When a Japanese person thinks Nagoya Meshi (the cuisine only found in Nagoya) they inevitably think Miso Katsu, a deep-fried pork cutlet served in a dark and flavorful Miso sauce.
And if that Japanese person has ever been to Nagoya before to try Miso Katsu chances are that they tried it at Misokatsu Yabaton and that it was delicious.
My first experience with Miso Katsu was only recently.
Of course, I had heard much about it having visited Nagoya countless times by now, but I never really had the desire to try it myself.
I said to myself ‘Miso Katsu with its dark-colored sauce doesn’t really look that good’ and ‘there is so much other delicious food in Nagoya that I would rather try’.
I was wrong!
It might not look that great, but Miso Katsu is delicious and while there is lots of delicious Nagoya Meshi out there, such as Hitsumabushi (in my mind still the most delicious food from Nagoya), Kishimen, Tebasaki, and Tenmusu, Miso Katsu should be on top of every traveler’s list of things to try in Nagoya.
It is definitely number one in the hearts of the locals.
The History of Misokatsu Yabaton
Misokatsu Yabaton was established in 1949 and was an instant hit with the locals. The Miso sauce is made from Hatcho Miso which has been fermented for 1.5 years in barrels covered with large stones, the traditional fermentation process in use for more than 200 years.
With the popularity came fame, and money (I assume) and soon there were new Yabaton restaurants opening all around Nagoya.
In recent years Miso Katsu has made it to the other big cities, Tokyo and Osaka where you can try the original Yabaton pork cutlet covered in Miso sauce made in the same way for exactly 70 years now.
The Popularity of Yabaton in Nagoya
How do I know Yabaton is popular?
When I arrived at Misokatsu Yabaton at Meitetsu Department Store next to Nagoya Station, the restaurant had just opened 15 minutes earlier at 11 a.m. and already the restaurant was filled to capacity.
There was a line of about 5 people patiently waiting on the seats provided in front of the restaurant and studying the menu intently.
I looked around, but no other restaurant on the floor was even close to filling up with maybe one or two groups in each.
Only Misokatsu Yabaton in Nagoya is that popular that people decide to have lunch an hour before the ‘official’ national lunchtime.
By the time I left the restaurant, there was a line of maybe 25 people patiently waiting for their Miso Katsu in front and it wasn’t even 12 o’clock yet.
The Atmosphere at Misokatsu Yabaton
My group didn’t have to wait long and after about 5 minutes we were led to our table after the waiter took our orders outside.
The atmosphere had bustling energy to it with waiters walking around placing foods on tables, serving Miso sauce and cleaning up the tables for the next guests, already waiting outside.
The guests are a colorful mix of groups of office workers in their suits and white shirts enjoying their lunch breaks and visitors from other parts of Japan and even foreigners arriving with their luggage at Yabaton.
Yabaton is also very popular with young and old, but I suppose 11 a.m. is just not the time the elderly and families visit Yabaton.
The Food at Misokatsu Yabaton in Nagoya
The food arrived within a few minutes, a big plate, dominated by a generous slice of deep-fried pork loin and a side of sliced cabbage.
A bowl of rice and another one filled with Miso soup are part of the set menu. The Japanese really have to love Miso as they don’t think it’s strange to have a main dish with Miso sauce and a Miso soup on the side.
The waitress told us to wait a moment, she then produced a small earthenware jug and poured the freshly made Miso sauce over the meat, drenching it completely in the darkish red-brown sauce.
I had ordered half-and-half of Miso sauce and standard Tonkatsu sauce. Something I recommend everyone who isn’t sure whether they will like Miso or not to do.
Not only will you get to enjoy two flavors, but you will also not get completely overwhelmed by the rich Miso flavor, which might take a bit to get used to.
Other food options include fillet instead of loin, which tasted a little bit too dry for my taste.
There is also pork chop served with cabbage on a sizzling-hot plate called Teppan Misokatsu.
Or you can order a rice bowl topped with Miso Katsu in the form of a Miso Katsu Don.
I couldn’t wait to dig in. The aroma of the still steaming hot deep-fried meet together with the characteristic smell of Miso was everywhere and filled me with expectation.
My first bite into the juicy piece of pork was almost like a revelation.
The cabbage is a refreshing side dish which contrasts perfectly with the Katsu. There is no dressing on the cabbage so you only get the freshness of the salad.
In between bites of Miso Katsu and cabbage don’t forget to also eat the steaming hot rice and Miso soup. By the way, the soup has a completely different kind of Miso taste than the Miso sauce poured over the meat.
The Prices at Misokatsu Yabaton in Nagoya
Misokatsu Yabaton is not a cheap lunch spot.
They do not have a special lunch menu, which is unusual in Japan and so you pay around 1700 yen (17 US dollars) for your set.
Is it worth the cost?
In my opinion: Definitely!
Locations of Misokatsu Yabaton
Yabaton started out in 1949 in Nagoya and because of its popularity, it has since spread, even to other parts of the country.
You can now find it in 15 locations in and around Nagoya, 2 in Tokyo and another 2 in Osaka.
To find the location closest to you just put ‘Yabaton’ into Google Maps and you should have an answer right away.
You can find the information about all the shops on the Yabaton website.
And the information about the shop I visited in Meitetsu Department Store at Nagoya Station below.
MISOKATSU YABATON (NAGOYA STATION MEITETSU)
Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Address: Meitetsu Department Store 9F, Meieki 1-2-1, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002
Final Thoughts on Yabaton
My first experience at Misokatsu Yabaton was great. The food was more delicious than I had expected and I cannot wait to try some other variations of Miso Katsu at Yabaton.
If I managed to awaken your curiosity about food in Nagoya you should check my Nagoya Food Guide.
Miso Katsu is one of the dishes you get to sample if you participate in a Nagoya Meshi Food Tour. You also get the chance to try 7 other foods and snacks from Nagoya during one of the daily tours. Check this page for more information!
Ready to Book your Trip to Nagoya?
Find the cheapest flights on skyscanner.com, book amazing hotels in Nagoya on booking.com and reserve discounted tours and other activities on klook.com!
The best way to get around Japan is a Japan Rail Pass, book your Japan Rail Pass now on jrailpass.com.
For more general information about Nagoya read the Nagoya Travel Guide, or check out any of these posts:
- Best hotels near Nagoya Station for every budget
- Things to do in Nagoya
- Day trips from Nagoya you shouldn’t miss
To reread this post before your visit to Nagoya, I suggest you pin it to your ‘Japan Travel’ Pinterest board!
In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.