French cuisine in Yamagata, home of ‘brand’ foods

Restaurant Pas Mal could be called the sole authentic French restaurant in the city of Yamagata. Owner-chef Yusuke Murayama strives for true gastronomic cuisine. His dishes emphasize classic sauces making extensive use of wine and brandy and the “stars” of these creations are local ingredients. Murayama said: “Foods produced in Yamagata are considered premium-quality brands and distributed at high prices outside the prefecture, especially in the Tokyo area. They can’t be used at restaurants in the local area, where prices are lower. When local residents go out to eat, they almost always go to an izakaya pub where the average cost per person is ¥4,000 to ¥5,000 ($27 to $34). It has become the norm in these places to use a lot of products from overseas, including vegetables.”

Murayama opened a bistro in the city of Tendo in 2002. When he moved to his current location in 2017, he changed course and transformed the bistro into a gourmet French restaurant. The establishment is managed by Murayama and his younger brother Tatsuaki, the maitre. At ¥11,000 and ¥16,000, the dinner course prices are extraordinarily high for the city of Yamagata. “I want to raise the average dining cost throughout Yamagata Prefecture,” said Murayama. What I want to communicate is not that you can make more money in Tokyo, but that you can also make a living in Yamagata Prefecture.” People from outside the prefecture currently comprise 80% of the restaurant’s clientele, but the number of local customers is increasing. To further raise awareness among the area’s residents, Murayama periodically carries out collaborations with famous chefs from other regions and reports on them inside and outside the prefecture. Without a doubt, Yamagata Prefecture’s future culinary scene is in the process of transforming.

Restaurant Pas Mal
2-3-16, Nanukamachi,Yamagata, Yamagata

Mieko Yoshimura
Governor of Yamagata

I am honored that Restaurant Pas Mal has been selected as one of the Destination Restaurants 2023.

Yamagata Prefecture is a region surrounded by mountains and the sea, and is rich in natural resources. Chef Yusuke Murayama’s cuisine, which uses a wide variety of ingredients from this region, further enhances the richness and charm of Yamagata’s culinary culture.

I hope that this award will encourage more people to travel to Yamagata and experience the culinary delights of Yamagata.

Takahiro Sato
Mayor of Yamagata

I am very delighted that Restaurant Pas Mal has been selected as one of the Destination Restaurants 2023. Chef Yusuke Murayama’s cuisine, which features local Yamagata ingredients, is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate with its creative ideas and innovations. The city of Yamagata has a diverse culinary culture, blessed with high-quality ingredients nurtured by its rich natural environment. I hope that the selection of Pas Mal will encourage many people to learn more about Yamagata and visit the city.

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