French Limited to One Group per Day; Savor the Fruits of Fukushima's Natural Gifts, from Sea to Mountain
Located 10 minutes by car from Iwaki station, nestled atop a low hill in a residential area of south-east Fukushima, HAGI is a tiny home-turned-restaurant with an outsize reputation. The cozy restaurant is in fact the chef's own home, which he refurbished to open shop albeit to one group of 2-8 guests a day.
The owner-chef Harutomo Hagi is a renowned far and wide, having been invited personally to Europe to cook for a group including the French President and the Prince of Monaco in 2013. The following year, he was one of 7 recipients awarded the bronze in the fifth rendition of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries sponsored ""Cuisine Masters", which seeks to honor outstanding chefs.
HAGI offers only a chef's course; chef Hagi personally sources his ingredients from contacts across Fukushima, and constructs a unique course to showcase their beauty every day. He proudly represents the locale, which with fruitful landscape offers ample and quality produce, seafood, and meats. His herbs and greens are worth special mention, as he obtains the best of the morning's harvest every day directly from neighboring farmers; sometimes, it is through his daily interactions with his sources that he finds inspiration for new and fascinating recipes.
The wine and sake selection, a source for his well-regarded pairing menu, can be ordered a la carte from a single glass as well; given his attachment to home, perhaps it is only natural that guests are commonly delighted to find rare and prized local liquors not yet available on the open market.
The dining hall, placed adjacent to the kitchen, is reminiscent of home; the proximity and ability to watch chef Hagi prepare the courses makes for a cozy mood, as if you are at the home of a friend that happens to be a chef. If you look outside, the home garden is a further treat, enhancing the notion that you may be back in your own dining room. At this tiny outpost to which gourmet-lovers across Japan pilgrimage to, pay homage to chef Hagi's reputation, and enjoy the best of Fukushima in a fun and relaxing meal!
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