Review – Koryu in Osaka Japan

Introduction

I had asked the butler at the St Regis Osaka to try to book me reservations 2 weeks in advance at Fujiya 1935, which is a highly rated Michelin 3 star restaurant.  They were unsuccessful, but were able to get me reservations to Koryu, which is also a Michelin 3 star restaurant.  This would be our last meal in Osaka, and we wanted to go out on a high note.  Well it turns out the opposite happened.  The restaurant apparently only seats foreigners at the 9pm seating.

We got to the restaurant at 8:55PM for our 9:00PM reservation.  I slid the door and put my head in, but then a waiter walked me out asking me for my name and reservation.  He told me to come back at 9:00PM since there were still people dining there.  I thought it was a bit rude for a Michelin 3 star restaurant to shoo away a customer, but whatever.  We went to a nearby convenience store to kill time.  We came back at 9PM and saw 6 other people waiting outside.  The waiter didn’t come out until around 9:10PM and then let the 8 of us in.  While walking in, we noticed a Japanese couple who was already dining.  I told my wife that I hadn’t seen them when I looked in at 8:55PM.  So we thought it was odd that they were already eating…

 

Chinese tourists

As we were beginning our meal, I could overhear that the 6 people standing outside were Chinese tourists.  Two of them looked like they came back from grocery shopping.  Look, I’m fine with restaurants that don’t have dress codes, but you as a diner should know that if you’re dining at a Michelin starred restaurant, ESPECIALLY A 3 STAR RESTAURANT, then maybe you should dress up a bit.  Here are other things that annoyed me about them:

  • One Chinese couple showed up 35 minutes late, and the restaurant still served them
  • Another couple didn’t put the phone to vibrate so I kept hearing notification sounds
  • One of the girls kept taking selfies
  • One guy points his huge DSLR right at the chef
  • Of course all of them were on the phone the whole time

If this was the Cheesecake Factory, fine.  But there are unwritten rules that should be upheld at a fancy restaurant.

 

Lack of service

The tourists weren’t the only ones who dropped the ball.  We had ordered sake (see pic below.)  I was waiting for the server to pour the sake into our glasses, which never happened.  One of the servers totally forgot to give me a napkin until I asked.  Then at the very end of service, the kitchen decides to run the dishwasher while we were eating dessert.  My wife could smell the smell of old rags, which put off dessert.

The worst part of service was when we noticed the Japanese couple were getting served different dishes than us.  Their soup had prawns in it, and their beef course was a different [better] cut of meat.  I’m not sure if they paid extra for it, but there was no menu or price for us foreigners to upgrade our meal.

 

Conclusion

Don’t get me wrong.  The food and presentation was good.  However, due to the poor service and the off putting Chinese tourists, we did NOT enjoy our meal.  I don’t know how Michelin rated this restaurant 3 stars.  I’ve had better service at 1 star restaurants.  How are you going to put this restaurant in the same league was Eleven Madison Park, one of the best restaurants in the world!?!

Throughout the meal, I felt bad for the chef.  I think I understood why he puts the foreigners at the 9pm seating.  After dealing with those Chinese tourists, I’m sure he’d love to only serve Japanese clients.  This is probably why some of the high end Japanese restaurants have gone members-only.  They’re a victim of their own success.  Even if you don’t like foreign guests, it doesn’t mean you can give subpar service.  Thus, I highly recommend you DON’T GO HERE and try to get an RSVP at Fujiya 1935.  Or heck, check the reviews on Tripadvisor before going to any Michelin starred restaurants to see how real people rate the restaurant.

 

Is this Outback or a Michelin 3 star restaurant?

Baby sea eels

  • Ken

    Chinese tourists can definitely damper experiences overseas. Usually it’s the giant tour groups with an army of tourists, but even in small groups we’ve come across some off-putting people. On the flipside we’ve also met people overseas from Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and they were all great people. And the Chinese we’ve met in America have all been great too, so just seems to be the ones from the mainland. We’ve learned to adjust our expectations when we travel to expect the large tour groups now and it’s not as awful for us when we encounter them.

    But with that said there’s still no excuse for your dining experience. $100 for that and I’d be pissed, but $300?

  • Defiant

    They also got shit reviews on google. I feel a lot of michelin star restaurants are resting on their laurels or simply undeserving of their stars nowadays.

    • Miles per Day

      I know. I was reading the reviews on Google and thought, “maybe they are just haters.” Nope. They were right.