Ezo Seafoods Oyster Bar was established in 2009 by James Gallagher and Keiko Takaoka to offer visitors to Niseko a better seafood experience.
Host and "Seafood Captain"
When we started Ezo Seafoods Oyster Bar ten years ago in Niseko Hirafu village, we opened it as a seafood supply shop, or fishmonger. The oyster bar was more of a side show. "Ezo," by the way, is the old name for Hokkaido - we chose it to reflect our focus on Hokkaido seafood.
The seafood shop never really took hold, but the fishmonger display cases remained and daily visits to the Sapporo Seafood markets continued.
For the first several years we used a standard paper menu however we found it harder and harder to keep up with changes because I was continually buying new seafoods on my market visits (I still do). That's one of the differences about Ezo Seafood - because I visit the markets myself every day, I am at the "front line" of seasonality and can take advantage of the shifting patterns in the market. I'm not just calling in an order. So we ditched the paper menu and shifted to a "display style" menu, where customers select the seafood from cases themselves. In this way we evolved into a market style seafood restaurant.
Our aim with Ezo Seafoods Oyster Bar is primarily to offer the freshest Hokkaido seafood possible. We want to connect our customers as directly as possible to the world of Hokkaido seafood. Chef Takaoka Keiko only uses light, piquant sauces in the philosophy that simple is best and that no intervention can improve on the basic flavours of the seafood.
Ten years on, we are proud to have build a strong and loyal following from guests around the world, who trust us year after year to serve up pristine Hokkaido seafood. We have also extended the Ezo Seafoods operation to Japan's beautiful Izu Peninsula, where we opened Ezo Seafoods Summer in 2015. The Izu area is also well known for its excellent seafood.
Many guests thank us for such excellent seafood. But as one of our astute guests pointed out "thank Mother nature." Surrounded by three oceans and fed by cold currents from Siberia there is an abundance of seafood in Hokkaido. Hairy crab (毛ガニ）, Notsuke Peninsula Scallops, Akkeshi Oysters and Nemuro Uni are just some of the high quality seafoods that are now found in restaurants worldwide.
By the way, when you come to Ezo Seafoods, you will find a selection of familiar seafoods such as crab, oysters and scallops, but also some seafoods which may be unfamiliar such as milt, sea urchin or botan shrimp. I hope you will try a variety of seafoods. Not just for the flavors and textures, but by doing so you are helping maintain biodiversity in our oceans and avoiding reliance on a handful of popular seafoods.
On that note, I would like to stress that Ezo Seafoods is committed to sustainable seafood and healthy oceans. We refrain from stocking Bluefin Tuna or species of fish under the strain of overfishing. I'm also committed to ocean beautification and regularly organise oceanside clean ups. We are committed to reducing reliance on single use plastic and polystyrene, both of which contribute significantly to ocean pollution.
We look forward to welcoming you to Ezo Seafoods and introducing you to some of the best seafood in the world.