If you can steel yourself to make it through Kobe’s Chinatown without succumbing to the tantalizing aromas wafting from the myriad of street stalls, you’ll find Gaen Shuka tucked away down a side street. With three sister restaurants in Kobe and Nishinomiya, these dining spaces offer an extensive à la carte menu incorporating Cantonese classics such as sweet-and-sour pork and an array of seafood dishes. The ¥1600 weekday lunchtime set menu is served in portions perfectly pitched to leave you feeling satisfied but not too sleepy. After a starter of shrimp mayonnaise and egg drop soup, top up your complimentary green tea and choose from the handful of mains – the squid in a tempura-like batter is a winner! The small dessert changes daily.
Open: Daily 11:30am–2pm; Dinner 5pm–1am • Price Range: ¥1000–¥5000 • Access: JR/Hanshin Motomachi Stn, 5-min walk • r.gnavi.co.jp/c063400
Golden Dew Cafe
Overlooking one of Motomachi’s leafy shopping streets, Golden Dew Cafe provides a bright, airy spot for a break from retail therapy or to recharge after work. The menu celebrates all things mango and you can sample this juicy summer fruit in all its glory – cubed, pulped or juiced. On a sticky July day, quench your thirst with a ‘mango mix juice’ in a lidded jar, or for an adventure with texture try ‘mango and lemon jelly’, a refreshing combination of ice, juice and jelly topped with whipped cream. (If you’re not enthused by mango, there’s always coffee.) To keep hunger at bay there’s the ‘Mango Fiesta Grande’, a fruit salad (heavy on the mango, of course) with mango ice cream in a waffle basket, plus a range of fresh and healthy options for lunch.
Open: Daily 10am–9pm • Price Range: ¥500–¥2000 • Access: JR/ Hanshin Motomachi Stn, 5-min walk • goldendewcafe.com
Yes, really. There’s a German currywurst restaurant down a Motomachi backstreet. With its red awnings, prominent corner situation, and large German flag, this specialist sausage eatery is unmissable, both literally and as a gastronomic experience. The options are simple: currywurst or weisswurst, in a bun or on a plate, with curry sauce or tomato ketchup. A few fast-food-style sides are available, though next to the typical fries, onion rings and coleslaw on the menu you’ll also find sauerkraut. Pay for your sausage at street level then take a seat upstairs in a narrow room decked out with German memorabilia. Alternatively, grab a stool outside, ideally with a cold beer (choose from a range of draft or bottled offerings from both Germany and Japan) to wash down your food. Not so good for vegetarians, but perfect for a chilled-out summer evening.
Open: Daily 11am–9pm • Price Range:¥500–¥1500 • Access: JR/Hanshin Motomachi Stn, 5-min walk • currywurst.jp