Sabine Heller’s Insider Guide to Tokyo: To Eat

Thu, 2 April 2015
Tsukiji Fish Market Tokyo

With ten times more restaurants than New York, and three times as many Michelin stars as Paris, Tokyo is the ultimate foodie destination. However, many of the city’s upscale Japanese restaurants are more style than substance, and the finest Japanese meals are found in tiny semi-private establishments typically inaccessible to the unaccompanied foreigner. For the most satisfying and authentic dining experience, seek out moderately priced restaurants known for excellence in a particular specialty.

To Eat

Kaikaya

Kaikaya is a boisterous Okinawa-style seafood restaurant in Shibuya, very popular with foreigners (gaijin), but deservedly so.

Toricho

This yakitori restaurant located beneath a Roppongi strip club is a celeb favourite for its mouth-watering skewers and lively ambience.

  • +81 3 3571 4650
  • 8-6-22 Ginza
    Chuo-ku
    Tokyo

Maisen

Maisen is the top choice for tonkatsu (deep fried breaded pork cutlet) due to its special black pork and location in a pre-war public bathhouse; the main dining room was once a changing room.

Sushi Daiwa

At the Sushi Daiwa, the famous Tsukiji fish market, is a unique breakfast destination, serving the world’s freshest sushi in single file lines of up to two hours.

  • 5-2-1 Tsukiji
    Chuo-ku
    Tokyo

Sushi No Midori

This ideal lunch choice has superb, moderately priced sushi in a setting far less formal than many of Ginza’s revered but intimidating restaurants. Be prepared to wait in line – thankfully blankets are thoughtfully provided to queuing patrons in winter.

  • +81 3 5568 1212
  • Ginza Corridor
    7-6-12 Ginza
    Chuo-ku
    Tokyo

Sushiko

For a formal reservations-required sushi dinner, book counter seats at Sushiko, which refrigerates its raw fare until the moment it is sliced by one of the master chefs.

  • +81 3 3571 1968
  • 6-3-8 Ginza
    Chuo
    Tokyo
    104-0061

Ippudo Ramen

Ramen is to Tokyo as the burger is to New York, with at least as many configurations and outlets. Far superior to their Manhattan outpost is the Ebisu branch of Ippudo Ramen, part of an upscale chain hailing from Kyushu in western Japan.

Ramen Shinatatsu

Ramen Shinatatsu in Shinagawa is a mini ramen theme park, with fully operational replicas of seven of the best ramen shops from across the nation. The rule of thumb in ramen shops is to order the first (ichiban) soup on the menu, and don’t neglect an accompanying plate of gyoza dumplings.

  • +81 3 5475 7020
  • Go to Website
  • 3-26-20 Takanawa
    Minato
    Tokyo
    108-0074

Pak Hyatt Delicatessen

For a casual meal Park Hyatt Delicatessen puts Dean & Deluca to shame and sells meticulously packed picnics, ideal for lunch in the nearby Shinjuku Gyoen park.

  • +81 3 5322 1234
  • Go to Website
  • 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku
    Shinjuku-Ku
    Tokyo
    163-1055

Mitsukoshi Food Hall

Dozens of vendors display and sell impossibly perfect foods of every variety, and many offer free samples at the subterranean gourmet wonderland beneath the venerable Mitsukoshi department store in Ginza.

The New York Grill

Serving impeccable steaks and seafood from the upper floors of the Park Hyatt, the New York Grill is one of the city’s most popular and prestigious restaurants.

  • +81 3 5323 3458
  • Go to Website
  • 3-7-1-2 Nishi Shinjuku
    Shinjuku-Ku
    Tokyo
    163-1055

Chugoku Hanten

This fine Chinese restaurant is beloved by many of Japan’s most elite politicians and power-brokers.

  • +81 3 3478 3828
  • 1-1-5 Nishi-Azabu
    Minato-ku
    Tokyo

Joel Robuchon

For the ultimate culinary indulgence, try any of Joël Robuchon’s Tokyo trio.

  • +81 3 5772 7500
  • Go to Website
  • Yebisu Garden Place
    1-13-1 Mita, Meguro-ku
    Tokyo
    153-0062

Kaikaya

Toricho

Maisen

Sushi Daiwa

Sushi No Midori

Sushiko Honten

Ippudo Ramen

Ramen Shinatatsu

Park Hyatt Delicatessen

Mitsukoshi Food Hall

The New York Grill

Chugoku Hanten

Joel Robuchon

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