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US$45 - US$91
Lunch, Dinner
Reviews (58)
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Reviewed 18 April 2019

I had just finished a sukiyaki set lunch for 3,000 JPY (price is unbelievably good value for A5!) earlier at another wagyu restaurant in Matsusaka, less than 7 mins walk away. But, with some time on my hand, I sought out another wagyu fix before...I leave the city. So I set off to Gyugin Honten knowing that they do not accept solo dining. I can fully appreciate why - it is a fancy traditional restaurant where you are served by individual servers clad in kimono within a private setting. The economics of business would not make business - from a solo dinner. However, I was informed that its casual cafe next to it serves quality Matsusaka wagyu, and would accept solo diners. Since Matsusaka is off the radar for my Japanese trips, and I am less likely to return so soon, I figured that I would go for the best wagyu in the menu. I ordered its 150 gm Matsusaka Tenderloin Steak - costing close to 15,000 JPY - so that I can compare with the other Wagyu greats of Kobe/Yonezawa and equally famous Hida. It was almost 1 pm, off the peak busy hour, and less 35% of the cafe was occupied. Most of the clients were local and they ordered the simple, standard sets. After 30 mins of waiting, I observed that several diners who have arrived after me, have had their food served first. And by the time they had finished eating, I have not sighted my order. This is highly unusual for a well established restaurant in efficient Japan , thus I enquired about my order. The waitress apologised and said it is on the way. I was seriously considering to cancel my order and walk out. I did not want to miss my train and was getting upset by the long wait. The steak arrived after 40 mins. I must admit it was a good steak, beautifully cooked. The marbling was certainly world class, the aroma was great but somehow, I felt abit let down when I recapped my previous dining experiences. I feel that if I were to do a blind test amongst Kobe/Yonezawa/Hida wagyu, it would probably rank second last or last. And this is a comparison amongst similar A5 grades, whilst the marbling rating would differ between them. Perhaps it is manner that it was prepared. Kobe A5 is excellent - probably the best in the world - when prepared teppanyaki style. In Kobe, I had tried a 120 gm A5 with a marbing rating of 12 (BMS) Fillet and it costs JPY20,000. It comes with Hors d’oeuvres; salad; rice; dessert and coffee/tea. I have also tried another A5 BMS 8-10 Kobe dinner set for JPY16,000. Both of the Kobe resturants are top rated tripadvisor establishments and they proudly showed me the beef grading certificates, without me having to ask for it. In Yonezawa, I have tried A5 - so they claimed - prepared in shabu shabu; sukiyaki; yakiniku; and teppanyaki. I figured their MBS at beween 5-6 but the meals were of excellent value, about half the price of Kobe prices. And they would accept solo dining. Personally, Yonezawa wagyu tastes best when cooked in yakiniku and sukiyaki style. In Matsusaka, prior to eating at Gyugin Honten, I had an excellent sukiyaki lunch set at another estalishment for only JPY3,000! They proudly showed me the A5 BMS 7-8 grading. At this cafe of Gyugin Honten, I paid JPY14,400 for 150 gm and it comes with a small salad. There is no certificate presented on the quality of the beef. I noted its main store - the fancy restaurant abutting the cafe - are listing their prices at JPY15,120 for its top grade beef. But this is the price per person and there is a minimum order of two required. So my advise is that if you end in the cafe of Gyugin Honten, you are probably not getting great value for its 14,400 JPY steak. I would not recommend any of my friends nor family members to try this. If I am in the area again, and willing to spurge at least 30,000 JPY for two persons, I may be tempted to try its main restaurant. But my mind will be tugging me to return to the 3,000 JPY sukiyaki lunch/dinner set down the road, and save the 15,000 JPY for a more value oriented dinner at a top ranked Kobe restaurant. If I were to pay anything more than JPY10,000 per order anywhere in Japan, I would expect an A5, with a BMS 7-8 and above (12 would be the top of the meter). And the dining establishment should be proud to show you the grading certiificate. Afterall, you are paying a premium for it.More

Date of visit: March 2019
Reviewed 3 April 2019 via mobile

Second time in this restaurant. Everything still the same. Good service and good food. The beef here is not like Kobe. Its not so fat and it is so juicy. Don't worry that you will overcook the beef because the beef is cooked by the...server in traditional Japanese kimono. Only thing is that this is a traditional Japanese restaurant with no chairs.More

Date of visit: March 2019
Reviewed 18 March 2018 via mobile

I believe if you are keen to explore the food culture of this region, this is one restaurant that you will need to visit. The servers were all dressed in their traditional kimonos. They were all very polite and very hospitable. From the entry, you...would need to take off your shoes and the servers will placed your shoes on the racks for you. They will lead you to individual dining rooms and they really made you feel special. For the beef, they have various different cuts and comes with different prices tags as well. Many different ways to cook your beef but I would recommend sukiyaki as this is the traditional way that the Japanese eat matsusaka beef. The server will cook in front of you and to me, that's an enjoyment in itself as the whole cooking process is like an entertainment show. There's a store selling raw matsusaka beef on the right and the left is the restaurant. Not a cheap place to eat though, but on the other hand, matsusaka beef is the most expensive beef in the whole of Japan. We paid around sgd475 for 4 adults and 2 child for the meal. What an experience!More

Date of visit: March 2018
Reviewed 16 February 2018 via mobile

This is a traditional beef restaurant that only suitable for beef eaters. Not many choices but the beef is so juicy and it doesn't taste greasy at all. All cooked and served by an assigned staff. The price is less than half in Hong Kong.

Date of visit: February 2018
Reviewed 20 December 2015 via mobile

We decided to eat 'Special Grade Matsusaka beef' Sukiyaki as a reward to myself for working hard. Because I heard this 'Special Grade Matsusaka beef' is delicious and very limited like sharing only 3.5% of all Matsusaka beef. This cattle must be born in Hyogo...prefecture and have been fattening for more than 900 days in determined area around Matsusaka. That's why this is expensive more than other brand beef. And that was worth paying big money! Beef smelled fine, melted in the mouth, and unforgettable taste! (Even fat tasted great!) I really felt happy. I hope I can enjoy this 'Special Grade Matsusaka beef' again in near future!More

Date of visit: February 2015
Reviewed 6 March 2015 via mobile

I was your traveling on business and we did the Matsusaka beef. Service was excellent and the food was just as incredible. Nice family run business I met the mother and the two sons that operate the entire thing. We did the special tasting with...the Matsusaka special reserve and they have a great traditional sukiyaki. When I return to matsusaka this is the place I will definitely go!More

Date of visit: March 2015
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Gyugin Honten is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Value: 3.5
  • Atmosphere: 4