This is why people line up for Kaizen

A BUSY week is coming! But before we start to dig on the unfinished paperworks on our desks, we might wanna go treat ourselves first with really good food 'coz that's what we all need to get productive (right?).

Maybe it's a luck that a friend's home passes through this new Japanese restaurant in Torres Street, the one beside Davao Wisdom Academy, at the back of D'Leonor Hotel in Bajada - it's called Kaizen.

My classmate told me once that there are only two ways to find out if a restaurant cooks good food, one is if it's really crowded and the other is, if you see families or group of friends enjoying their orders- and yup, since Kaizen opens at 5 p.m. until around an hour before it closes (that's 10 p.m., they serve until 11 p.m.) you'll see groups of people lining up to dine there.

Of course we gave it a try. I'm a sucker for everything that's Japanese! And true enough, it did not disappoint.

Here's a short list why you need to go there and experience Kaizen yourself.

The food

I will not be bragging so much like this if not for their authentic Japanese dishes. I already said that I like Japanese stuff so assume that I have visited whatever Japanese-related thing that grows in Davao (well, mostly). I've also tried several Jap-restos here but Kaizen's Butabara (pork belly wrapped in bacon) is the one to die for!

I can't say it's my favorite because all the other dishes we had were also really good.

We also had DU30 Roll, a delicious roll of crab tempura, cream cheese, eel, ebiko with "presidential sauce" served, which made me realize that if I return, I should bring more friends because they give big servings.

I finished this sushi roll with my friend Rhea and wished that my stomach had room for more slices because it's that yummy.

Presidential Assistant Christopher "Bong" Go also heard of it and had a taste himself. Miss Melissa Arandia-Zapanta, the owner, shared that Bong Go lined up too to get a taste. There's just a short time to wait anyway.

The place

The owners, Miss Melissa and Chef Dana Zapanta, want the restaurant to get that intimate design, exactly just what would appear in a dining scene in the streets of Tokyo.

The couple share the same love for Japanese culture, Chef Dana, who worked in Tokyo for three years said he wants the Dabawenyos to have a picture of what happens when you dine in Japan.

"We want to introduce to Davao the Japanese culture through our restaurant, it's laid-back, casual, and a place to celebrate life," Chef Dana added.

Full house can serve up to 72 customers.

The people

Since I'm the person who loves to chat with interesting people, I came a little early at Kaizen so I can talk to the owners before they get busy and I was greeted by the working staff saying they have not opened yet as he offered me a seat. The staff here are polite and happy people, explains the good vibe that the customers get.

Every time a new customer arrives, they pause for a second to greet, "irasshaimase!" meaning "welcome to the store" in Japanese and when the customer leaves, they say "arigatougozaimasu" (Thank you!).

When asked what their business philosophy is, Chef Dana said it's to always be better. "Because when you label something as the best, there's no room for improvement already, we aim for continuous improvement- Kaizen," he added.
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