Japanese fix at Watami, SM Mall of Asia

We were at SM Mall of Asia for some late Christmas shopping and to watch the Grand Festival of Lights. After watching the parade, we got hungry so we thought of some places to eat in SM MOA. I refused to eat in our usual food choices so we walked around while scouting for a place to eat. When we passed by Watami Philippines, I suggested that we give this a try.

Watami at SM Mall of Asia

Watami at SM Mall of Asia

At their facade, the sign reads Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant. Watami has over 700 branches in the Asia Pacific region. I think in other countries especially in Japan, it’s considered as a “casual” restaurant hence the name. But the ambiance of Watami’s branch in SM Mall of Asia shows otherwise. Its Japanese interiors with a modern touch can be at par with the vibe of fine-dining restaurants. Don’t be intimidated though, because upon checking their menu, the prices are quite affordable.

I had a hard time deciding on what to order because they have an extensive menu. They offer sushi and sashimi, hotpot, tempura, ramen, and rice meals. They also have an array of drinks and desserts. If you crave for some Japanese food, I bet dining at Watami will surely satiate your craving.

Jeff settled for Pepper Beef Rice in Stone Pot.

Pepper Beef Rice in Stone Pot watami philippines

Pepper Beef Rice in Stone Pot, Php 190

Funny because we were this close to eating at Pepper Lunch but since there were no vacant tables, we proceeded to Watami. One obvious difference from Pepper Lunch is the way the Pepper Beef Rice is served. Watami serves them in a Stone Pot, it has generous servings of meat, corn and of course, pepper! We asked the server to mix it for us, we waited some time before getting a spoonful because it is still warm, no it’s hot! The food stayed hot until Jeff finished it. Jeff liked it because the meat, aside from its generous serving, is tender.

We also had Special Curry with Deep Fried Pork Tenderloin Cutlet.

watami philippines

Special Curry with Deep Fried Pork Tenderloin Cutlet

I really like the sauce, flavorful with just a spicy hint. For the meat itself, as much as I don’t want to, I can’t help but compare it with Yabu or Saboten. If you had Yabu’s juicy and tender katsu, then this one won’t pass your tenderness meter. The four slices of cutlets look rather sad amidst the generous serving of curry sauce too.

I got excited when I saw takoyaki from their menu. I had to try so I ordered the Kansai-style Takoyaki with Mentai Cheese.

takoyaki at watami philippines

Kansai-style Takoyaki with Mentai Cheese, Php 195

I was in takoyaki heaven with these! Just the right texture and doneness, soft on the inside and chewy outside. The creamy mentai cheese made it even delicious.

Watami deserves another visit because we have yet to try their other offerings, as I’ve said, they have an extensive menu. One thing’s for sure, I’ll have their Takoyaki again on my next visit.

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant – www.facebook.com/WatamiJapaneseCasualRestaurantPhilippines
Level 2, Entertainment Mall
North Veranda, SM Mall of Asia


  1. Wooow! The dishes look yummy!!! I love Japanese dishes pa naman 🙂 Will definitely visit this place soon! 😀


  2. I’ve always loved Watami’s food! Their pepper beef rice in stone pot is quite comparable to Pepper Lunch’s but even more inexpensive! 🙂 I don’t think I’ll ever order breaded cutlets from non-katsu-specializing restaurant though, but Watami’s dishes are generally pretty good. 🙂 Give their pizzas a try too. They have a good selection! Oh, and glad you mentioned the takoyaki. It’s one of the items I’ve yet to try, and I’ll make sure to order that on my next trip to Watami! 🙂


  3. Gaaah, you just made me miss Japanese food a LOT! I’m in Belgium right now so there’s a shortage of really good asian restaurants here. Anyhow, this just makes me remember all the good spots back there in Manila! This reminds me so much of Pepper Lunch too.

    Great post!


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