Best Restaurants in Tokyo
Tokyo is one of the world''s great cities for diners. Not only is
there a fabulous variety of premium eateries (collectively with
more Michelin stars than Paris) but the wonderfully diverse and
exciting world of Japanese cuisine reaches its highest peaks here.
, the elaborate and expensive Japanese cuisine
themed around the four seasons, to down-market roadside classics
noodle dishes, deep-fried
chicken grilled on skewers, Tokyo has it
all in abundance.
Then there is the perennial western favourite, sushi -
impeccably served in a thousand different varieties around the
city. Note that when eating sushi it is usual to eat with your
fingers, and go easy on the soy sauce and
. For a light meal on the move, you can
also grab a lunchtime
box from any convenience store and find a
seat in the many quiet enclaves amidst the city bustle. For an
unforgettable experience, treat yourself to a pricey but incredibly
fresh sushi breakfast at one of the restaurants near the Tsukiji
Fish Market in Chuo.
You can also visit the basement level of nearly any department
store, which will contain a number of shops selling prepared foods.
Piece together your own meal, or just browse the free samples. Note
that these stores will begin discounting their food around 7pm.
Chopsticks are used in most restaurants, except those serving
western cuisine. You can ask for western utensils, but you are
better off getting into the spirit and practicing with chopsticks
before your visit! When eating noodles it is quite normal to pick
up the bowl and drink from it, using the chopsticks to eat the
solid bits. Slurping is also normal; in fact, it improves the
flavour of the food.
In most restaurants you will be given a wet towel known as
before eating. Use this to freshen up by
wiping your face and hands. While ordering in a restaurant without
an English menu can be intimidating, many restaurants have plastic
food models on display, and most offer set menus with popular
Tipping is not customary in Japan, and attempts to provide
gratuity are likely to be met with confusion. At more up-scale
restaurants a 10-15% service charge may be added to your bill.
Smaller restaurants and roadside stalls will not accept credit
Located below the Ruby Room music venue, this small and modest
eatery is a favourite with locals. The chef's recommendations
include rosemary grilled chicken seasoned with lemon, garlic, and
rosemary, served on garlic mashed potatoes and favourites include
grilled Swordfish crusted with herb and pistachio crumbs
accompanied by a potato rosti. Dinner entitles diners to a free
entrance at the Ruby Room upstairs. Open daily for dinner.
Address: 2-25-17 Dogenzaka, Shibuya
Roti serves some of Tokyo's most authentic American grill and
rotisserie cuisine. The ambience is relaxed and causal, the
waitstaff friendly and helpful, and the food delicious! Many expats
frequent this eatery due to its wide selection of beers and old
favourites such as the deluxe blue cheese burger, char-grilled
steaks and sticky Shanghai style pork ribs and the classic Mexican
tortillas and jalapeno cheese dip. Open daily for lunch and dinner.
Address: Piramide Building, 1F, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Serving some of Tokyo's finest Italian cuisine, the stylish and
classical décor found in Boheme sets the scene for a great night of
dining on hearty Italian fare. The homemade pastas and pizzas are
to die for. Popular dishes include the Snow Crab and avocado salad,
Scampi spaghetti with a tomato cream sauce, and pan-fried chicken
breast 'cotoletta'. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Reservations
Address: 6-4-1 Ginza
The humble noodle is elevated to aristocratic status at this
establishment, where waitresses in starched blue kimonos hand out
brocade bound menus featuring more than 50 variations of noodle
dishes. The background music is usually Vivaldi, Mozart or
Beethoven, to complement the handmade noodles that form the base to
each artistic dish. Patrons can watch noodles being made in the
window of the restaurant before entering. Chotoku is closed on the
first and third Monday of the month.
Address: 1-10-15 Shubuya, Shibuya-ku
It is worth waiting in line to sample the fare at Tokyo's most
renowned tonkatsu (deep fried pork) outlet. Waiters take orders
while patrons queue for a spot at the well-worn Formica-topped
tables, watching the hustle and bustle of the dozens of busy cooks
in action. The reward is delectable treats like hirekatsu (fillet
of lean pork) reishoki, or rosukatsu (loin cut), crunchy on the
outside and melt-in-the-mouth tender on the inside, or perhaps a
tasty kushikatsu (skewered meat with onions). Tonki is closed
Tuesdays and the third Monday of every month.
Address: 1-1-2 Shimo-Meguro, Meguro-ku
It may look unpretentious with its plastic sheeted linen cloths,
but the aromas emanating from The Taj restaurant will soon make you
understand why this remains one of Tokyo's favourite eating
establishments, particularly favoured by the staff of the Indian
Embassy. The menu is divided into a tandoori and a curry section,
and offers more than 40 dishes from every state in India.
Address: 1st Floor, Pagoda Building, 3-2-7 Minato-ku,
This establishment offers the novel experience of eating in a
Japanese bathhouse. The baths are gone, but the large building,
which now houses Maisen restaurant, was converted from a sento
(public bath) about 20 years ago. The huge space makes for an airy
dining room where discerning gourmets can enjoy a range of Japanese
delights. Speciality of the house is Tonkatsu, tender and crisp
deep fried pork cutlets. Open daily from 11am.
Address: 4-8-5 Jingu-mae, Shibuya-ku (near Omotesando
The twin restaurants of La Granata and Granata Moderna are
situated in the basement of the Tokyo Broadcasting Systems
building, but the Italian cuisine on offer is top level. La Granata
offers a traditional ambience with check tablecloths and brickwork,
while Granata Moderna is elegantly modern with mirrors and stained
glass. Both offer delicious pasta specialities.
Address: TBS Garden building, basement, 5-1-3 Akasaka
What the Dickens?
Good old English steak and kidney pie in the heart of Japan?
Charles Dickens himself would feel at home in Tokyo's British pub
which serves up a variety of ales and a down-to-earth atmosphere
helped along with wooden beams, sprung floors, hand-painted pub
signs and dried hops. What the Dickens? also offers live music
every night of the week. The menu is reasonably priced and consists
of several traditional British favourites such as cottage pie,
accompanied by heaps of potatoes and vegetables. Closed
Address: 4th Floor, Roob 6 Building, 1-13-3 Ebisu-Nishi,
La Tour D'Argent
Decidedly opulent, the lavish La Tour D'Argent, like its famous
sister in Paris, sets the standard for French haute cuisine. The
high standard of the food and décor is only matched by the prices
in this celebrated establishment situated in the New Otani Hotel,
which was recently ranked #1 in Tokyo by Zagat. The house
speciality is the duck, specially flown in daily from Brittany in
France. Other highlights on the menu are pigeon and fricassee of
lobster. It is all prepared by chefs trained at the Paris
restaurant and an impressive wine list accompanies the outstanding
menu, which changes seasonally. Closed Mondays. Dinner only.
Reservations essential and dress code is jacket and tie.
Address: New Otani Hotel, 4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku
This well-known establishment has become something of a tourist
landmark in Roppongi, probably because of its delicious yakitori
fare and reasonable prices. Yakitori is the Japanese version of the
barbecue, with chicken, beef, pork or fish kebabs grilled over oak
coals, served with large bowls of crudité vegetables like crisp raw
cabbage, carrots and courgettes. Nanbantei offers bargain lunch
menus and specialities like namban-yaki (grilled beef dipped in hot
miso) and asapura-maki (green asparagus wrapped in thinly sliced
pork). Dinner only. Closed Saturdays.
Address: 4-5-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku
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