[ Japan ]

‘At home’ dining at Shima No Kura

IF you have always considered dining out to be a formal occasion in which you need to dress up, here is one place that gives you complete freedom to come barefoot, drenched, soaking wet and even dripping to enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner, or a game of billiards.

Shima No Kura, a Japanese restaurant formerly located in Garapan near the former GIG, has reopened this month beside the Saipan World Resort in Susupe to give its clients a different dining experience.

Shima No Kura is one place where you can eat, drink and relax and completely feel at home. It is a self-service restaurant where you can serve yourself unlimited rice and soup and bottomless ice tea.

The high-beamed ceilings, wooden floors and long benches makes you feel like dining in an isolated restaurant somewhere in the country, but the huge glass windows provides a panoramic view of the sea.

fried chicken set

Bookshelves with Japanese comics and books adorn the corners of the restaurant.  Shima No Kura’s terrace has wooden tables and long benches if you prefer to have your meals outside. At twilight, torches add to the attraction of the terrace.

We checked out Shima No Kura’s $7.50 lunch menu on Friday. My two out-to-eat buddies ordered the Pork Ginger Set and Fried Chicken Set while I opted for the Hayashi Rice.

While waiting for our order, I glanced around and saw a shirtless boy about 9 or 10 years old at the table next to us, bare feet dangling from his chair and shorts dripping with water and sand as he leafed through a Japanese comic book.

pork ginger set

He obviously came in from a swim. A couple which I presumed to be his parents were busy arranging a two oxygen tanks outside. A billiard table occupied one corner of the restaurant where diners can play for a dollar per game, or $5 an hour.

Restaurant manager Tomomichi Kasai said they are planning to put up dart boards.  Although patronized mostly by scuba divers, Shima No Kura is open for local residents.

We dug into our food as soon as it was ready. Hayashi rice turned out to be rice with stewed beef slices swimming in a thick, delicious sauce.  The crispy pork ginger and fried chicken was served with vegetable salads and dips.

Other lunch choices are hamburger steak set, curry rice, and ramen at $7.50, half fried rice with ramen at $8, and pork cutlet at $9.99.

hayashi rice

Shima No Kura’s dinner menu is more extensive. Appetizers and salads start from $4.99 to $7 and include choices of spicy tofu, mix nuts, Caesar salad with sausage, Banbanzee salad, crab carpaccio salad, smoked salmon, inshore crab and avocado cocktail, Saipan style crab poli, inshore tuna sashimi, beef kelaguen, cow tongue Carpaccio, and pizza style original tacos.

If you are more into fried foods, go for boneless chicken or spicy wings, French fries, katu-plate (top of the Katu-don), mince cutlet with Demigras sauce, and fried chicken kelaguen.

Shima No Kura serves Japanese favorites including all kinds of ramen, spicy fried rice, cutlet curry, katsu-don, yakisoba with sauce, and spam sushi from $4.99 to $9.99. You can also order spaghetti, meat Angus beef bite size steak, hamburger steak and chicken and mushrooms, and mango sherbet for dessert.  Ice coffee, sodas, teas are priced at $1 to $2, beer at $3. Wines and other beverages are priced very affordably.

Shima No Kura is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. All major credit cards are accepted.

For inquiries, call 234-0720, e-mail info@shimanokura.com.

(This article was first published HERE)

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