Oblee: Mexican Food in Yomitan Village
Outside of the locally popular taco rice dish that likely originated here on Okinawa in the 1980s, it’s hard to find good Mexican or Mexican inspired food close by. I typically avoid Mexican themed restaurants outside of Mexico itself or the American Southwest because I’ve been let down by less than stellar quality and taste too many times. Here on Okinawa though I’ve come to depend on the Obbligato chain of restaurants in central Okinawa when I have the undeniable hunger for enchiladas, beans and rice. The chain’s Yomitan Village location is named Oblee; it serves the same authentic cuisine at relatively inexpensive prices as its two larger sister restaurants. My family and I visited recently on a Sunday afternoon.
Oblee is a relatively small restaurant with a warm earthen shade of orange painted throughout the interior accented by a few American southwest and Mexican decorations along the walls. There are about six tables to sit at and four chairs at a bar adjacent to the checkout register. My one historical complaint about dining at an Obbligato restaurant is that it is always be too busy; this was the case on our recent visit but we were able to get a table just a few minutes after entering. The hostess and cashier – one and the same – brought us to our table and handed us menus (available in English or Japanese) and water, and brought a high chair for our three year old.
The menu selection is decently broad including several varieties each of chips and salsa, soups and salads, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, taco rice, carnitas, chimichangas and quesadillas. Gratin and spaghetti are also on the menu along with omelets and many combinations for those wanting to sample a wider variety of food. Refried beans, steamed rice and Mexican rice are common side dishes included with each meal. The most expensive item on the menu is a super combo priced at 1,480 yen but most of the offerings are priced between 600-800 yen with the combination plates priced mostly between 1,000-1,200 yen.
My family ordered two kid’s taco rice sets for 390 yen each, the chili omelet set for 690 yen, and the enchilada meal for 1,080 yen. I was pleased to see that the enchilada meal very closely resembled the description and picture on the menu. Three enchiladas covered in sauce, cheese and lettuce with refried beans and Mexican Rice. The enchiladas were one each of chicken, cheese and beef. Obbligato prides itself on being homemade with the best ingredients; their enchiladas did not disappoint me and were as good as some of the homemade recipes I enjoyed while living in Arizona as a teenager. My wife’s omelet was fluffy and accompanied by generous portions of rice and hash browns along with two slices of bacon. The portions on the kids meals were a bit scant so I would consider avoiding these if your children are older than toddlers.
Oblee is tucked away on the right side of the road just about one kilometer beyond the famous red bridge when crossing into Yomitan Village from Kadena Town. It is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 ~ 23:00 and on weekends from 07:00 ~ 23:00. There are just a handful of dedicated parking spots on the side of the restaurant but there is additional parking available along the side streets. Oblee has high chairs for children but does not have a diaper changer in the men’s or women’s restrooms.
Note: This story was originally posted on Stripes Okinawa Website, November 19, 2013.