5 Unagi Restaurants That Specializes in Unagi Hitsumabushi in Singapore

Unagi Restaurants

Ever since my first encounter with unagi hitsumabushi at Michelin-starred Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant, I have developed an insatiable obsession with unagi. 

To satisfy my unagi craving, I have decided to go on a hunt for the best unagi restaurants in Singapore. I have narrowed it down to the top 5 restaurants that specializes in unagi. To provide a fair comparison, this list only compares hitsumabushi. Hitsumabushi means “a variety of ways to enjoy unadon (barbecued eel on rice”. 

Hitsumabushi is Nagoya’s style of cooking freshwater eel. Hitsumabushi is served on a wooden tray, where the unadon is served in a round beautiful lacquerware. Accompanying the unadon is bowl of miso soup, a plate of seasonings (Japanese leek, wasabi, dried lava), a pot of daikon broth, a small bowl and a flat wooden scoop to divide the unadon and scoop into the small bowl. 

There are 4 ways/steps to enjoying hitsumabushi:

Step 1: Scoop a quarter of the rice and grilled eel and eat it as it is, enjoy the sweetness of the grilled eel and fragrance of the Japanese rice. 

Step 2: Take a second serving of rice and eel and add in half of the prepared seasonings (Japanese leek, wasabi, dried lava).

Step 3: Take the third serving and pour hot daikon soup together with the remaining seasoning and eat it as ochazuke. 

Step 4: Have the last serving in any way you like. 

Without further ado, let me present the 5 unagi restaurants in the order of my favorite. 

Unagi Restaurant: Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant

Unagi Restaurants - Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant was the talk of the town when it opened in October 2016 and even more so after it was featured in Singapore Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list. Expect to wait an average of 1-2 hours. 

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant uses eels from Isshiki town in Aichi Prefecture’s Mikawa province, which is well-known for rearing freshwater eels.

This is my first choice not only because the unagi is superb, but also for its affordability. This Hitsumabushi [S$29.50+] is the cheapest among the five with no comprise on the quality and taste. Even the Large Hitsumabushi [S$39.40] is still cheaper than the rest. 

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant

Address: 1 Keong Saik Road #01-01, Singapore 089109 

Telephone: 62220678

Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm

Unagi Restaurant: Unagiya Ichinoji

Unagi Restaurants - Unagi Ichinoji Restaurant Front

First of all, let me warn you that this restaurant can be a little hard to find. Look out for a signage that says “Village Residence Robertson Quay” between Italian restaurant Mondo Miao and Japanese restaurant Amazing Hokkaido. 

It is a small shop with seating capacity of around 20 people, long queues are inevitable. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unagi Ichinoji Hitsumabushi Set

There are 4 sizes of Hitsumabushi [S$26.80 for Small (S), S$32.80 for Medium (M), S$38.80 for Large (L), S$84.80 for Extra Large (XL)]. 

You have a choice of original Tokyo Style Sauce or the sweeter Singapore Style Sauce for the unagi. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unagi Ichinoji Hitsumabushi

The unagi is soft and tender with just the right amount of sauce (I chose the Tokyo sauce). The basting sauce is evenly distributed on every part of the unagi. The unagi is grilled till slightly charred and it literally melts in my mouth.  

Unagi Ichinoji (Robertson Quay)

Address: 30 Robertson Quay, Village Residence Robertson Quay #01-05, Singapore 238251

Telephone: 62688043

Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am – 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 5.30pm – 10pm (last order 9.30pm) 

Unagi Ichinoji (Suntec City Mall)

Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall #03-307, Singapore 038983

Telephone: 67321970 

Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am – 3pm (last order 2.30pm), 5.30pm – 10pm (last order 9.30pm) 

You can read my full review here

Unagi Restaurant: Unaemon 

This is another super-hard-to-find restaurant. I walked around the Capital Square area 3 times before I finally found it. Look out for PRONTO, the Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant and Unaemon is located in the small alley next to it. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unaemon Exterior

The polished wooden interior and bright lighting exudes an air of elegance. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unaemon Hitumabushi

The Hitumabushi [S$26.50 for Small (Half), S$39.50 for Large (Full)] comes with a pot of daikon broth on top of a small stove to keep it hot. The grilled unagi are tender and juicy and goes well with the fragrant Japanese rice. 

It’s a little more expensive than Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant but you get great ambience. 

Unaemon 

Address: 23 Church Street, Singapore 049481 

Telephone: 62261297

Opening Hours: Daily 11.30pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm

You can read my full review here

Unagi Restaurant: Uya 四代目菊川 Japanese Unagi Restaurant

Unagi Restaurants - Uya Restaurant Front

I was genuinely impressed when I saw the front of Uya 四代目菊川之Japanese Unago Restaurant on the second level of Wheelock Place. 

The bamboo panel, wood-colored cashier, wooden flooring and white Japanese curtain all come together to give a modern sophistication. 

There is a square communal table at the back of the restaurant with a maple tree in the middle. Dining underneath the tree really gives me the hanami feel. 

The menu is all written in Japanese with English translations below which looks really authentic. 

Unagi Restaurants - Uya

I was a little disappointed with their Hitsumabushi [S$35 for Medium, S$48 for Large]. The unagi is a little bland, I would have liked it to be a little  sweeter. What’s more, this is the most expensive unagi among the five, which made the disappointment even more pronounced. 

Uya 四代目菊川 Japanese Unagi Restaurant 

Address: 501 Orchard Road, Wheelock Place #02-15/16 Singapore 238880

Telephone: 67321096

Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 9.30pm; Friday – Saturday 12pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm

Website: http://www.uya.sg

You can read my full review here

Unagi Restaurant: Una Una 

Located besides the popular Ramen Champion, Una Una is a new Japanese restaurant that specializes in unagi. 

There is a huge glass tank at the entrance of the restaurant where live freshwater eels are kept. It gives the impression that the restaurant is really serious about its unagi. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unauna Hitsumabushi

Una Una’s Hitsumabushi [S$9.80 for Small, S$14.80 for Regular, S$19.80 for Double] is definitely the cheapest among the five restaurants. 

Unagi Restaurants - Unagi Hitsumabushi

I find the unagi a little too sweet and the underside of the unagi is not thoroughly cooked. The unagi in hitsumabushi should be easy to cut through to allow for the different ways of enjoying the eel, but I had difficulty cutting up the eel. The Japanese rice is also a little hard, either from undercooking or being left in the open for too long. 

Una Una 

Address: 201 Victoria Street, Bugis+ #04-10, Singapore 188067

Telephone: 62381011

Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11.30am – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm; Saturday – Sunday 11.30am – 10pm

This list is by no means exhaustive. If there is any restaurant that should be on this list but it’s not, please let me know in the comments below.

You can read my full review here

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