About Us

Biwa is a popular izakaya that everyone likes for really great sake, sashimi, small dishes, and the best nice atmosphere...the drinks are a generous sake list, shochu and izakaya inspired, modern and classic cocktails. The family-like staff are the best and the food is direct, fun, local and delicious and an expression of our love for restaurants, the spaces we inhabit and the amazing everyday foods and table culture of Japan. Biwa has been open since 2007 and is lighthearted and a very proud part of Portland's vibrant restaurant fabric


 

Gabe Rosen & Kina Voelz

Kina and Gabe are the owners.

Gabe has dreamed of running a restaurant since he was a little kid so he moved to Oregon to go to cooking school in the late ‘90’s, got a Japanese degree, moved to Japan, came back, and then he and Kina opened Biwa in 2007.

Kina, enchanted by the way the spaces around us effect our lives in ways we don’t even begin to understand and probably never will, moved up to Oregon and then over to Stuttgart Germany and then back to Oregon to study architecture, then met Gabe and went to Japan, and then opened Biwa and also became an architect.

Somewhere along the way (2015) they also opened a ramen shop, Noraneko.

This is just part of the story, of course. Kina and Gabe are also really nice and they like cats, textiles, ceramics, gardens, camping, pizza and chicken.

 

Parasol - Our Cocktail Bar

Parasol is the latest project from Biwa: Our beautiful cocktail bar that is also like a casual Japanese restaurant around a busy train station that serves udon and curry rice and other favorites.  

The cocktails are hand woven with a spirit of inventiveness, and we also have beer on draft and in bottles and tall cans. Like Noraneko, Parasol is also friendly and has a DJ booth and is open until 2AM.


Noraneko - Our Sister Restaurant

 

Noraneko (which is Japanese for stray cats ^..^ ) is a ramen shop/ futuristic post-whatever diner from Biwa with the best gyoza and fried chicken (and great salads and sandwiches and soft serve), but the energy is focused on ramen made one bowl at a time, from the best ingredients. There is a nice bar with our cocktails and natural drinks, beer, juice, housemade sodas, and natural wines. We also offer a pretty nice tea service! Wellness and everyday sustainability is in our food, too - like a Japanese restaurant with a health food co-op and cocktails inside. Also there are fun DJs on the weekends and we serve our whole menu until 2 am every morning!