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Thursday, 01 March 2018

Eight Great Places to Eat in Tokyo

Written by Ashley Rosa
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Japan is not just about ‘that sushi’. From unagi eel and tonkatsu pork cutlets to okonomiyaki pancakes and all good things tofu, the capital of Japan, Tokyo, is home to a generous quantity of restaurants specializing in a large array of Japanese cuisine, not to mention Michelin stars.

 

The best part of all is that it caters to all budgets, from the local atmospheric izakaya – Japanese style pubs to wallet-busting skyscraper restaurants; emphasizing on high-quality seasonal ingredients across the spectrum. In a nutshell, it’s nirvana for food fanatics.

 

The Japanese Cuisine

 

Apparently, Japanese people spend the largest amount of money on the local cuisine. Regarding frequency, the unit price of Sushi makes a meal pricey, with Sushi diners receiving a high figure in the statistics with fewer visits. On the other hand, the unit price of hamburger and noodles is relatively low.

 

Tokyo’s appetite for great value food has never been bigger. Tokyoites love to eat out, and this had made it one of the best cities in the world for quality at a low price. Travellers – set out on a quest to find the best eats in the metropolis – came back with far too many eateries to include in a list. The places listed below are the top picks, and constitute a complete A-Z of where to dine deliciously and on a budget.

 

Fukamachi

 

Fukamachi looks like the typical old-school Tokyo restaurant inside and out, with its modest façade and simplistic dining halls, one counter plus two small tables. For its fan base, however, there is no better tempura in the capital.

 

Order the omakase menu (‘leave it to the chef’) for batter fried morsels of seasonal seafood, mushrooms, and veggies including sansai (wild herbs) in the spring. If you still have room, place an order for the awabi (abalone) or sea urchin from the a la carte menu – both are outrageously good. The diner is open for both lunch and dinner.

 

Uoshin

 

Uoshin is a traditional izakaya (Japanese gastropub) serving as a great introduction to Japanese cuisine. This place specializes in Japanese seafood from all across the country, so you will want to try different, fresh, grilled and boiled fish dishes to soothe that sea-craving.

The netsuke boiled fish platters are stewed in a hot pot of soy sauce, sake, ginger and specs of sugar. In case you have just landed in Tokyo and have no idea what you’re doing food wise, this is a good way to ease yourself into touristy things and get a feel of what you will eat on your trip.

 

Kanda

 

The chef Hiroyuki Kanda – the master of contemporary Japanese cuisine – made Kanda as an anonymous building on a quiet backstreet. From freshest-cut sushi to mountain vegetables, visitors can expect seasonal dishes, served as poetically as haiku in a minimal setting.

 

This might sound a bit extreme, but since Kanda has just eight seats along the wooden counter and three Michelin stars, it is important to book two months in advance.

 


 

Ginza Kyubey

 

Visiting Tokyo and not eating sushi is considered a ‘culinary sin’ at least by the food and travel enthusiasts. One of the memorable places to enjoy sushi is at the traditional Ginza flagship of family-run Kyubey.

 

Over here, a bowing kimono-clad staff welcomes guests into the four-story restaurant, which houses a warren of eating spaces, from all the intimate counter spaces where the chef mix and stir in front of you and make you sit comfortably in private rooms with low tables and tatami mat flooring.

 

Beard

 

For an unexpected flavor of laid-back Californian cuisine mixed with the culinary craftsmanship of Japan plus a healthy dose of French bistro-style vibes on the side, head over to the small but perfectly formed Beard.

 

In a quietly off-the-beaten-track spot in Meguro, this is a simple and casual place with only eight tables and four counter seats. But since its opening by talented chef Shin Harakawa in 2012, it has obtained cult status by local hipsters and foodies alike.

 

The menu changes regularly, based on both seasonal and local ingredients and his travels to California. Dishes are prepared with diligence by the chef in front of the guests, embodying the concept of ‘slow food.’ Recent offerings range from roasted swordfish with a fried egg and fennel salad with pink grapefruit.

 

Danielle Demetriou, a destination expert, says she is a big fan of the delicious cakes prepared by Harakawa san’s wife. Sunday morning breakfasts with homemade granola and pancakes are also quite well-known.

 

Book dinner ideally at least several weeks in advance, or arrive early to queue for a seat for brunch on Sundays when it's first-come, first-served,” she suggests.

 

Ivy Place

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A relaxing, modern, Asian haven of wood, stone and large windows in the swishy T-site complex in Daikanyama (which is also recommended to visitors for its chic bookstore Tsutaya), Ivy Place is a favorite amongst stylish lunching ladies. The restaurant serves tasty European fare, including grilled lamb chops and vegetable flatbread pizza. Breakfast is also a foreground meal with burritos and granola served at 7 am.

 

Rakushokushu Maru

 

The full name may be a mouthful, but it’s certainly fitting; translates to ‘food, drink, and enjoyment.’ Not far from Aoyama’s main street, the place is hidden at the bottom of a staircase.

 

At the diner, chefs serve a modern seasonal take on Kyoto’s traditional ‘kaiseki’ banquet food, and it is delicious since it’s authentically prepared. Amongst the visitors, this is the best spot for sharing small dishes. The food might range from citrus grilled chicken and deep fried fig and aubergine to clay-pot cooked rice and home-made cream tofu.

 


 

Kaikaya By the Sea

 

As a lively and atmospheric local restaurant on a narrow lane, fish takes center stage at Kaikaya – a ten-minute walk from Shibuya station. The charismatic and talented owner Teruyuki Tange sources a 30 plus seasonal selection of fish every day, highlighting the assortments of raw sashimi and the house special ‘maguro no Kama,’ which unappetizingly translates to ‘tuna jaw’ but is deeply flavored, rich and delicious.

 

This is a place I often bring friends and family visiting from overseas for dinner, not just for the fish and sake selection but also the atmosphere and friendly staff,” says Demetriou. Prepare yourself for their loudly shouted choruses of welcomes and farewells.

 

All in all

 

While we encourage you to try one or two crazy expensive ‘fish’ meals if you can afford it, we also want you to experience everything Tokyo has to offer. The list above is going to help you find the types of food you might be looking for, along with other Japanese staples you might not have known you needed to try.

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The city is massive – bigger and more populous than New York so get out there and explore as many neighborhoods as you can because each has something a little different to offer.

 

 

©Ashley Rosa

 

Author Bio:

Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well. She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her at twitter: @Ashrosa2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 March 2018