If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably been to Tokyo more than once. Many of us keep going back for different reasons – and food is definitely one of them. Tokyo is a city full of food artisans, and their precise techniques and lifetime dedication to mastering one single cuisine are beyond impressive. In our humble opinion, here are some of the best places to grab a bite on your next trip to Tokyo.
Tsukiji Itadori Unitora | 築地うに虎
The Tsukiji Fish Market is famous for its early morning auction of massive blue-fin tuna, but it is also interesting to visit the wet market and the sushi restaurants around the Outer Market. A must-try is the Tsukiji Itadori Unitora, a sushi restaurant specializing in uni (sea urchin). TIU serves uni-don (sea urchin rice) with five different kinds of uni, from five locations across Japan — all at an affordable price. Don’t worry about not being able to read Japanese – most sushi restaurants have English and Chinese menus to cater to the tourists. Satisfy your uni cravings before the market moves to a new location next year.
4-10-5 Tsukiji , 1F Kato Market, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo. (+81)3-6324-4237
Tempura Yamanoue Roppongi | てんぷら山の上 Roppongi
One of the best tempura restaurants in Tokyo is Tempura Yamanoue Roppongi. The restaurant offers a menu entirely of tempura, including seasonal and unique ingredients that may not be found elsewhere. The tempura chefs are highly skilled, coating the food with a light batter and deep-frying all the ingredients with intense precision. The resulting tempura is extremely light and delicate: crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked inside, yet not greasy at all. Be sure to make a reservation at the bar counter, where the chefs can showcase their skills right in front of you.
3/F, Tokyo Midtown Garden Terrace, 9-7-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo. (+81)3-5413-3577
Nodaiwa | 野田岩
Chances are you won’t be able to find another restaurant that makes better unagi (grilled eel) than one-Michelin-starred Nodaiwa. It has been open for more than 200 years (pretty much since the Edo period) and is highly regarded in its own country. Nodaiwa takes pride in only using natural wild river eels and a traditional way of catching fish, using a fish hook. The eels are marinated with special eel sauce, then steamed and grilled over charcoal until the meat is tender and caramelized, and the bones dissolved. Enjoy this delicious specialty at the main restaurant in Azabu, a charming three-story traditional structure with tatami (Japanese floor mat) seating.
Azabu Main Restaurant – 1-5-4, Higashiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106. (+81)3-3583-7852
Tonkatsu Maisen | とんかつまい泉
A good tonkatsu (deep-fried port cutlet) is crispy and never overly greasy. The thickly cut meat is fragrant, tender, and melts in your mouth. Tonkatsu Maisen has been in business since 1965, and serves the best Kurabuto (Berkshire) pork cutlets. Depending on your preference of meat texture and fat content, there are four types of pork cutlets: rosu katsu (pork loin), hire katsu (pork fillet), momo katsu (thigh) and menchi katsu (minced pork). The katsu meal comes with with all-you-can-eat shredded cabbage and fluffy Japanese rice. Pork has never tasted so good.
4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001. Toll Free 0120-428-485
Ginza Oborozuki | 銀座 朧月
Ginza Oborozuki is a very small ramen shop hidden in the back streets of Ginza, serving tsukemen (ramen dipped in a separate bowl of soup). There are only 7 seats and there are often customers queuing up outside the restaurant, especially during the busy lunch hours. The stock is made of fish and pork bone simmered for two days, and the noodles are firm and bouncy. Purchase your noodles at the vending machine at the entrance and wait patiently to be seated.
6-3-5 Ginza Chuo Tokyo.
Jomon | ジョウモン
Away from the hustle and bustle of Roppongi, Jomon is a small Japanese hidden izakaya (gastropub) that might be a little hard to find — but once you get here, you’ll find a quintessentially energetic Tokyo experience. Jomon has a good selection of alcohol and delicious yakitori (skewers). It’s often packed with locals, especially in the evenings. Some of the popular skewers include grilled minced chicken, grilled pork topped with minced onions, and grilled cheese.
1/F, Fujimori Building, 5-9-17 Roppongi, Minato 106-0032. (+81)3-3405-2585
The Bar at the Lounge by Aman Tokyo
The Bar at the Lounge by Aman is on the 33rd floor of the luxury Aman Hotel near Tokyo train station. It offers an impressive selection of whiskies and creative cocktails. The drinks are made-to-order according to the customers’ preferences and taste, or even their mood of the day. The bar has an extraordinarily high ceiling and a spectacular night view of Tokyo – it is a fantastic place to catch up with friends over a few drinks.
The Otemachi Tower, 1-5-6 Otemachi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0004. (+81)3-5224-3339