5 Romantic Niseko Restaurants for Date Night this 2019-2020 Ski Season

After a long day chasing your better half down the slopes of Niseko, there is little better than warming up with a gourmet meal as you toast to your adventures. As you begin reserving your tables for the 2019-2020 ski season (seriously, start now), The Luxe Nomad‘s concierge team has gone ahead and done the hard work for you. They’ve sought out the best romantic Niseko restaurants and menus for your date night. Here the team tells you all about their favourite spots and dishes.

Kitchen

Image from Kitchen Facebook

Opened February 2019 and serving an a la carte menu of contemporary western / Japanese cuisine, Kitchen is the brain-child of Yuichi Kamimura, the Michelin award-winning chef behind KAMIMURA – an iconic French restaurant in Niseko. Kitchen began as an extension of KAMIMURA but soon became its own restaurant as Chef Kamimura recognised that Kitchen could offer guests a more intimate and personal dining experience, making it ideal for date night.

The Luxe Nomad says: 

Easily one of our favourite meals in Niseko. The restaurant is intimate and cosy, with eclectic decorations like a cute cow in the snow outside the window. It’s a casual, modern dining lounge that serves a sophisticated fusion menu. The menu is carefully curated, made with the best ingredients in Niseko, and perfect for a celebration with your loved one. If you’re familiar with KAMIMURA, Kitchen will surely not disappoint. And, true to its name, glass panels surround the kitchen you so get to see the chefs in action.

If you’re into speakeasy bars, you’ll love the vibe of this restaurant – to enter you must find a somewhat hidden black door inside Hyatt House.

Dress: Alpine chic
Open: Dinner only, Monday to Saturday
Where: Hyatt House Niseko, 190-4 Aza Yamada, Kutchan-Cho, Abuta-gun
Price Point: ¥5,000 deposit for the a la carte menu or a minimum spend of ¥5,500 per person for Omakase menu.
What we loved: Oven-baked Hokkaido Mozzarella & Pancetta, Potato Focaccia, Seared Scallop with Truffle Cream, Garlic King Prawn.

Read also: #Japow! HK Restaurateur Lindsay Jang on Niseko and its food!

Acorn

Image from Acorn Facebook

New to the 2018/19 ski season, Acorn is a modern Japanese restaurant developed by creative director Takeshi Nagashima formerly of Michelin 3-Star awarded El Bulli and the owner/head chef of 81 in Tokyo. The interiors were designed by Miki Yoshida who has designed numerous apparel stores throughout Japan. The restaurant is a multi-sensory experience – from the sophisticated and conceptual fine-dining fare to the design which is reminiscent of a chic mid-town Manhattan loft. There are two 8-course degustation menus on offer, and each dish is meticulously paired with tea or wine to enhance the various flavours.

The Luxe Nomad says: 

Acorn is definitely an experience that you should savour. The service is prompt and highly personalised, and the flavours are to die for. The restaurant envisions dishes that represent nature’s blessings. Some courses we sampled were cleverly named Prologue, Twilight, Flavours of Soil, and Sign of Spring. Each dish is carefully crafted to tell a story, and we were blown away. We were amazed by the details considered down to the sight, smell, and touch each course should invoke, with the staff explaining everything as we were served. The restaurant is tucked away in the residential area of Niseko, and the interiors are mesmerising – you can’t help but feel like you’re in a truly different place.

Dress: Alpine chic
Open: Dinner only
Where: 170-175 Yamada, Kutchan-Cho, Abuta-gun
Price Point: ¥20,000~¥30,000 per person
What we loved: Squid Ink with Uni cracker, Wagyu Beef from Kagawa, Japanese Rice Porridge, Matcha Tiramisu

Read also: Beyond the Slopes: 7 things to do in Niseko even if you’re not skiing

Somoza Gallery

Wild udo and house-smoked bacon quiche with seasonal vegetables. Image from Somoza Gallery Facebook

Located in a restored 150-year-old kominka (traditional Japanese home), Somoza Gallery combines the flavours and culture of Japan in one space. Created by Shouya Grigg, the founder of Zaborin Ryokan and director of Sekka Style, the restaurant features a chef’s table dinner each night that highlights the best of Hokkaido’s local produce. For a greater cultural experience, in the attic above the restaurant, there is a traditional Japanese tea room where guests can enjoy a tea ceremony lead by Shouya’s wife. In the basement, there is an ample gallery space filled with Shouya’s works of art, alongside artwork from various artists, minimalistic black and white photographs printed on handmade “Washi” (Japanese) paper and a myriad of antiques.

