With a fine pick of eateries just outside the bustle of Nakasu, the bar alley Ningyo Shoji is known as a refined place to dine, despite strong competition across Fukuoka. In contrast to its superb location--a three minute walk from Nakasu-Kawabata Station--this alley makes you feel like you have stepped into a movie set. With a distinct Showa-era atmosphere pervading throughout, as well as strikingly lively crowds, Ningyo Shoji is home to many excellent restaurants. Specializing in chicken dishes, and serving delectable meals using select fresh ingredients, Aho-dori Hanare is an eatery in this alley that is particularly well-received by people in Fukuoka who are well versed in fine food and drinks.
Aho-dori Hanare uses fresh poultry delivered from a partner farm in Fukuoka to serve a wide variety of chicken dishes. With an atmosphere like an Italian bar, the stylish interior features semi-private rooms with a sunken kotatsu, as well as seats at the counter facing an open kitchen. This restaurant is a must-visit, and is ideal for a variety of occasions, such as drinking with colleagues, having a girls’ night out or when traveling to Kyushu to enjoy its famed delicacies.
First-time comers are invited to try the Aho-dori Course meal, featuring a selection of the restaurant’s specialties and offering a taste of its vaunted chicken meals (This course meal is available for orders to serve two people or more). This course meal includes a total of eight dishes as well as free drink refills for two hours. The price is reduced from 4,500 yen to 3,500 yen when booking at least one day in advance online or over the phone, so be sure to make an advance reservation.
The Aho-dori Course meal features a lavish assortment of dishes with dessert included: chicken liver confit; lightly seared chicken using locally-raised poultry butchered that morning served with yuzu citrus and daikon; salad with premium-grade small fish, homemade tofu and sesame dressing; charcoal-grilled, locally-raised chicken thighs; Aho-dori special chicken meatballs (one for each person dining); salted deep-fried chicken using Hanamidori; chilled udon; and sesame dumplings. (The picture illustrates a meal serving four people)
The restaurant staff take particular pride in their charcoal-grilled, locally-raised chicken thighs.
With a deep smoky aroma and a umami flavor that grows stronger as you chew, this long-time specialty at the restaurant continues to spark people’s love for the wonderful richness and umami flavor of charcoal-grilled meat.
This dish is in limited availability, with only 30 plates served a day when ordered on their own (a small serving is 980 yen and a large serving is 1,500 yen), though it is included as part of the Aho-dori Course meal. For this reason, the course meal is a must in order to guarantee a taste of this special dish.
Try the first bite on its own, then savor it with homemade vinegar sauce or garlic soy sauce to enjoy a diverse range of flavors.
The special chicken meatballs are a popular dish on the a la carte menu, and many diners are astonished at the size of each meatball as soon as they are brought to the table.
Chicken meatball lovers will be in heaven!
Made from minced chicken breasts, thighs, cartilage and other parts, these vaunted meatballs have a crunchy texture that will leave you wanting more. You can enjoy new flavors by dipping the sweet and spicy meatball in the accompanying egg-yolk, which delivers a harmonious mix to your taste buds.
This dish is also in limited availability, with 50 meatballs served a day when ordered on their own (one meatball is 350 yen).
The chicken liver confit uses locally-raised chicken liver cooked slowly over a low heat to tenderize it. The care taken to prepare this dish can be felt in its velvety texture. The salted deep-fried chicken uses Hanamidori doused in shio koji for two days, and offers a rich, juicy flavor from the first bite. You are sure to enjoy it!
It also goes well with the alcoholic beverages served with free refills during the course meal.
A wide range of beverages are served with free refills during the course meal, including chuhai, shochu, sake, Japanese plum liqueur, wines, cocktails, soft drinks and more. The Dewer's Highball is a particular must-try, made with Dewer's blended whisky and said to be the origin of the highball.
With an excellent cassis aroma that combines a spicy tang and a mildness evoking vanilla and honey tones, this drink is particularly popular at Aho-dori Hanare.
Aho-dori Hanare is the sister store to Aho-dori. With pride in the freshness of its ingredients, this restaurant offers other delectable dishes besides chicken.
Pesticide-free vegetables delivered by a partner farm, beautifully clear squid from Yobuko in Saga and horse meat from Kumamoto are just some of the wide selection of ingredients used to create many delightful and appealing dishes.
Aho-dori Hanare has large glass windows that offer a view of the interior, allowing people to enter with ease.
The eatery is frequented by a diverse mix of people of all ages that come to enjoy fine food and drinks. Customers include younger women drinking alone at the Italian bar-like counter, office workers engaged in conversation and senior citizens happily savoring their meal together with their sake.
The semi-private rooms feature modern-styled drawings on their walls created by Hiroyuki Seto, a friend of the restaurant owner. Surrounded by these fine illustrations, you are sure to enjoy a lively conversation with your fellow diners!
The semi-private rooms each seat four people, and can be made fully private by lowering a screen at the entrance. Four semi-private rooms can also be joined into one large room that accommodates up to 25 people, making it an ideal location for hosting a party with friends or coworkers. The rooms include a sunken kotatsu, allowing you to stretch your legs and relax while you enjoy your meal.
Show yourself as a true gourmand by visiting this hidden gem of a restaurant.
Anyone visiting Fukuoka is sure to have a great time at Aho-dori Hanare, so be sure to let them know about it.
*Prices indicated in this article include tax for course meals, but do not include tax for a la carte dishes.