Have you always wanted to try the special cuisine of Tokyo but aren’t sure where to eat first? Here’s a handy Tokyo restaurant guide to get you started.
Tokyo is one of the most sought-after cities in the world when it comes to dining. With its rich food culture and 160,000 restaurants located in the massive city, it’s no question why. If you’re planning a visit to Tokyo, the number of food choices can get overwhelming. That’s why we’ve prepared this ultimate Tokyo restaurant guide. Read on to learn more!
If you like steak, this is the restaurant for you. Chef Manabu Oshima prepares his steaks out of the best wagyu beef that he ages himself. The steaks are usually prepared with an appetizer or a side of some kind of seafood. If you want to take something to go, you can always get a steak sandwich. It would be best for you to take a map with you, as its place is a bit hard to find. If you prefer white meat, the next restaurant on the list may be more your speed.
Fukamachi serves some of the best tempura that you can eat. It’s a very modest-looking restaurant–small, but with a ton of fans. Ask for the omakase menu for tons of battered goodness including seafood, herbs, and veggies.
This restaurant has been around for a bit. By a bit, we mean it’s been around since the Meiji period and was originally a first-class restaurant. Their specialty is a demi-glace sauce that simmers for a week. If their portions are a bit large for you, you can order half portions which are popular for those with smaller appetites. Next on the list is great if you’re feeling a little homesick, as they have a more Western feel to their dishes.
4. Akasaka Tsutsui
This is another restaurant that’s been around for a while–70 years to be exact. You can try their Yoshoku, a dish that came about back when American and European dishes were arranged to suit Japanese tastes. This is another great restaurant to try out if you want a really good steak. It’s got a great arrangement of Western-style cuisine. If you’re looking for traditional Japanese food, Ishikawa might be a great option if you book in advance.
Ishikawa, like Shima, is also a little hard to find. It’s a tiny traditional Japanese place that is only open in the evenings. The restaurant has four private rooms and a counter that seats seven. Due to this, you have to book weeks in advance to get a spot. The food is excellent, and they have a huge sake and wine menu. A drawback of this lovely place is that it is fairly expensive. If you’re into pork, Butagumi has you covered.
Butagumi, as the name suggests, specializes in tonkatsu (pork cutlet). If you’re still a little confused by that statement, Buta translates into English as “pig.” Butagumi serves beautiful cuts of pork from breeds of heritage pigs in a very classic atmosphere. It’s bright and cheery, with a big open area where you can watch your cutlet being cooked. It’s fairly inexpensive but it is quite a walk from the subway. We’ve talked about beef, pig, and fish, so you might be wondering about chicken. Don’t worry–Toritama’s got you covered.
Toriyama is one of the hardest-to-book yakitori restaurants with an extensive menu that makes it stand out from the others. Most Yakitori restaurants offer the basic pieces of chicken, breast, thigh, heart, wings, gizzard, and liver. However, Toritama offers 30 different cuts–not including their secret menu with rare cuts. Some of the rarer items can get, well a bit weird. It’s best to not think about it and just enjoy it. If you want to try the experience raw, you are safe to do that here as Toritama has only the freshest chicken. It’s cooked on the grill for a few seconds, then served with wasabi and seaweed. Speaking of weird, if you want to try something different, you should give Hashimoto a try.
Hashimoto is the top Unagi restaurant in Tokyo. If you’re wondering what Unagi is, it’s freshwater eel. They serve up their eel on a bed of rice with tare sauce. Tare is a thick, sweetened soy sauce that complements the eel well. If you aren’t convinced to check them out yet, they are the only Unagi restaurant to gain a Michelin Star. The next place on this Tokyo restaurant guide is great for those who love sushi.
9. Sushi Sugita
Sushi Sugita has a down-to-earth vibe. This friendly atmosphere makes it one of the hardest sushi places to book in Tokyo. Each piece of sushi looks like a painting in front of you, and it tastes as good as it looks. Eating here would be the highlight of any sushi lover’s trip. But with a nine-seat availability, there is no telling if you’ll be able to get in. Last on the list is for all the Raman lovers out there.
Despite the discrete location, Kagari isn’t too hard to find. Why? Because there is always a huge line outside it. Kagari offers noodles in two very different styles. The tori-paitan is a creamy base containing diced onion for extra texture and sweetness. The niboshi-shoyu is a more savory base made from dried sardines and soy sauce. No matter what you choose, they have a ton of toppings for you to choose from. Remember that different cities have different restaurant tipping customs. For Tokyo’s tip guide, please click here.
Tokyo Restaurant Guide: Now You Know
No matter what your tastes are, the food-rich city of Tokyo will be sure to serve. Keep this handy Tokyo restaurant guide with you as you explore one of the world’s culinary capitals1 If you’re in Tokyo, chances you aren’t there just for the food. For a list of the best places to visit, click here.