When you hear the word teppanyaki, your first thoughts are probably about those horribly themed hibachi restaurants that are available in just about any city in the country.
I'm here to report that the Japanese restaurant Teppanyaki Kyoto in Highland Park is not that.
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What this restaurant is, however, is one of the most authentic Japanese establishments you'll find in Pittsburgh. As someone who has eaten his way around Japan, and loves just about everything there is about the country, it is high praise when I say that Teppanyaki Kyoto does it right.
But as much as Teppanyaki Kyoto offers an incredible menu full of Japanese items you may never have tried, the real gem of this restaurant is one particular dish: okonomiyaki– my favorite Japanese food of all.
Okonomiyaki in Pittsburgh
Okonomiyaki is roughly translated to mean “whatever-you-want, fried,” and at Teppanyaki Kyoto this description is incredibly fitting as they keep the dish true to its name.
The base ingredient in okonomiyaki is cabbage, and along with egg and flour it is cooked down on a griddle to form a pancake. The whatever-you-want component comes in due to the fact that you can add just about any meat, vegetable, or seafood your heart desires into the mix, plus other Japanese staples like mochi, and soba noodles (a staple of the Hiroshimayaki style variant of the dish). It is then covered with spicy mayonnaise, a tangy barbecue sauce (aptly named okonomi sauce), seaweed flakes, and bonito flakes.
Yes, this one is a feast.
Although you can choose whatever filler you like (at $1-$3 per item), to be 100% faithful to the Japanese style of this dish we think you must choose bacon as at least one of your mix-ins.
Nearly all okonomiyaki we sampled in Japan was topped with several strips of bacon, and the combination of flavors with the tangy okonomi sauce is one of the reasons why okonomiyaki is one of the best dishes of the country. Trust us on this.
On my most recent visit, I created a Hiroshimayaki with shrimp, squid, and bacon to mimic one of my all-time favorites from my travels. Although this one topped out at $17, it was worth every penny for being the most authentic and delicious okonomiyaki you can find outside of Japan.
The Rest of the Menu is Equally Amazing
I could write a thousand words or more about the joys of okonomiyaki, but that would be doing a disservice to all of the other menu items that are available at Teppanyaki Kyoto.
The restaurant is home to an array of traditional Japanese menu items including many you may recognize (like gyoza, udon, and soba) and several you may not (including bacon wrapped mochi- a personal favorite).
While we have not been disappointed by any of the menu items we've tried at this one, we do have to admit that we find it quite difficult to order anything other than okonomiyaki when visiting this one. It is simply that good.
For more Japanese fare in Pittsburgh, check out Umami or Oishii Bento! Or, for more reviews of Pittsburgh restaurants, click the previous link to be taken to our directory of every review on Discover the Burgh!