Osaka, Japan: Taian

When we envision a Michelin 3 star restaurant, we typically think of an impressive venue dressed in a million dollar design concept, along with a personal server at your side awaiting to fulfill your every dining request. But Taian was far from this grandiosity. The décor at this restaurant was not worth the megabyte of memory on your phone. The ambiance was actually quite drab and outmoded. They only had one host/server that catered to the entire restaurant.

taian 10

But don’t let that fool you into thinking that this was any ordinary restaurant. The food more than compensated for the faded, off-white paint on the wall.

Taian exemplified seasonal cuisine, probably long before it became a buzz word. Its focus was on the utilization of ingredients that was available at this very moment. During our visit in spring, we tasted water shield for the very first time. Water shield is the bud of a water lily. Had we visited in the summer, I’m certain this ingredient would have been off the menu.

The taste of each dish was pure and concise, without the use of much herbs or seasonings. This truly allowed each component to shine, without the hindrance of a puree or thick heavy sauce.

The majority of the meal was pre-set, with the exception of the entrée. There were about 5 to 6 different protein choices. We opted for the kinki fish and the local free-range chicken, both grilled over charcoal.

Despite the one-man show, service was on point and the timing of each dish was impeccable. We didn’t feel rushed nor impatient by the speed of each course.

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This was probably one of the most affordable Michelin 3 star restaurant that any of us will ever dine. Reservation is necessary!

At the time of visit
Michelin: 3 Stars
Cuisine: Kaiseki
Cost per head: 18,500 yen (163 USD), dinner, with two carafe of sake

1-21-2 Shimanochi Chuo-Ku | Sanbonmatsu Bldg. 1F, Chuo, Osaka 542-0082, Osaka Prefecture
+81 6-6120-0790

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