MATOI: One-stop Authentic Japanese Bar

Every living person I know in planet Earth knows how much I have been dreaming of Japan. If others have their own European or American dream, I also have my Japanese dream. LOL. I always think of me strolling the alleys and streets of Japan, walking on the ever famous Shibuya crossing, taking a photo beside the statue of Hachiko (I love dogs so much. Heee <3) , experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, wear a Kimono, use all the buttons on a Japanese toilet. Hahaha! And many many more…

But all of that would only be possible if I first get a plane ticket. Whahaha! Still waiting for that perfect PISO-fare for my Japan dream, though. Hahaha. πŸ™‚

Anyway, I’ve been blabbering about a lot of things already so let me get this straight and tell you about our Matoi experience.

My friend, Joseph Longboy or as others know him as Fade, yes, you’re right! The ever famous photographer who started it all — “Siesta Series”. LOL. Was the one who actually invited me to try out Matoi. so, THANK YOU, LongB! πŸ™‚

I actually saw one of his Vlog and got curious about the place. And it all started from there. You can check out his Vlog about Matoi on this link: Matoi by Joseph Longboy


Fun Fact: That huge rock by the door was told to be their “guardian” in Matoi.


Have you ever watched Midnight Diner: Tokyo Series in Netflix? I have watched a couple of episodes and that is also one of the main reasons why I got attracted to Matoi. The entrance feels like going inside one of those ramen houses in one of Tokyo’s alleys. Awesome! πŸ™‚



Matoi have 2 separate spaces, 1st is where the bar is located. It does have tables and chairs for its guests. There is also a huge variety of drinks that you can choose from. So if you are in for a drinking-seshΒ with some good friends, then I suggest you stay here. I was not able to take a photo since we did not stay there.

The 2nd space is where we actually stayed. This have a more personal experience since we are seated right in front of the bar where the chef prepares all the food.


This is Chef Ken San, owner and chef of Matoi. He is so bubbly and have a distinct personality. Reason why his guests come out of Matoi very satisfied and happy πŸ™‚


Another fun fact about Ken San and Matoi: he does not speak nor understand Tagalog and English. So his servers and cooks do the talking for us. It means, they all know how to speak Japanese! I’m inggit! πŸ™

Anyway, this area where we stayed can only fit 7 people. Good thing for us, we came in earlier than the others so the whole place was ours! πŸ˜€


Ken San being all goofy and ready to strike a pose anytime. πŸ™‚


So what’s the point of us going here besides good company? Of course, FOOD! Duh! Hahaha. Japanese restaurants have been popping almost anywhere and everywhere in and out of Metro Manila. Some can be a little bit too pricey but you get that win-win situation of eating an authentic Japanese food. For some, the price can be wallet-friendly but lacks the authenticity of it. But here in Matoi, I know it may sound impossible, but the price of their food ranges from 200 – 400 pesos per person, which is NOT BAD AT ALL. And in exchange for that, one will be getting the real Japanese experience and true value of how it is to eat Japanese food.



Appetizer. I don’t know what’s it called but it is super yummy! πŸ™‚


If you dine in at Matoi, Ken San serves his guests FREE appetizers. And take note, this is not that typical one menu appetizer. He serves different appetizers depending on what comes in his mind at the time you arrive. For me and my 4 other friends, we got this shrimp cooked on garlic and some sauce. For 2 of my other friends, one was, I think, a fried dumpling and the other was some carrot cooked the Japanese way. Lol. Pina sosyal ko lang kasi hindi ko alam tawag. Wahahahaha!

But for me, I can’t think of any better way to welcome your guests whether a returning or new one, with a food that was well thought of and definitely made with LOVE <3 Thank you, Chef Ken San! πŸ™‚


Hand-written menu πŸ™‚


Salmon Sashimi. My favorite in all Japanese restaurants. YUM! Melts right in to your mouth. Waaah!


To be honest, and all my friends know this, even though Salmon Sashimi is my favorite Japanese dish, I, never in a million years, have thought nor have tried eating a Wasabi. I had tried once but I just had to vomit. Uck!!! BUT! All that changed in Matoi. I had this thinking that, since this is a legit Japanese restaurant, I think their Wasabi would be fresh. So I just had to try it out. And YUP! I did it! Ate all 5 pieces with a dash of Wasabi on each. And did not have to drink water nor Soju. I made it! Another thank you for Ken San and Matoi πŸ™‚


Ebi Shinjyu. This is one of Joseph’s favorite. So he treated us with this! YUM too! Thank you, Long B! And oh, just put a dash of their salt on it and BOOM! You’ll just be amazed πŸ™‚


This is how the Ebi Shinjyu looks like on the inside. It’s like a shrimp and other minced meat inside. πŸ™‚


For the main course, we ordered different sets each. And all were too awesome!


Butakimchi. This one’s for Joseph. And one of the best I tasted that night. Promised to order this when I come back. πŸ™‚


Yaki Udon. Melanie had this. And should I say it again, it was also GOOOOOD! <3


Mixed Tempura. Nico had this as one of his appetizer. Too bad he do not eat veggies. But too good as it was given to me. LOL. This one’s great too! πŸ™‚


Tonkotsu Ramen. This was Nico’s main dish. I bet it was good too because all that was left is the Nori. Because he do not eat it too. So one score for me again! Dibs on that Nori! Lol.


Katsu Curry Rice. THIS IS MINE! And have to say, ANG SARAAAAP! Iba!


Strawberry Japanese Halo-halo. πŸ™‚ Good way to end the course. πŸ™‚


Another fun fact: Chef Ken San is very happy when his guests are satisfied with the food that he serves. You can say these two words to him if you are delighted by the food:

SUGOI – means Amazing

OISHI – means Delicious

And if you say that more often, you’ll never know, you might also get a free dessert like us! Another FREE for us! πŸ™‚ yes, we had the Japanese Halo-Halo for FREE <3


I forgot what’s this called but it does have a “Korokke” on its name. I don’t like the dip but the Korokke itself is good. It does have some minced pork, cream and corn inside. Worth it to try too! πŸ™‚


Overall, I am just too overwhelmed by this whole dining experience that we had. Thank you, LongB, for bringing us here! I have always wanted to explore the unexplored and I guess Matoi is one of those restaurants that deserves a shout out and have the right to be recognized.

We are a group of 8 and our total bill was 5,300+, I guess. Not all food are posted above. But to have that amount in quite a huge group is already a good deal!


Doumo arigatou gozaimasu, Matoi and of course, Chef Ken San! <3



MATOI: Arirang Hotel, 1767 Mabini St, Malate, Manila, 1004 Metro Manila