Good Eats: Evah Dining (Fukuoka)

Alright, I’ll admit it – I’m a pretty clean eater but I have no idea what the term macrobiotic actually means. What I do know is that whenever that word shows up on a menu or in a restaurant description, I’m at least guaranteed a meal that won’t give me a heart attack. (Not that I don’t love my hamburgers, mind you … :)).

I stumbled across Evah Dining in Fukuoka’s trendy Damiyo neighborhood at the end of a solo weekend this past summer. Since I normally have to compromise a bit on my meals when I travel with my 2-year-old, I go all out whenever I am alone – good value set menus and massive kaiseki meals are my downfall. Somehow my eyes are always bigger than my stomach! So I was a bit desperate for something light but filling enough to get me through my bus ride back to Kumamoto and Evah Dining’s menu fit the bill.

One side of the cafe's dining area
One side of the cafe’s dining area

There are three to four main options on the lunch menu, and all choices consist of a main dish and multiple sides. I was immediately drawn to the “mille feuille” option, a dish composed of layers of tofu and grilled vegetables topped with a tomato sauce and crisped onions. It was accompanied by a sizable green salad with a sesame-like dressing, a bowl of miso soup with chunks of daikon (radish) and green onions, and a large bowl of brown rice spiced up a bit with a homemade furikake (slightly salty seasoning usually made of bonito flakes or shredded nori plus some extras). There were also numerous side dishes – most of the vegetables used here are sourced from a farm in nearby Saga prefecture so you never get something out of season. You can even get glasses of organic wine to accompany your meal for a mere ¥300 extra.

The Evah lunch set's main plate
The Evah lunch set’s main plate

Dessert was a decent, though not memorable, cinnamon muffin half with pumpkin cream but it was surprisingly the coffee that sticks out in my mind. I am not a coffee drinker at all but what Evah Dining serves is actually not the real stuff, but a blend of chicory, malt, barley and a few other ingredients that tastes pretty darn close to an actual cuppa joe. (Or maybe I am just easily fooled – as I said, I’m certainly no swiller of Starbucks fare!)

The cinnamon muffin with pumpkin cream
The cinnamon muffin with pumpkin cream

Don’t come to Evah if you’re in a rush; it did take a bit of time between my soup and my meal and I noticed other patrons had packed some reading material, perhaps indicative of the usual wait. The food was absolutely worth the wait though (except perhaps, for the dessert) and the location is not too far off the beaten path. If you don’t have time for a leisurely lunch, there is also an outpost of Evah Dining in the Hakata train station so you can pick up a macrobiotic bento for your ongoing travels.

Evah Dining only has a Japanese website but you can download an English version of the menu here.

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