Izakaya Teke Teke Tei (Photo: Tristan Scholze)

Teke-Teke Tei [Closed]

Drop on in to this unpretentious neighborhood pub

Izakaya Teke Teke Tei (Photo: Tristan Scholze)
Tristan Scholze   - 3 min read

Archived content

Note: Teke-Teke Tei has closed as of November, 2013. This legacy article is dedicated to the Noguchi family.

Last updated: Apr 24, 2019

In western Fukuoka City, a little down the road from the crowds of Tenjin, there lies a little basement izakaya that I’ve been frequenting since 2005. This friendly, family-run neighborhood restaurant is a pleasant rarity. Many fine dining experiences contribute to Fukuoka being recognized as a gourmet city, but this is the place I always take friends and family when they visit.

The Noguchis, a husband and wife team helped out by their son, have owned and operated Teke-Teke for 30 years. They’ve proven themselves to be open and friendly people who will do their best to make your experience there a memorable one.

I particularly like the feeling of welcome I get whenever I walk in. It’s easy to notice this place is decorated with a personally meaningful touch—more like a home than a restaurant. Fresh arranged flowers and greenery are seasonal and come from the Noguchi garden. Engaging natural objects, like humongous mushrooms, can be found as well. Photographs by the couple’s daughter charm the walls unobtrusively. And handmade items appear here and there, from leather wallets tucked in the manga bookshelves to spiffy bicycles parked inside the entrance. Whether they’re racing bikes or mountain bikes, Mr. Noguchi collects them, builds them by hand, and even rides ambitiously.

All these details work in harmony with the soft lighting, relaxing background music, and stylish woodwork to create a warm atmosphere you can keep coming back to. It’s cozy, not pretentious, and there’s seating for 50 with the alternate dining room and bar if you’ve got a party going on.

The Noguchis serve up your usual (excellent) Japanese draft lager beer, but they are also well known for their sake and shochu collections, carrying a few dozen varieties of each. The bar is solidly stocked for cocktails, too. For food, the menu has a pretty diverse representation of your usual izakaya fare, with yakitori skewers of grilled chicken, pork, and fish, seasonal mini-hotpots, freshly caught fish, rice dishes, salads and vegetarian plates, and a-la-carte items. But they also have an uncommon set of skillet dishes. These include a tasty original peanut-sauce okonomiyaki and their nasu (eggplant) and melted cheese combo. Their deep-fried gobo (a vegetable known as burdock root in English) is especially tasty, as is their fried chicken. But if you’re ever in doubt about what to order, just say “omakase” and Mr. Noguchi will fix up a meal that fits you.

“Tege-tege” comes from southern Kyushu dialects and means something like “decent” or “modest,” but it’s often used when taking a break. “Tei” is a suffix for restaurant. The Noguchis envisioned Teke Teke Tei as a comfy place for a rest but changed the lugubrious “g” sound to a livelier “k”—creating the feeling one could easily drop on in and have a drink or two. Works for me.

Name in Japanese
居酒屋てけてけ亭—izakaya teketeketei—Teke-Teke Tei

Tristan Scholze

Tristan Scholze @tristan.scholze

I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature. I've traveled around the world and throughout Japan, and I hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm a Japan Travel expert for Fukuoka and Sag...