Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant, Orlando FL

Rating: ★★★★★

8255 International Drive, Suite 136
Orlando, FL 32819

Let me tell you a little story about a place I found called Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant. Owner and Sushi Chef Toshi Kishimoto runs this terrific and authentic Japanese restaurant located right in a main tourist area of Orlando, Florida.

It’s a little hard to find, tucked away in a little shopping center out of sight from a busy street in a big tourist area. But if you can find it, you’ll be rewarded with a menu chocked full of tasty treats.

One cannot help but notice the tranquil ambiance created by the tasteful Japanese themed decor and relaxing Japanese music playing in the background. The entrance is decorated as an entrance to a Japanese gardens. In fact even the outside entrance is marked with a replica of a carved stone marker you might expect to find in Tokyo.

The green tea is free, which really warms my soul this time of year. On a down note, their serious looking ramen is available for lunch only. Not surprising, but disappointing for anyone who cannot make it here during lunchtime hours.

chefs choice nigiri sushi

Their sushi, however is spot on! It starts with beautiful and tasty vinegared rice that just melts in your mouth. One look in the fish case will tell you there’s some nice seafood to be had here as well. That motivated us to order the Moriawase Hana, chef’s choice of ten nigiri sushi and tuna roll. It was a smart move indeed.

They also have lots of nabe dishes on menu, and it seems like this is a best seller during dinner hours. Their dinner menu is packed full of sukiyaki, shabu shabu, yose nabe and more. Also the dishes you cook on hot stones (ishiyaki): seafood, steak and more.

One note of caution: you’ll save a lot if you take the time to read the menu carefully. They offer inexpensive add-ons to ramen for lunch, like a $4 special that lets you add two onigiri to any noodle dish. And their $12 extras for dinner entrees will amaze you. Soup, salad, tempura, sashimi, chawanmushi and green tea or red bean ice cream for dessert can all be had for that $12 upgrade.

We only saw one awful American style roll being served, an awful looking volcano roll. I suppose it’s there to allow non sushi lovers to come enjoy the restaurant with visiting Japanese businessmen. I thought I noticed Toshi-san cringe just a little while making this roll.

Chef Toshi Kishimoto

Chef Toshi Kishimoto hails from Kanagawa prefecture where he picked up a few secret techniques. I won’t spoil the fun but let’s just say there’s a surprise or two awaiting the curious, regular customers who dine there.

This guy has no cream cheese on the premises, trust me! He does everything old-school, and the result is great for the customers who really enjoy Japanese cuisine. And as we mentioned earlier, if you’re smart about the menu, it can be very affordable to eat here. And we plan to do that again very soon.

Rating: ★★★★★

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