Suppose you stay on a hilly location like Mizuno Hotel or are still around Lake Kawaguchiko after dark doesn’t mean there’s no place for dinner. Fortunately, there are several restaurants outside the hotel area serving good local food in affordable price. Five minutes walking distance from the hotel, we found Konami Restaurant.
The restaurant has two sections, Japanese style dining room on the right and Western one on the left. Of course, we wanted to feel local by choosing the Japanese room, although it’s not our first time to dine on floor covered with carpets and sit on the flat pillow provided for more comfort. This traditional way is very similar to warung lesehan, a traditional sidewalk cafe where people sit on the floor to eat, back in our hometown Indonesia.
The waiter greeted us and directly passed us the English menu. Konami mainly serve bento-style menus or set menus, such as chicken or pork katsu, beef yakiniku, tempura rice set and hoto noodle set menus that come with rice as well. They also have additional sashimi and tempura. Please note that the menu layout could be misleading when not carefully observed. Simply put, what you need to be careful is to see which item name belongs to which picture. Especially if you are a budget conscious traveler.
My choice finally went to the unagi or eel rice set, with simple side dishes, such as clear soup, pickles and salad. The price seemed quite okay, probably about ¥ 2000 after tax. As long as I remember, the price for set menus begins from ¥ 1000 and up, which is normal.
Later on, we realized that we took too long to make a decision. The restaurant was suddenly extremely busy in both sections. Several groups of people came all at once, mostly tourists staying at the hotels nearby. There were only two waiters serving over twenty tables and one person behind the cashier. All of them rushed back and forth delivering other guests’ dishes that no one noticed that we raised our hands to call for orders.
I saw a group of (probably) Indian family sitting next to us. Just like us, one of them raised his hand to call the waiter but no one responded. The rest of the family looked around in dazed way, trying to spot who would manage to approach them. Some minutes had passed but still no reaction. It was just a very hectic evening to be handled only by three people. Most probably all of them are family members of the restaurant owner.
I finally came to the cashier, bringing the menu to order. On the other hand, the Indian family started to get up from their seats and left the restaurant in disappointment.
While waiting for our dishes, I accidentally spotted a corner of fame, where a number of frames hanging on the wall showing signatures and testimonials from notable people in Japan who have visited Konami before. Some pictures of them were inserted on the top or bottom side of the frames. But still, those pictures didn’t help me to identify those famous people. What I know for sure is that they must be satisfied with the food and service, aka quick response. Otherwise, why on earth they dare to put those frames on a visible location?
Not long after that (for a hectic situation), my unagi set and my friend’s fish set menu (I forget what it’s called) with tempura arrived on our table. I got three big slices of unagi with salad, pickles, a pinch of stir-fried broccoli and a bowl of clear soup with kamaboko or fish cake. The grilled unagi was fresh, not fishy and the sauce, whose taste was similar to teriyaki, was just in the right level of sweetness. My friend had a similar opinion as mine, meaning that all the (meat) ingredients were fresh.
The only annoying part was that I had to be very careful with thin bones for not to be accidentally swallowed. Although some say that certain thin bones are still tolerable to swallow, I really didn’t want to take that chance during my holiday. I forgot that bones are the main risk of consuming unagi.
Another drawback of understaffed and overcrowded situation were that they didn’t notice that the plastic water kettle placed near the rear window was almost ran out of green tea, purposely served for guests for refills. I understood that it would be a waste of time to call the waiters for a refill. Fortunately, the tap water in Japan is drinkable and the restaurant is very close from our hotel.
So, my friend came to the cashier to ask for a bill. Later on, I was shocked that my unagi rice set cost about ¥3850, almost doubled than expected! Apparently, I saw the wrong price list that actually didn’t belong to my unagi. Anyways, usually unagi doesn’t come that cheap, like below ¥ 1700. How could I forget that.
That’s why, I repeat, what you need to be careful is to see which item name belongs to which picture when you check the menu.
Besides, I have another suggestion suppose you are an adventurous foodie who do not have any abstinence from certain type of meat and not a very budget conscious person: try horse meat sashimi. I’m not able to say how it tastes like since I didn’t order it. I was just too cheapskate to pay another ¥700 for that and somehow I regret it. It could be once in a lifetime experience I should try.
My final verdict for Konami Restaurant is that it is a nice place to eat in a relatively affordable price and the food is made from fresh ingredients. If you come before 7 pm, I believe it wouldn’t be too crowded and the service could be faster. However, in peak hours, just be patient and make sure you order your food directly at the cashier. Don’t wait too long until they come to you.