By Kim B
If you asked a Monbetsu local what their region of Japan is famous for food-wise, you'd almost always get the answer of crab. The waters off this part of Hokkaido are filled with a bounty of seafood, which is great if you could happily eat it for every meal. If you're not the biggest fan of seafood, however, you're probably wondering about places to eat that don't involve a bento box from the nearest 7-11. I was happy to stumble across Ajidokoro Azuma when I was in the area, and they have a host of both seafood and non-seafood based offerings on their menu.
I opted for the lunch steak bowl, which was a bargain for only 500 yen. It came with rice, a hearty serving of steak, egg, lettuce, and nori, as well as some miso soup and pickles - it was filling and delicious without breaking the bank. They've also got a lunch seafood bowl for the same price if you'd prefer. You'll also find plenty of fresh sashimi, curry, noodle dishes and more on the menu. Unfortunately if you are vegan, I didn't notice any vegan-friendly options available when I visited.
If you plan to visit, do note that the restaurant opens Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 2.30 pm for lunch (last orders taken at 2 pm), and then for dinner from 5 pm until 9 pm, with last orders taken at 8.30 pm. On Sundays, they only open from 11 am until 3 pm, with last orders taken at 2.30 pm.
Ajidokoro Azuma is located in central Monbetsu, close to the port area and a short walk from the main accommodation spots like the Monbetsu Central Hotel and Monbetsu Prince Hotel.
For those driving to the restaurant, there is a small parking lot on-site.
I'm an Australian who has lived abroad for almost a decade, including 7 years in Japan - specifically Tokyo and Niigata. I've visited 44 of 47 prefectures, with only Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto left to check out. I'm particularly fond of exploring off the beaten path destinations, gardens, ...