Sendai is labeled a forest capital, but I like to think about this town as a garden. Many flowers from around the world are being planted here, and they coexist in wonderful harmony. Sendai is friendly towards everyone who comes here. It is not a jungle, full of dangers, where you never know what is awaiting you right behind those trees. It is not a quiet forest to walk alone, feeling that you are only a guest in this nature’s kingdom. Indeed, it is a place where you can plant your own flowers freely.
In 2011, right after Sendai was affected by the earthquake and tsunami, a garden restaurant Ranpu opened its’ doors. “We wanted to create a space where people could enjoy French cuisine in a nice atmosphere and for reasonable prices”, says the manager, “Just like a garden, or a park - you can relax, or have a party, whenever you like.”
In Ranpu, everyone is met with a smile. This place is popular with women, men, office workers, families, it is a nice spot to have a lunch, or it can become your favourite evening harbor - they have a great choice of wine and other drinks.
But the strongest point of Ranpu is food. French cuisine is not all that Ranpu can offer. In fact, they offer the most Sendai-style of cuisine - it is like a French bistro came to Sendai for study, married Japanese izakaya and decided to stay here forever. The perennial favourite of those who come here for lunch is Western-style udon - thick and soft udon noodles wonderfully combined with different types of Western-style sauce or soup to create an unbelievable harmony of taste. Udon menu changes every day. You never get to know what new type of udon will be served next week. There is a hint, though - right now it is a cold udon on Mondays, basil-based sauce on Tuesdays, pollock roe-based sauce on Wednesdays, anchovies on Thursdays, meat sauce on Fridays, cream-based sauce on Saturdays, and tomato-based sauce on Sundays. Everyday you can have the type of Western-style udon that Ranpu is especially proud of Cream-based sauce udon with sea urchin.
There are plenty of other courses to choose from. Sendai beef tongue and foie gras together on one plate, rare vegetables that you don’t eat so often in Japan, this is a kind of a menu that borrows the best things from French, Japanese and all around the world to produce a one-of-a-kind experience.
Sendai is a garden. Many beautiful flowers are planted here. Some are local, for some it took a long way to get here. But only when all these flowers are seen together we can understand the real beauty of Sendai.
Address: Raberbi bld, underground floor 1, 3 Chome-8-1, Ichibancho, Aoba Ward, Sendai, Miyagi
Hours: Monday-Thursday - 11:30-14:30; 16:00-1:00 , Friday, Saturday - 11:30-14:30; 16:00-2:00, Sunday - 11:30-14:30; 16:00-0:00