the simple art of anything and this store is just further proof. Ohacorte is located towards the very back of Minatogawa. It is the perfect ending to any meal you have in stateside town. Each tarte is 7cm diameter (because it is the perfect ratio of crust to filling of course, duh) and topped with fresh seasonal fruits.
The tartés are scrumptious but I think it was the atmosphere that really sold the place for me. I don’t know about you but I think life couldn’t be more perfect than eating an adorable tarté in a small garden shed with open air breeze.
There is plenty more to check out in this little neighborhood including a few vintage clothing shops, a shoe cobbler that makes stunning men’s leather dress shoes, along with plenty of other restaurants and cafés. I’ll continue to come back here and try them to add to the list. But if you have been and have suggestions please share!