Saien Organic Izakaya

  • Veg-options Veg-options
    ( 2 reviews )
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88-8250125
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1-7-2 Otesuji-dori (at Hasuikemachi-dori), Kochi, Japan

Serves meat, vegan options available. A veg-forward izakaya (Japanese style tavern) offering a number of small plates that are specially vegan: stir-fried persimmon and sesame, tofu, beans, radish, cabbage, peppers. Staff understands some English and will choose and provide an all vegan selection on request. Beverages include sake, sochu, beer. Located on the 3rd floor, its signage is illustrated with colorful sketches of vegetables. Open Tue-Sun 5:00pm-12:00am.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Japanese, Organic, Beer/Wine, Non-veg

2 Reviews

First Review by Nancy Cadet

Good concept, not so good experience - Edit

...and the only one open at night; I was optimistic based on the review from last year, and while I think this place would be fine for a vegetarian, it wasn't for a vegan.

Looks for a twirling couple of Chinese characters on the sidewalk, and enter the staircase on the left side of the building in front of which you saw them. The restaurant is on the third floor.

I'm not sure whether or not the staff speaks English as I used Japanese, but when I asked about dishes without any animal ingredients at all, he seemed troubled and in the end was only able to offer about five choices, He also asked whether I could eat soy sauce, which is a pretty strong indication that this is not much of a vegan-friendly place.

As an izakaya some dishes aren't full on meals. I ordered gobou karaage and yaki yama-imo, both of which tasted fine, but they were brought out about 20 minutes apart. I'd specifically ordered two things he said would go well together (salty and sweet), but it's hard to compliment a dish when there's either no more of the first, or it's gone cold! There were other customers and only two staff, who were accommodating, but neither of the dishes required extensive prep.

Given that my only other choice would've been some combination of supermarket discount items, I don't completely regret going, but I wasn't far off.

Pros: Only night-time choice in Kochi, Good concept & atmosphere

Cons: Barely vegan-friendly, Pricey

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On the way to Kochi castle - Edit

The Saien Izakaya is easy to find on Otesuji-dori, close to the intersection with Harimayabashi-dori, the wide boulevard that leads to Kochi JR station.
It's on the third floor , above a traditional Japanese pub & a nightclub called "Bû", & has a large colorful signboard illustrated with vegetables and the words "hot pepper" and in small script "Saien." It's across from the Welcome hotel.

The same street is filled with the stalls of local farmers and crafts people on Sundays (tea, ginger, citrus fruits, baked goods, textiles, baskets, woodworking ) , so it's worth a visit. The historic Kochi castle entrance is at the end of the street. Saien is not strictly vegetarian , but the staff will select and serve a number of small plates that are vegan, on request. Open from 5PM to midnight.

Pros: Variety of veggie dishes

Cons: Only open in the evening

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