Recently I’ve been eating Asian cuisine non-stop, so when my friend suggested that we should check out Daikaya Izakaya, which is a Japanese restaurant I didn’t need much prompting. The restaurant is divided into two main areas. The bottom portion is the ramen shop and doesn’t accept reservation, while upstairs serves tapa style dishes. The restaurant is right across from the Capital One arena, so the ideal time to check it out is before attending a game/ concert, especially if you’re with a group of people.
Parking and Location: Daikaya Izakaya is located in the heart of Chinatown. There are various parking garages nearby, but keep in mind that if you decide to use the garage on a game night then the fee increases. There was a Caps game the night I went, and I was unable to find street parking, so I parked in the garage and paid $24, which is quite pricey. Izakaya is located a block from the Chinatown metro stop, so I would recommend taking the metro to save yourself the hassle of trying to find parking and the high price tag for parking in the garage.
Ambiance: Immediately, as you walk up you’re greeted by an artistic steel building that seems very modern. Unfortunately, the contemporary concept doesn’t transfer to the upstairs area of the building, which is Izakaya. Izakaya is very small, and there isn’t a lot of natural light available. We sat at the bar, which had a skylight and the bar was cast in a red light, which provided a Tokyo feel.
Food and Experience: As mentioned before the dishes are tapa style, so they’re perfect for sharing. We got many dishes, and the only dish I didn’t like was the chicken wings because it was too fatty, but then again I did set myself up by ordering wings at a Japanese restaurant. The great thing about Daikaya Izakaya is that the plates are reasonably priced, but still offers a sizeable portion size. From the fun bites section, we got the Reggie’s Grilled Oyster, which was very flavorful and only $3.25. Under the Green Things section, we got the Smashed Pee Wee Potatoes, which was perfectly crispy and only $6.50 and under the Skewer section, we got the chicken wing, which was $3.50.
From the fish things section, we got the Tuna and Watermelon, which had onion as the base. The Tuna poke was delicious, but I wish it came with some kind of chips to eat with it. We also got the Grilled Octopus, which was tender and not too chewy. The octopus was $9 while the Tuna Poke was $11.
Under rice and noodle, we had the Onigiri Rice Ball, which we wrapped in seaweed. The middle of the riceball was filled with pork which blended well with the rice and seaweed. That dish was $4.50. We also got the CACIO É PEPE UDON, which is pecorino cheese with noodles.
If you know me by now, you know that no meal is complete without dessert. Unfortunately, the dessert menu isn't online, so I'm unable to provide the exact name, but our dessert was essentially chocolate ice cream with chocolate and banana chips which made the perfect combination of crunchy and sweet. My favorite dish was desert because it wasn’t too sweet.
I haven’t been to an inexpensive, nice restaurant in a long time, so I’m looking for an excuse to visit again. I recommend visiting this restaurant, especially if you’re looking for a new go-to restaurant in the Chinatown area.