He who eats alone chokes alone. ~Proverb

Friday, September 2, 2011

Isaribi Tei Japanese Restaurant

Best in town for: Teriyaki Chicken, Saba Shioyaki (Salted Grilled Mackerel)
Worst in town for: Eccentric grumpy owner, crazy parking attendants (if you park in Goodall 2)

Opening times:
12.00noon - 3.00pm
6.00pm - 10.00pm

Closed on public holidays.

CAT: Our next review is (surprise surprise!) another Japanese restaurant, but this one is special...

Not to be taken seriously

This is the only Japanese restaurant in town where the proprietor will scold you "stupido!" if you do something that he deems stupid (which is pretty much everything). Best thing to do is to order your food, eat, pay and get out without making a fuss, otherwise you'll probably be labelled "stupido" by the owner for eternity. In fact, I'm pretty sure he has a wall plastered with photos to remind him of the most "stupido" customers who should never be let in.

If you've ever seen the episode of Seinfeld with the Soup Nazi, you'll understand.

However, several dishes here are among the best you can find in Penang. The Teriyaki Chicken is excellent. Grilled instead of deep fried, it is healthy and has a wonderful smoky flavour. It is priced at rm16 for the set, which is pretty reasonable considering the size of the portion.

Salmon Nigiri; CAT ate the other before I could snap the picture

On another note, Isaribi Tei serves the best Miso Soup. Not too salty and packed with chewy seaweed, I find it perfect.

BEAR: I won't be too surprised if I saw my picture on his 'Wall of Stupids'. Ah well, even then I still love the food in Isaribi Tei. My favourite is the Saba Shioyaki (Salted Grilled Mackerel) set (RM16). The set consists of miso soup, rice, mackerel, a small potato salad, 3 slices of thinly cut watermelon and all you can drink green tea.

After Isaribi Tei, I've stopped ordering Saba Shioyaki from any other restaurant; I couldn't find anyone who does it as good. You're given a generous piece of mackerel and it tastes absolutely perfect every time.

My only complaint is that the rice is a little inconsistent. Sometimes it's perfect, sometimes it's a little dry.

If you can't find parking in the front of the shop, there's another parking area at the back. Just turn into the food court (Goodall 2) and there's parking spaces allocated for Isaribi Tei's customers. However, sometimes the attendants there go a little crazy and claim RM2 from you even though you parked in the allocated spots, so be firm and get ready to shout at them.

Isaribi Tei is at 62, Jalan Chow Thye, 10050 Penang.

Ps.: We were unsure if we were allowed to take pictures of the food because during my previous company director's birthday, the grumpy owner told off our director, " NO CAMERA ALLOWED" so these are sneaky shots of the food.

View Isaribi Tei in a larger map


  1. any of the ingredients from japan? hv stayed off japanese since fukushima.

  2. The owner has put up a sign saying "no imported food from Japan", so I guess its safe to eat...

  3. What a very unpleasant family day we had dine in this Isaribi tei Japanese Restaurant @ Chow Thye Road, Georgetown, Penang. We have a big family of 9 pax with one baby stroller & 3 kids. First came in, the owner of old man started to nag in Japanese language and stare at us. My sister in law is a Japanese, so she translate the owner says ,noisy, noisy , noisy. It is because he doesn't like kids that can cry. The owner keep staring with unpleasant face . My brother kid just 1 years & 6 6months old only. Finally before the lunch served, he confronts us, he said, you are making a lot of noise here to my sister in law. So, my sis in law, Kumiko said what about the food if not ready yet, we would like to cancel all the dishes since he is not welcoming a big family with kids. He don't reply Kumiko at all and just point her back wit a rude manner, which 2 dishes already on the table. Kumiko just stoned with that old man owner of isaribi and speak half way : I would like tabao that...(speak not even finish,the owner walk away). Afterall, we just sit down and had the food quickly as possible because the owner keep staring at us because not welcoming us at all. We paid for hundred over and get an unpleasant experience to dine in his restaurant. That time just have 3 tables of customer,not even full house. I felt disappointed to promote them previously to my friends. We said no next time to such a Japanese restaurant for a family day or even yum char! So guys,if your kids can make such a noise, you better take note this awkward situation ! More of the comment of boss scold customer, you can see more at foursquare comment from various customer who had facing this problem since 2011. Link: https://foursquare.com/v/isaribi-tei-japanese-restaurant/4cf7253c55e137049447d1b6?ref=atw from my facebook more 85 comments that many penangities have experienced this issue: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151379254491735&l=564ea12dce

  4. I am sorry that you had a bad time in Isaribi Tei. After 3 years+ it is still one of our favourite Japanese restaurant, despite the grumpy owner. We did notice that he didn't like large crowds in his restaurant but I never realize he was not fond of kids.

    We usually come in, eat quietly and leave quietly as well.

    We read your facebook and saw that Edoichi was recommended. We found was Edoichi's food was mediocre, but that could be just us. Some of my friends absolutely love that place. We have tried it twice and twice, we were not impressed with Edoichi or it's service.

    Oh Sushi is definitely a place you might like to try like Neoh suggested. Service is good and we like the food there.

    Do give it a try and let us know how it goes. Good luck!


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