Kobe Kitano, Nishinomiya

Kitano

Swiss Chalet (Swiss). 078-221-4343
Although this may look like the restaurant that time forgot, the lace-curtained, ultra-kitsch Swiss Chalet is often packed with diners tucking into the many fondue variations (beef, cheese and chocolate, served in various combinations). Cheese fondue and raclette dinners start at around Y3000; lunches from Y1260. Reservations are recommended.
SunKitanocho 3-2-4. (NE corner of Hanta-zaka and Yamamoto-dori) Open 11:30am-4, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Rote Rose (German). 078-222-3200
With its brick, timber and stucco interior, Rote Rose has the feeling of a sprawling Alpine ski lodge. The impressive wine list offers more than 100 German wines, and there are frequent wine dinners (call for information). Food includes imported cold cuts and other light fare to nibble on with your wine, although you can opt for a full-course meal if you're hungry.
SunKitanocho 4-9-14. (on Tor Road, N of Yamamoto-dori, after it's wound to the right and then to the left) Open 5-10:30pm. Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays.
Rote Rose Wine Shop (Liquor shop). 078-222-3200
A German wine specialty shop with more than 300 varieties in stock; downstairs is a large wine bar and restaurant.
SunKitanocho 4-9-14. (on Tor Road, N of Yamamoto-dori, after it's wound to the right and then to the left) Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays.
Freundlieb (Cafe). 078-231-6051
Certainly one of grandest cafe settings in town, Freundlieb occupies the former Kobe Union Church, a Kitano sightseeing landmark. The menu includes sandwiches and salads as well as fresh pastries and bread from the Freundlieb bakery downstairs.
SundecorIkuta-machi 4-6-15. (1 block E and 1 block S of Kanocho 2-chome crossing, in the former Kobe Union Church) Open 10am-6:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
Patrie (French). 078-272-1313
With excellent food and a comfortable, casual atmosphere, Patrie also delivers good value for money - full-course dinners are around Y6000, and their lunchtime buffet is Y2300.
SunNinomiya 4-20-5, Hotel Piena Kobe 2F. Open 11am-2, 5-8:30pm (LO) daily.
Bistrot Cafe de Paris (French). 078-241-9448
This lively cafe is perched in an ideal people-watching location midway up the Kitanozaka hill, with a popular outdoor sidewalk terrace that takes full advantage of the view. The menu includes everything from light snacks and sweets to full-course French dinners (from Y2500).
SunYamamoto-dori 1-7-21. (1 block S of Yamamoto-dori and Kitano-zaka) Open 10am-11pm (LO) daily.
Genti Osier (French). 078-231-2815
Lavish, traditional French cooking for those special occasions. The dining room is elegantly appointed, and there's some terrace seating as well. Prix-fixe lunch from Y2700, dinner from Y6300.
SunKitanocho 2-8-9. (on S side of Kitano-dori just E of Kitano-zaka) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
Kondotei (French). 078-262-0620
The confident, modern French cooking and the warm, friendly atmosphere make Kondotei one of the better casual dining choices in this neighborhood. Lunches start at Y1260, and the evening bistro menu is Y3000-4500. The wine list is surprisingly large and diverse, starting at under Y3000/bottle.
SunYamamoto-dori 2-1-1. Open 11:30am-2, 6-10pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Balalaika (Russian). 078-291-0022
Yet another reminder of Kobe's historical past, Balalaika has been here since the 1950s, although they've modernized since then. The menu covers all the Russian favorites - cabbage rolls and meatballs, stews, piroshikis, borscht and so on. Dinner runs around Y3500.
SunNaka-Yamate-dori 1-22-13, Hillside Terrace 3F. (on Kitano-zaka 1 block N of Yamate-kansen, SE corner, next to Basin Street jazz club) Open noon-2:30, 5-8:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
Jamaicana (Caribbean). 078-251-6488
Jamaican stews, jerk pork, and other spicy fare prepared by the native Jamaican owner-chef here. Dinner averages around Y2500.
SunNaka-Yamate-dori 1-22-27, Dom's Bldg. 8F. (N side of Yamate-kansen, just E of Kitano-zaka) Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-11pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Gran Micaela y Dago (Chilean). 078-241-0367
Chilean cuisine is another unexpected find in Kitano. The food is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is friendly, with frequent live musical performances.
SunNaka-Yamate-dori 1-26-7. (on Hanta-zaka just N of Yamate-kansen) Open 5:30pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Kobe Grocers (Retail). 078-221-2838
This small corner store looks like it's been transported from small-town America circa 1950. The shelves are jam-packed with American and European brands seldom seen in Japanese grocery stores.
SunNaka-Yamate-dori 2-19-2. Open 10am-7:30pm daily.
Kobe Halal Food (Retail). 078-241-1286
This Halal grocery store is a good place to find Indian and south Asian spices as well as various prepared foods.
SunNaka-Yamate-dori 2-17-3. Open 11am-8pm daily.
As (French). 078-271-4007
One of Kobe's finest French restaurants, with a beautifully appointed dining room in the small but charming Kobe Kitano Hotel. Lunches from 5500, prix-fixe dinners Y9000-25,000.
SunYamamoto-dori 3-3-20, Kobe Kitano Hotel 1F. (on E side of Tor Road about 5 min. N of JR tracks) Open 11:30am-2, 6-9pm daily.
Totenkaku (Chinese). 078-231-1351
Peking-style cuisine, with an emphasis on Peking duck, is the specialty at this rather grandiose Kitano landmark. The "mini-lunch" is Y4000, with full-course dinner menus running Y6000-15,000.
SunYamamoto-dori 3-14-18. Open 11:30am-2, 5-9pm daily.

