Ichibei is my favourite Japanese restaurant in Ottawa. I get so excited! It's one of the first places S and I went to together, and where I discovered that Japanese food went far beyond sushi and tempura. Clockwise from the top is our recent meal of sukiyaki, Japanese pickles (eggplant, cucumber and daikon), sushi and an appetizer of tuna and natto (fermented soy beans that I'm slowly developing a taste for).
Ichibei has extremely tasty food and a well-balanced menu. The agedashi dofu and beef tataki pass my "favourite Japanese appetizers test" with flying colours. There's also a harusame salad appetizer that I just can't get enough of. If only I knew the recipe! I've tried to ask but understandably they won't tell me. From what I can tell it has bean thread (harusame) noodles, julienned carrots, crab meat, possibly cucumber and egg, and a spicy mayonnaise dressing that's so light and refreshing.
It's a tiny restaurant, but tastefully decorated. The tanukis (Japanese raccoons) in which they serve sake are just too cute. We always ask for one. You have probably noticed that our tanuki is posing with every dish in the photos :).
My friends at Ottawa Foodies have also noted that Ichibei is the place where the Japanese Embassy takes its guests from Japan, which suggests the food is quite authentic!
The only things I don't like are the small sushi portions, which is unfortunately the norm in Ottawa. The sashimi plate in particular has ridiculously tiny pieces for a price tag close to $25. This especially disappoints S, who spent many years in Vancouver where the portions are more than a mouthful to say the least.
We usually order a medium bottle of sake, two miso soups, two à la carte appetizers, a hot bowl food like sukiyaki or don buri and four pieces of sushi. It comes to about $100 for two people.
197 Bank Street, corner Gloucester