Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Tucson Dining: Japanese Tapas, Izakaya

Japanese Tapas, Izakaya – Tucson Dining


I love Japanese food and am thrilled to learn there’s more than sushi and tempura in Tucson. A new restaurant, Ginza, recently opened serving sushi and I-za-ka-ya style fare. Izakaya resembles tapas where lots of smaller plates are shared.


Izakaya also reminds me of dim sum; another concept where people share small plates of Chinese food.


To me it’s a more interesting way of eating because instead of an entrée, I can taste a lot of different foods.


Ginza now occupies the former Yama space in the Ventana Plaza. The interior is almost industrial with a lot of black, metal, hard surfaces, touched by the occasional red lantern. A pretty cozy patio exists but of course no one wants to eat out there when it’s 100-plus degrees.


Like most Japanese menus, there are color photos so you know what you’re getting. Although I never mind a surprise.


We ordered Japanese-style fried eggplant which turned out to be less greasy than its Chinese counterpart. The salmon skin salad was a generous serving of fresh greens, crispy salmon skin, and avocado that was lightly dressed in a subtle vinaigrette. The pork gyoza dumplings were bigger than most. Our favorite dish was the scallops with yummy sauce. I agree that the sauce was yummy but yummy was on the menu. Who can argue with yummy? Numerous baby scallops were in a creamy sauce topped with eel. It all went together marvelously.


Although we didn’t drink — sake, wine, and beer can be had.


Service and presentation was excellent.


Apparently Ginza is owned by a multi cultural couple; the husband from Japanese is the cook and wife from Mexico runs the business.


Ginza doesn’t have a website so you will have to take my word for it that you really should go with a group of friends and embrace this new way of eating in Tucson.

While Ginza claims to be the first full fledged izakaya restaurant in Tucson, midtown’s Bunbuku also serves izakaya fare. I’m going to try Bunbuku next and compare.



5425 N. Kolb Road – suite 115 (next to The Bag Company)


  1. My wife and I recently visited the Ginza in Tucson. As expected, the food was very well prepared, presented and tasty. Certainly not our idea of “fine dining” as it is advertised but, very good Japanese food nonetheless and certainly worth a visit. My only real complaint was with the slow and forgetful service and after reading the previous review, I believe our waitress is the owners wife. I am always skeptical when an order is not written down and had to offer a few reminders to get our order complete.
    That said, the food and company made the visit an 8 of 10 for me!

  2. Michael
    Thanks for commenting.
    Service can make or break a restaurant experience. As you said that whole issue could’ve been avoided if the server wrote it down. In good service it’s the details that count.

    P.S. Bunbuku named in the above article is now closed so as far as I know Ginza is the only game in town for izakaya fare.

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