Volta Craft Beer Bar, Sapporo

Do you love beer? Good food? Then for another contender on our list of the best beer bars in Sapporo, check out this review of Volta Craft Beer Bar in Sapporo.

There are two “Volta” restaurants in Sapporo (both are in Susukino, about five minutes apart from each other on foot). The original Volta (which is located in a high rise building) and their second restaurant, Craft Beer Volta (which is on the ground floor).

Volta Craft Beer Bar is an izakaya style restaurant. And while they retain a strong Japanese emphasis, the craft beer specialty and the inclusion of some Western food (ようしょく) gives Volta a slightly more modern, more international feel.

There are still some classic izakaya features, including a “seat charge” (せきりょう) per person, which includes a small snack (the otoushi) to get you started.

As you arrive, you are seated a one of several group tables, at the counter, or if the weather is nice, they have a couple of outdoor tables (pictures above). There are several menus, including the beer menu (which has 12 beers on tap), a general alcohol menu, and then page after page of “small plates” of food (what in the west we often call tapas style, which is a Spanish word for this kind of “several small shareable plates” experience). They also encourage the “campaign” (an “all you can drink” set price) each time I’ve been there (which is not for me, but is an option, if that’s your thing).

I have been there twice now; in part, because after the first time I was excited to come back. Volta is pretty cool. Excellent beer, which I was expecting. But I was surprised how much I liked the food. And while the Volta beer bar is not cheap, the overall experience wasn’t particularly expensive either.

Let’s look at the beer:

Does that look good?  It sure does.  As you scan that list, there is a full range of styles, some domestic, some imports.  We see Sorachi 1984 from our friends at Sapporo Beer (which we love to see, because, as you know, Sapporo is the best city in the world). You can see several options on the menu from North Island beer bar (which has it’s own beer bar near by).

It was, in fact the beer that made is eager to try Volta’s beer restaurant, but it was the food that made us so eager to come back.

On our first visit to Volta in Susukino, we sampled maybe five different plates. In the picture above, you can see a cheese dish we ordered.  The main shot for this post shows the gyoza we had on that first visit (which were fantastic). We had an apple salad on our that visit that was also fantastic (not pictured, but we’ll be sure to order it again).  And while the pizza below isn’t quite traditional enough to make our list of best pizzas in Sapporo, it was very good and I’d order it again.

The menu is extensive, and goes on for several pages. Offering a range of choices from sushi, to fried items, to traditional Japanese “omelets,” and more.

On our first visit we had the fish pictured in the second-from-the-left spot on the top row.  It was amazing.  And when it was sold out on our second visit, we cried a single tear before being distracted by the many other choices.

The plates are small, but the prices feel very reasonable.  You can order four, five, six plates and share with your friends. It’s easy to order more if you’re still hungry and everyone can find something they like.

We have yet to try the main Volta restaurant (which is not this place, there is another Volta nearby), but we did check it out once.  And it was a beautiful place, with a genuinely cool high-end atmosphere (somewhat in the same class as Meat Shop in Sapporo, which we also love).

And it is at this point that I will confess that I backed out on the idea of eating there when I saw the “meat sushi.”  Perhaps most sushi could qualify at “meat,” but in this case I mean “land animal sushi.”  On this blog we are primarily meat eaters, but but Volta offers horse sushi (and other options) which (as a occasionally overwhelmed stranger in a foreign land) I didn’t feel “qualified” to order.  These days, I am feeling more durable (and adventurous) and I am thoroughly looking forward to going back, sitting down, and trying the main shop as well. And maybe even trying some land animal sushi.

The atmosphere at Volta is comfortable and casual.  You could most certainly take a date there, and while it’s not a big place, it looks perfect for a group of 2-6 friends that want to eat and drink and enjoy each other’s good company.  They accept reservations, and that might be a good idea if you want make certain there is room for you. In fact, we made our first ever “online reservation” in Sapporo when we booked our second visit.

For a recommendation for a somewhat comparable experience in the area we can recommend Salt Moderate in Sapporo (which is maybe 10 minutes away from Volta on foot).  Salt Moderate is a more pricy, nicer, more high-end experience than Volta’s Craft Beer spot, but offers many of the same functions; a long list of beers, delicious food, and a wonderful environment to share with friends.

As of this review, we have made two trips to Craft Beer Bar Volta and had an excellent time on both occasions.  We are looking forward to our next visit, to exploring more of the menu, to re-ordering some of our favorites (like the goyza), and to tipping back a few more the craft beers on their list.

For one more look at the book, below is a tofu dish, served with beef tendon.  For westerns here in Sapporo, Volta does an excellent job of pairing the familiar (a good craft IPA) with food that might feel more “exotic” (like tendon, which is a part of an animal we don’t often eat in America).

Volta’s Craft Beer restaurant is another excellent example of what Sapporo has to offer. This is a great spot for locals and foreigners alike. Totally recommended.

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