Welcome to La Cime, home of Yusuke Takada

Mark Sansom - 03/04/2020

Yusuke Takada is the winner of this year’s Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, a peer-voted honour from the chefs behind the establishments in this year’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Based in Osaka, his restaurant brings international flair to traditional Japanese cuisine. Allow us to introduce you to the man himself and take you on a tour of his signature dishes

La Cime is not a typical fine dining Japanese restaurant. Yes, it has the understated styling the world has come to expect from high-end gastronomy in Japan, but the food here comes with a global tang that takes it to another level. Behind its dishes is Yusuke Takada, a man who has devoted his life to understanding flavour and incorporating international elements into Japanese food. At last week’s Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants virtual ceremony, he collected the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award. La Cime also secured the No.10 spot in the list.

You can begin to understand a little more about Takada’s outward-facing philosophy by taking a look at his career. Born on the southern sub-tropical Japanese island of Amami Oshima, he grew up on a TV diet of international-leaning culinary shows. When he hit his mid-teens, Iron Chef aired in Japan and his fascination with French fine dining began.

After he graduated from culinary school and spent a decade working his way up in the kitchens of Tokyo, the opportunity arose for him to travel to France. Without a word of French or English, he made a place for himself in the kitchen at Le Meurice, then helmed by world-renowned chef Yannick Alléno.

“It was wonderful for me, as I learnt new cooking ideas from another country’s style,” says Takada. “I could then decide which cooking ideas to bring back to Japan, and the ones to leave behind. I think it is good to offer customers here this new style of dishes.”

La Cime's pared-back dining room

In 2010, Takada returned to Osaka to launch La Cime. The name of the restaurant means ‘the peak’ in French and its logo is designed to represent the triangulation of his food, the restaurant and the customers. He gives credit for the restaurant’s design to René Redzepi’s first incarnation of Noma, employing traditional minimalist philosophies in the process.

As he was announced as the winner of the Inedit Damm Chefs’ Choice Award, he paid homage to the Asian chefs in his community. “When I found out I was the winner of this award, I was so happy. I couldn’t believe it,” he says. “When I cook, I try to leave my sensitivity behind and find the deliciousness in every day. Regarding my peers who voted for me and showing me their utmost respect, I feel very honoured. Thank you very much.”

Three dishes which illustrate Takada’s cross-continental philosophy
Half-dyed slender Caesar and silver-stripe round herring with soup of Amami Island pork

Baby sorrel and catfish with wild sorrel


Onion from Awaji, tomato from Kumamoto and bonito (a European fish similar to tuna)

Now watch our video to learn more about the restaurant and Chef Takada himself:

Browse the full list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 on the website and discover all the individual awards recognising the work of chefs and restaurants in the region. Follow 50 Best on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the latest news and initiatives in support of the global restaurant industry.