Review of Daikan Izakaya at Yas Bay: A Culinary Exploration

  • Dec. 21, 2023
Review of Daikan Izakaya at Yas Bay: A Culinary Exploration

Daikan Izakaya, originating from humble beginnings in Dubai's JLT, has evolved into one of the UAE's cherished homegrown success stories. Initially renowned for its soulful bowls of Japanese ramen, the brand expanded to Abu Dhabi's Yas Bay in December 2021, transforming into Daikan Izakaya and broadening its menu offerings.

Situated in a row of restaurants on The Pier, including other Dubai exports like La Carnita and Asia Asia, the Yas Bay location exudes a more grown-up aesthetic than its original 10-table establishment in JLT. The first licensed outpost captures the essence of a sleek izakaya, reminiscent of Tokyo's bustling streets, featuring long wood and marble tables designed for social dining. The atmosphere is enhanced by a substantial bookshelf covering the back wall, adorned with vinyl records and coffee table books, contributing to the brand's distinctive personality. An inviting outdoor area overlooking the Yas Waterfront adds to the appeal, although the daytime heat prompts indoor dining.

While Daikan Izakaya's menu has expanded beyond its signature ramen bowls, the prices remain comfortably affordable. Opting for a variety of dishes recommended by the staff, we appreciate the format of dishes arriving as they're ready. From the small plates, the shitake mushroom gyozas (Dhs42) and miso aubergine (Dhs35) impress with generous portions. The gyozas boast a perfect crispiness, while the melt-in-the-mouth miso aubergine is topped with smoked bonito flakes for added texture. The spicy Korean wings at Dhs35 offer excellent value, featuring a spicy sauce and a favorable meat-to-bone ratio, complemented by a side of cooling ranch.

Exploring the sushi section, the build-your-own nori tacos (Dhs61) present a deconstructed delight, allowing patrons to create personalized combinations from spicy salmon tartare, pickled cucumber, avocado, onion, tobiko, and ikura. The only drawback is the desire for more nori pieces to savor all the presented ingredients. A standout from the charcoal grill is the Wagyu steak skewers (Dhs62), seasoned simply with salt to let the organic flavor of the tender Wagyu shine.

Daikan Izakaya continues to captivate diners with its diverse offerings and inviting atmosphere, making it a must-visit destination for culinary enthusiasts in Abu Dhabi's Yas Bay.