Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu, the Restaurant for Kill Bill Fans

Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu is perhaps most well known for inspiring the setting for a bloody massacre scene in Quentin Tarantino‘s 2003 film Kill Bill. The izakaya was also the venue for a summit between former U.S. President George Bush and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. But even without its claims to fame, the décor and vibe of this Tokyo izakaya makes for an interesting dining experience.

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How’s the Kill Bill Vibe?

Gonpachi inspired the “House of Blue Leaves,” the setting for the fight between Uma Thurman (The Bride) and the Crazy 88, including Lucy Liu, in Kill Bill. Although the scene itself was not filmed here, the restaurant captivates you with its nostalgic Japanese atmosphere from the moment you see its towering profile in the upscale streets of Nishi-Azabu.

See for yourself in this cinematic promo I made for fun.

Following the stone steps dimly lit by faux lanterns, you are led to a sliding wooden door. On the other side is a buffer room with a wall full of photos of famous people who have patronized the izakaya. Opening the next sliding door brings you into the bustling, otherworld of Gonpachi. The restaurant comprises of two levels, with the mezzanine reserved for larger parties.

Wide-angle lens shot of Gonpachi Nizhi-Azabu, the restaurant that inspired a Kill Bill scene

There is also a stage full of taiko drums, but there were no performances on the night we went.

Taiko drums

On the ground floor is the kitchen, surrounded by counter seats, as well as numerous tables for smaller groups. Since it was just the two of us, we were seated in one of these tables. But you can freely roam about and take photos, even from the second floor.

Gonpachi Nizhi-Azabu, the restaurant that inspired a Kill Bill scene

Menu & budget

Before Gonpachi rose to Kill Bill fame, it was actually known for its soba noodles and grilled skewers. The noodles are handmade daily using the finest buckwheat flour ground with a stone mortar, according to the restaurant. Served with an assortment of tempura, it is one of the most Japanese meals you can get.

Soba and tempura at Gonpachi Nizhi-Azabu

Also featured on the menu are sumiyaki charcoal grilled skewers, with counter seats offering front row views of the sticks being barbequed.

Sumiyaki grilled skewers

We were fascinated when we saw the “gyoza pizza” on the menu, so we ordered it out of curiosity. Basically a pizza made of gyoza skin and chives, served with ラー油 as the hot sauce, it turned out to be both our favourite dish of the night.

Gonpachi also boasts some amazing traditional Japanese-style desserts. We ordered the kuzumochi (fermented wheat starch cakes) and kinako (roasted soybean flour) ice cream, as well as the green tea terrine and wafer cake with ice cream. Both were delicious and super filling.

Traditional Japanese desserts at Gonpachi Nizhi-Azabu

Prices are not too expensive, and generally standard izakaya fare. Depending on what you order and how much you drink, around 3,000~5,000 yen per person for dinner should suffice.

Gonpachi also has a lunch sets for around 1,000 yen which is very reasonable. Unlike most izakayas, it also offers vegan and halal menus, although the latter must be ordered at least three days in advance.

Awaken your senses

Getting to Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu

Gonpachi Nishi-Azabu is a 10-minute walk from Roppongi Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line/Toei Oedo Line. It can also be reached in around the same time from Nogizaki Station on the Chiyoda Line.

Address: 東京都港区西麻布1-13-11 1F/2F
1F/2F 1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo

The restaurant is open everyday from 11:30am to 3:30am the next day. It can get pretty full on weekends, so I advise making a booking in advance. Reservations can be made on the official webpage or by phone.

Although you won’t get the Kill Bill setting, Gonpachi also has branches in Shibuya, Azumabashi, Odaiba, and Sakura-Shinmachi. There is also a branch in Yokohama. You can find the full list and more details on the official webpage.

If you’re looking for more interesting themed eateries, particularly in Tokyo, check out the full list of my reviews.

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