Yakitori is anything grilled over charcoal (or a fire) on a stick. Japanese yakitori is everyone’s favorite. In downtown Matsuyama, near the Dogo Onsen district lies a small, out of the way yakitori restaurant, Torisho. Torisho is a family run restaurant. The owner is partially retired and works the restaurant during the day (lunch time). In the evening, the son takes over. The family run restaurant is small and familiar. It is a local place known for good food and reasonable prices.
The restaurant is small on the inside, which is typical of family run restaurants in Japan. If planning on going with a group, you should call in advance and make a reservation for a table. The restaurant will accommodate late comers if they can but if you want to be sure of seating and service, it is best to call ahead. If the place is full, they will tell visitors that they are full and to come back later. Torisho makes sure that they can take care of the guests they have.
The yakitori is cooked over a small charcoal grill inside the cooking area. The food is prepared ahead of time but put on the grill as ordered. Typical grill selections are chicken and beef but you can order other selections of liver, chicken gizzards, chicken meatballs, and chicken skin (very good), pork belly, vegetables, scallions and anything else they brought from the local market.
You can order beer with your meal or tea will be served. Torisho will serve a bowl of cabbage leaves to clean your palate in between orders. yakitori is to be ordered as you want. It is typical to spend the evening eating yakitori, talking with friends and thinking of what they will prepare for you next. The chef will send something over he thinks the customer may want to try. You can also order from a menu. The menu features pictures of their selection and the menu is priced by the piece you order. When you are done with your dinner, they will total the amount and give you a check. There is no tipping (in Japan, in general, tips are frowned upon).
The restaurant makes their own sauce for the yakitori. The food is mildly seasoned and cooked just right. The chef takes care to monitor each skewer of food on the grill. It is fun to watch them cook. The bar around the cooking area is full of people eating, talking and drinking a beer and enjoying the warmth of the fire and each others company as well as the food.
The seating inside the restaurant is usually full so if you have to get up and use the bathroom (just one for men and women) you will have to politely navigate your way along the wall. As usual, the Japanese are very polite and will let you pass.
Torisho - 3-2-5 Sanban-cho - Matsuyama, Ehime 7900003 - Tel: 089-921-1288
Name in Japanese
鳥匠 — torishō — Torisho