Note: Lunches here are much more relaxed and are better served for enjoying the surroundings with family and friends.

Somoza Gallery is located 5 minutes from the Hanazono ski resort by car. Alternatively, you can take the Hanazono village shuttle that stops at Hanazono 308, and take a taxi from there.

The Luxe Nomad says: 

Somoza Gallery from the food to the design is quite the experience. The course menu is delicious, and the food is all prepared sustainably, which left us feeling wonderful – in both our stomachs and our souls. All the better while enjoying the elaborate views while you enjoy your meals (what’s not to like!)

Dress: Alpine chic
Open: Lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday
Where: 78-5 Aza Hanazono, Kutchan-Cho, Abuta-gun
Price Point: ¥5,000〜¥30,000
What you should get: Farmhouse soup, Biratori Wagyu Beef with potato, Mimolette cheese, Niseko Tempeh and beetroot.

Robata Niseko Naniwatei

The sister restaurant of the revered Susokino Naniwatei, Robata Niseko Naniwatei serves banquet meals from the best of Hokkaido’s seasonal ingredients. Each dish is carefully prepared on a robata grill which serves as the centrepiece of the restaurant’s wooden counter. The restaurant is located on the corner of a farm and provides sweeping views of Mt. Yotei.

The Luxe Nomad says:

If you can, eat at the counter. Here you can enjoy a fireside chat with the owner/chef as he prepares your meal. The friendly staff will also give a detailed explanation for each meal. These explanations help you fully understand the source of the ingredients and learn to appreciate the preparation of the meal. The Omakase Robata Kaiseki Course is stunning, and the homemade sake is a dream.

Although Robata Niseko Naniwatei is a ten-minute drive from the Hirafu main area it is quite convenient – the restaurant can organise pick ups and drop offs (if you notify in advance) so you don’t have to worry on how to get there.

Dress: Alpine chic
Open: Lunch and dinner, Friday to Wednesday
Where: Huckleberry Farm 259 Aza Kabayama, Kutchan Town
Price Point: ¥10,000〜¥25,000
What you should get: Naniwatei’s tomato salad with Dashi vinegar and Kinki fish on Earthen pot rice (with an amazing amount of scallions!)

Read also: The first-timers Niseko guide: 10 things to know when planning your ski trip

Sushi Shin

Owned by Michelin 3-Star Master Chef Masaaki Miyakawa, who has been making sushi for over thirty years, Sushi Shin is as good as sushi gets. Prepared using traditional Edo-style techniques and in front of guests, the Omakase course contains nineteen dishes – six appetisers, ten nigiri sushi, an egg omelette, miso-soup and dessert. The majority of the ingredients are sourced in Hokkaido with the remaining from various parts of Japan.

Note: Guests twelve and under will be required to eat in a separate private room.

The Luxe Nomad says: 

Although a bit of extra effort to get there from Hirafu (especially if you don’t have a car!), Sushi Shin is well worth the effort. Everything is fresh, delicious, and well-prepared. You might think the nineteen dishes in the Omakase course would be a lot and you would be not wrong. Midway through the course, we were stuffed!

The service is top class. While chefs Hironori and Kazuo only know limited English, the restaurant manager, Fumiko, is there to guide you through the whole experience. Before starting each course, you are briefed on how to eat the dishes. We were surprised to find out that it’s best to eat the sushi 30 seconds after it’s served! Of course, you ultimately go at your own pace, but it’s safe to assume you’ll be spending more than an hour here.

Reservations are absolutely essential as there are only twenty seats in the restaurant. While big groups can dine in one of two private rooms, we recommend sitting at the bar. Part of the fun is the experience of watching the sushi masters as they meticulously create the dishes. In our opinion, this is the best sushi you can get in Niseko!

Dress: Alpine chic
Open: Fixed seatings at 12:00, 17:30, and 20:00 lasting 2 hours each.
Where: 1F the Kamui Niseko, 430-25 Aza Niseko, Niseko-Cho
Price Point: ¥19,000〜¥26,000
What you should get: The Omakase Course – we especially loved the Fatty Tuna, Hair Crab, and Strawberry and Hokkaido Milk dessert!

Which restaurant will you be enjoying?

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The Luxe Nomad

Like you, we love to travel but we think that staying at beautiful places shouldn’t come with a hefty price tag. That’s why we’ve gone out there and snagged the best design and luxury hotels and resorts in the Asia Pacific region at rates you won’t believe. WanderLuxe is our little corner of the world where we share our inspirations and thoughts about travel!

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