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Restaurant Review: Hinano And Hilltop

Author: Tim Boyle, Issue: July 2006, Topic: Restaurants

Two new restaurants to the Tsukuba scene offer a Viking style, all-you-can-eat service that might be worth your while — especially if you have a big appetite.

Hinano

"Hinano" features a variety of Japanese food, including tempura, fish, curry, and numerous other dishes. If you like Japanese food or would like to be able to try out a number of items to see what you like, Hinano is a good choice. There are a wide variety of drinks, including several fruit juices, and you simply serve yourself as many times as you want. I found the choices quite tasty, and if you try something you don’t like, you can just get something else.

It is located in the "La La Garden" shopping center in the recently expanded section nearest to the main road (Tsuchiura-Gakuen Sen). In fact, it is the business closest to the road, and so is easy to find.

The cost is 1575 yen for lunch and 2100 for dinner (with elementary school age children at half price, kindergarten (4 and up) at 1/4 price, and 3 and under free). The atmosphere is nice, and one interesting feature is that the plates are made of wood.

The main difference between lunch and dinner is that they have 5 or 6 special meat or fish dishes from which you choose from that are not part of the lunch menu. These include sashimi, sushi, shrimp tempura and several others.

Hilltop

The other new restaurant is an Italian style restaurant with a not very Italian sounding name: Hilltop. It is located next to Dayztown in Takezono. Unlike Hinano, however, it is not completely buffet style, as only the salad, bread and drinks are self-serve. The main dish, whether it is pizza, pasta, risotto, or whatever is ordered separately. In fact, you can just order that alone and not pay the extra for the self-serve part.

The main dishes vary in price between a bit over 1000 yen and 1500 yen, but when combined with the self-serve salad, etc., it is 1980 yen. The pizza I had was quite good and the salad bar was nice. It is a bit expensive for an everyday affair, but it is a good choice for a special occasions.

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