We’re lucky to have quite a big density of authentic Japanese restaurants here in Frankfurt. But beware! If I’m saying “authentic”, I’m judging by the abundance of Japanese guests rather than by my knowledge of the Japanese cuisine. In fact, I’ve never been to Japan. On the other hand, I some basic kind of way at least, I believe I can somehow tell the difference (I’m pretty sure though I know how real delicious Sushi tastes like!), and luckily a few Japanese friends also helped me with their judgements.
Mangetsu is located in the Bockenheim district of Frankfurt, not far from the trade-fair complex and parts of the university campus. It calls itself Izakaya-restaurant, because basically, that’s what it is. Izakaya means Sake bar and somehow represents the Japanese version of a tapas bar (some would hate me for that comparison I’m sure) where one is served a multitude of small plates to go along with drinks.
So of course, first of all there are the drinks at Mangetsu. Deliciously flavourful Kirin beer from the tap, as well as a big enough selection of Sake and Shoushu are available. A couple of wines by the glass are also on the list but clearly, that’s not what Mangetsu is all about.
And it’s clearly not about beautiful premises either. Furniture and interior appear rather humble and, after all these years, the random Japanese decorations still seem somewhat improvised. But as of what I can tell from pictures, it somehow transports the izakaya atmosphere one would expect to see in Japan. Plus, there is a rack full of manga books to entertain lonely Japanese diners.
And I guess Japanese diners also feel at home here when it comes to typical Izakaya food. As in Japan, many specialties from the grill are available: the famous Yakitori (chicken on a skewer), but also all other sorts of grilled skewers such as chicken hearts, chicken liver, chicken stomach, chicken skin… See! It’s getting pretty authentic here already! And on the “specials” menu I also saw chicken feet that night.
But don’t worry, there’s also “regular” meats such as duck and beef or veggies such as shitake or leeks. As for grilled seafood, there’s a delicious calamari I already had on several occasions and a couple of other grilled fish.
Of course, the classic Gyoza and Edamame aren’t missing. Same goes for tempura and the likes. But while we didn’t have any battered veggies on this occasion, we had some delicious fried eggplants. Better than any patatas bravas in a tapas bar I’d say!
Options for Sashimi and Sushi are also on the menu. The quality of Sushi, although by far not at the level of Bar Masa or Yasuda in New York, and also not the best you’d get in Frankfurt in my opinion, is still fairly satisfying. The scallops carpaccio we had though, was wonderful and made of very fresh specimen.
Further, Mangetsu also offers a “specials”-menu that changes on a regular basis. Sometimes it features dishes that are even more “authentic” and traditional than you’d probably like (chicken feet) but there are also surprising dishes that prove a certain creativity with Japanese conventions. For example, we had these grilled strips of Iberico pork in a typical soy based dressing: succulent!
As a final word: the best way to enjoy Mangetsu certainly is to go with a group of thirsty and hungry friends, order a big bottle of Sake and share all kinds of foods on the table. It’s the best way I’ve experienced it myself so far! On weekends make sure to reserve, especially when in a group.
Mangetsu Izakaya Restaurant
Tel: 069 772210
Mo-Fr: 12:00 -14:30
Sun-Thur: 18:00 -22:00