Portland >Food & Dining > Kappaya Japanese Restaurant
3384 SE Division St, Portland, OR | Directions 9720245.504759 -122.629920
Neighborhoods: Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Program, Richmond
Just plain good – You're not getting charged extra for over the top decoration or or presentation. Just good honest sushi. Sit at the bar if you can, super friendly peeps. This is a spot that locals would like to keep a secret.
Authentic, Delicious Food – I don't claim to be an "expert" just because I've lived in Japan, but this is my favorite Japanese restaurant in Portland. The owner/sushi sensei, Terry, is as friendly as others have written about, and the staff is all Japanese (except for Terry's co-sushi chef). That means that the food and flavors are all delicious and authentic.
It's true that the decor is not the best, but are you going to a restaurant just for the decor? Also, people here have complained about the wait times, but I just went there tonight at a busy time with three friends, and we had absolutely no problem with the service at all.
I love this restaurant and have no qualms about recommending this place to friends and family.
Favorite Neighborhood Sushi – We love this place. It is often overlooked but well worth it to stop by. Once we started coming here it is now the only sushi we will have in SE, and we live right across the street from ichidai.
Served me well for years – I spent years as a regular at Kappaya and found it to be a wonderful little jewel. The food is down to earth, delicious and I always left feeling wonderful and full of energy. The prices were alway reasonable. Go for lunch and you will see there is a real community that surrounds this place. Thank you to the staff for all their kindness! This place if full of good people and healthy food. I have moved now, but will visit you when ever I can. Best to you all.
Eh... – There was a little lost in translation. I asked about the tempura appetizer, and told the waitress I wanted it with my sushi. We went back and forth 3 - 4 times about it, and finally I got my tempura well ahead of my sushi anyway. Oh well. As someone else mentioned, the oil may affect flavor a bit.
People say the portions of sushi were big, but I found them to be not so big. Takahashi serves sushi that takes most often two bites to eat one piece, where here one bite is more than sufficient. So I ended up spending more money than I would at Takahashi.
The owner and sushi master, Teri, was a nice man. Pleasant and helpful.
The sushi was top notch and very fresh.
We had to ask for tea as well as a refill, so service wasn't as great as it could be. The third refill, she did bring on her own.
The decor was very bland indeed. I felt like I was in a brightly light office.
Tamago wasn't too sweet, which was nice. I do not like eggs too sweet.
I liked the natto roll, although found it was made more into a paste than actual full beans, which I think I would have preferred for the texture.
I tried the umejisho roll, which had a very distinct and fresh shiso flavor to it. It was green, and not pickled. I recommend not dipping it into soy sauce or wasabi, but just eat it straight.
Of course, the ebi (shrimp), kuni (crab) rolls were very good too. The veggie rolls. Masurgo, Sake (salmon), oregon albacore rolls... all good.
My mother tried the udon noodles, which she said did not contain too much noodles in it. She liked the flavor, but thought it had a lot of broth compared to amount of noodles in it. The noodles were not homemade, but very flavorful. She got the tempura udon, and was disappointed it did not have any fish or shrimp.
All-in-all, we enjoyed it, but the value wasn't quite what you might find at Takahashi. Still, both are good places to eat.
Sit at the bar and get to know your sushi chefs – Oh man, you want to know about a good sushi place? You gotta try Kappaya. The portions are generous, the sushi is delicious, and the chefs are friendly. The wait staff can be a bit standoffish, particularly if like me you don't know Japanese, but the chefs themselves are really nice (one of whom is the owner). The nigiri (the type of sushi that is a piece of fish on top of a bit of rice) is really superb, I particularly recommend the hamachi or oregon maguro. The unagi avocado maki (roll type sushi) is quite good and there is a good variety of spicy, savory, and crunchy rolls depending on your mood. I've also had a tasty dinner here even when I wasn't in the mood for sushi, including sweet and salty Kitsune Udon (yum).
I've heard this place favorably compared to places that cost 3 times as much, and my experience is much the same. The atmosphere is kind of a cross between a japanese convenience store and a Japanese person's home, but I come there for the food.
When I go to Kappaya with my girlfriend, she always orders her sushi with "no cucumber, please". They have always accommodated this with no issue, which is a big plus in their favor in my book. I have never gotten bony fish unlike some other places I could name. The sushi is just the best.
Unremarkable food, poor service – I ate here about 2 or 3 times, usually only because it was the closest thing and we couldn't think of anything else. It has always been bland, unremarkable food, served by unpleasant people.
The last time we went there, there were about 3 open tables. We stood there, waiting to be seated, for 15 minutes, trying to make eye contact and flag down a waitperson. None of them would respond, and would just hustle by. We decided to wait another 5 minutes and leave, which we did. We will never go back.
Best potstickers EVER – I don't care for sushi, and that's the only reason I can give for not having tried this little gem before. It was a spur-of-the-moment choice, because I figured they had to have more than just sushi -- and was I ever glad that I did try dinner here! The house sake is tasty, the entrees are delicious (and beautifully presented, as well as generously-sized), the prices are very affordable and the potstickers are the best in the entire universe. I'm thrilled that I found such a delightfully informal place with such good service, charming ambiance, and delicious food!
best sushi in town! – this place is amazing! the relaxed atmosphere can be whatever you want it to be, romantic or relaxed or kid friendly. try the rainbow roll its pretty much amazing, the sushi is like butter!
Good sushi -- but that's all, if you're vegetarian – We stopped in, wanting a hot bowl of something -- ramen, udon, whatever. They told us all of these options were made only with meat. (Yes, I know that japanese soup base almost always contains fish. I don't have a problem with the bit of it that's in a miso or ramen. They seemed to be saying it was something more, and we couldn't communicate well enough to figure it out.)
The one hot meal they could make vegetarian was Tempura, and this normally bland dish was even less satisfying than usual. The salads that came with dinner were of sad iceberg lettuce, which I have a hard time considering to be food.
We did get a veggie roll as appetizer, and it was quite good. They have several veggie options on their sushi menu, and I look forward to returning to try more of these. I only wish we'd been in the mood for sushi last night.
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