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YOMITAN, Okinawa —If you’re like me, you usually avoid bars and restaurants that are within easy access of every Tom, Dick and Mary who walk out the base’s front gate.

But after years of avoiding the Royal Restaurant, located across Route 6 from the main gate to Torii Station in Yomitan, my wife and I decided to give it a go. After all, it is a convenient stop for anyone going to tour the nearby Zakimi Castle Ruins, the lighthouse at Bolo Point or any of the excellent beaches along Cape Zanpa.

We’re glad we did.

The interior was homey, with a log cabin décor. The wicker and teak furniture was comfortable. Since the restaurant is so close to Torii Station, the menu was, of course, very English-friendly and the staff spoke English as well. The restaurant has been in operation since 1967, so they know their customer base well.

What surprised us were the reasonable prices. The extensive menu covers Japanese and Chinese sets, plus American-style sandwiches, burgers, tacos, pizza and pasta. Everything’s available for takeout.

The service was friendly and fast. I had the Chinese set of fish in a delicious black bean sauce that came with fried rice and two fried gyoza.My wife ordered the Japanese teriyaki chicken-don. She drank water and I had free soft drink refills. The entire bill was only 1,700 yen.

The teriyaki chicken and my fish drew appreciative sighs from my wife.

We both shook our heads and regretted we had not been frequent customers during our years on Okinawa. We’ll be returning again soon — there’s so much offered on the menu that it’ll take many visits to try it all.

Royal RestaurantYomitan, Okinawa

Hours: 10 a.m.- 11:30 p.m.

Prices: Beer ranged from 300-500 yen. Soft drinks cost 150 yen. A bottle of Zanpa Black Awamori cost 1,500 yen. Chinese and Japanese fare ranged from 650-1,600 yen; appetizers from 200-1,000 yen. Sandwiches are 380-580 yen and pizza and pasta dishes range from 600-750 yen. Meatier fare ranges from 1,300-3,800 yen.

Specialties: Japanese, Chinese sets

English menu: Yes

Dress: Casual

Clientele: American and Okinawan mixed; families

Location: Route 6 in Yomitan across from the main gate to Torii Station. It’s part of the Royal Hotel.

Web site:www.royalmhr.jp


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