Jajouka

Jajouka is a Moroccan/French style restaurant and bar on Yanaginobanba that I pop into from time to time. It’s a little bit pricey but the food is good and the owner K-san keeps the place stocked with a very nice range of international beers. K-san was previously co-owner and cook at the diner MoSO in Gion, but after that closed, he traveled some more in Morocco honing up his culinary skills. Finally last August he went independent, opened Jajouka and as far as I can tell he has been doing very nicely since.

tajine des sardines aux légumes

If you come here to eat, you must try a Moroccan style tajine. This dish is named after the heavy clay cone-capped tajine pots in which they are stewed. A typical tajine dish consists of slowly simmered stews of tender meat (or fish) with aromatic vegetables. Above you can see the sardine tajine and below is the lamb:

tajine d’agneau aux legumes

You can also get a chicken or beef tajine and they all come in three sizes:

S – (for 1 person but actually quite large) – 1,700 yen
M – (for 2 people) – 3,400 yen
L – (for 3, people) – 5,100 yen

Here are some more items on the menu; in order we have appetizers, a Basque style maguro steak, a couscous salad, a Moroccan style omelette and the Belgian beer Chapeau Exotic.

There are ten more Belgian beers on offer plus beers from Spain, France, Portugal, Malta, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Nepal, Thailand, Laos and of course the Moroccan beer Casablanca. Most of them go for 800 yen a bottle, but the Belgian beers will cost you more. Check out the Jajouka website for more details of the food and drinks menus.

K-san shares a shisha

Jajouka is small, most of the seats are at the counter and it fills up fast, so you may want to call ahead and book your seats in advance. It’s a bright spot though, K-san can speak a smattering of English and French and is clearly internationally minded so if your Japanese is a bit rough he can help you. Most importantly this restaurant has a strict no tobacco smoking policy which K-san himself adheres to by smoking a cigarette outside during quiet periods. The only exception to this rule are the fragrant Shisha water pipes which you can smoke for 1,200 yen. Here are some more shots of the interior.

Jajouka is on the west side of Yanaginobanba, north of Gojo and south of Matsubara. Here is a map.

UPDATE July 2013: Jajouka’s opening hours have recently changed! As Jajouka is now opening at lunchtime, evening opening hours have also changed accordingly. Jajouka is also now open almost every day, but will close irregularly, so please call ahead, or check the information page on K-san’s site for updates. Here are the new opening hours:

Lunch: 12:00 ~ 14:00 (Last Orders)
Dinner: 18:00 ~ 22:00 (Last Orders)
Tel: 075-341-0530

2 Responses to Jajouka

  1. Masao & I went there last night. The place was packed even though it was 8:30 on a Monday night (we took your advice and reserved in advance) . I was dubious he could serve up a proper meal singlehandedly to all those people (well, all 10 of us) out of that tiny kitchen, but he did, and it was great. I ate a lot of Moroccan food when I lived in Paris, and this was comparable. But not just Moroccan – as you mention he has a lot of different kinds of drinks and the dishes from other cuisines are well chosen and show a lot of culinary sophistication. All the more amazing in that he looks around my students’ age. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. I’m very glad that K-san has new customers and that you have given Jajouka such a glowing review!

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