Nishinomiya

Beer Cafe Barley (Beer bar). 0798-65-6135
This cozy and pleasant beer specialist has seven seats at the bar and a few tables. In addition to four hand-pumped ales they offer more than 100 bottled beers, including a wide selection of Belgian styles and the full line of brews from Baird, one of Japan's best microbreweries. The substantial food menu features pizza, pasta, Shepherd's pie, and several dishes made with beer (try the chicken cooked in Asahi stout).
SunNishinomiya, Nagatacho 1-15, Liberty 2 Bldg 2F. (3 minutes from the North exit of Hankyu Nishiguchi Station, above a barber shop) Open 1pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Boteju (Okonomiyaki). 0798-61-0044
This national chain prepares good-quality okonomiyaki, yakisoba, "modern-yaki", and interesting five-color "salads" of shredded vegetables. They also offer a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki option.
SunNishinomiya, Takamatsucho 14-2, Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens 4F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Katsukura (Tonkatsu). 0798-61-0031
One of the best of the tonkatsu chains, Kyoto-based Katsukura offers nice side dishes like yuba (tofu-skin) croquettes and excellent Kyoto-style pickles. And they're open all afternoon if you need a late lunch.
SunNishinomiya, Takamatsucho 14-2, Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens 4F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Kushiya Monogatari (Kushiage). 0798-62-4173
This popular shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2625 per person, with a 90-minute limit.
SunNishinomiya, Takamatsucho 14-2, Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens 4F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
To The Herbs (Italian). 0798-62-4116
Tasty, sometimes unusual pizzas and well-constructed pastas at this budget Italian cafe chain.
SunNishinomiya, Takamatsucho 14-2, Hankyu Nishinomiya Gardens 4F. Open 11am-11pm daily.

Other areas

Hakutsuru Sake Brewery Museum (Attraction). 078-822-8907
This brewery museum is one of the most interesting of the many sake attractions in Kobe's compact brewery district. It's actually been put together inside an old sake kura, so unlike a modern museum it really smells like old wood and straw. See article.
SunSumiyoshi-Minamicho 4-5-5. (5 minutes S of Hanshin Sumiyoshi Station, or 15 min from JR Sumiyoshi, Kobe) Open 9:30am-4:30pm (enter by 4pm). Closed Mondays.
Poko no Mori (Bird cafe). 078-805-6700
The resident flock at this charming small-bird cafe includes canaries, finches, Java sparrows, lovebirds, cockatiels and various parakeets - some three dozen in all. The food menu includes both desserts and savory items like beef-tendon curry.
SunShironouchi-dori 3-2-14. Open 1-8pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.
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