Jump to content

eating in Japan


Recommended Posts

i have to say it seems a lot more preferable to suffer for a few hours in coach and travel when you'd like to.

 

Or ask yourself if you are really that much more comfortable in upper classes. I have always been completely happy with bulkhead seats at the front of coach or, depending on carrier, the seats just behind those reserved for crew rest on trans ocean flights. I hate paying for seats that don't fit and food I don't want to eat.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 825
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

starting next week we will be in Tokyo, Hakone, Hiroshima and Kyoto. We are very excited! If you have any do not miss restaurants please let me know.   I'm on the wait list for Molecular Tapas Bar

if you're going to Kyoto, maybe this piece on Kyoto will be useful , including food here- by a friend who lived there (and also used to work FOH at 15 East & Ducasse)   no idea how useful/usele

hi, just saw this. yes, i met her here in NYC and she's terrific. We worked on an event together (or, rather, volunteered for). When i first met her she was Karla Yukari

I am 6 foot 2 and cant sleep sitting up. It is what it is.

I concede that it totally depends on where you live, your possible carriers, your itinerary, how much lead time you have for any given flight. Given optimum parameters, there are good seats. i.e., a friend, 6'3", regularly flies from SF to Beijing and Delhi in coach. His company pays for business or better, but he is adamant that it is a waste of money to buy him what he does't need. He has favorite seats on all his flights, snags them early on, and stretches out with a new book. (I personally think he's crazy but he won't budge.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am 6 foot 2 and cant sleep sitting up. It is what it is.

 

I've never done this but I hear that Americans use Ambien and stuff so they can sleep sitting up.

 

Anyway, I'll post a list later today (I still also owe pra a list of casual madrid, and someone else a Paris list) but some of them are probably going to be closed. Tsukiji is closed on apr 29-30 and may 4-6, so your best chance with the more serious places is on 26-28 and very much less so on may 1-3.

 

To give you an idea, one of the reservation systems has 290 restaurants with seats on 4/27-28 and only 29 on 5/1. I think 90% of all "serious" restaurants and 95% of all "serious and good" restaurants closed is a reasonable estimate.

 

p.s. I see Sushi Arai is open on 4/27 and has lunch availability. I think they have one or two more openings in April but you'd need to have someone call.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We made the same 'mistake' two years ago. And I think we purchased our tickets roughly 30-45 days out, which didn't help. But after chatting with Orik and doing a bit of research, we still managed to have some great meals. The lineup isn't necessarily what it would have been had we gone at a different time, but we hit Arai, Sushiya, Sawada, Yoshitake, Seizan Mita, Kitcho, Ifuki, Zazankyo, and a bunch of casual stuff. If you're planning on traveling outside of Tokyo, get your train tickets asap.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So anyway. Not that much has changed recently that is relevant. Meaning there are some excellent new places that are booked solid until August or later so it's pointless to mention them at the moment.

 

 

Ramen - these two list are independently pretty good (yes, eater, I know):

 

http://www.ramenbeast.com/ramen-guides/2017/5/25/ramen-beast-2017-tokyos-20-best-ramen-shops

https://www.eater.com/maps/tokyo-best-ramen-ginza-akihabara-nakano

 

Personally I like:

 

Afuri - but only the Harajuku location.

Gonokami seisakujo - super intense shrimp tsukemen.

Warito - although I haven't been since they moved.

 

But I eat very little ramen and the location has to be convenient, so don't pay too much attention.

 

Soba

 

If you have a serious interest in soba let me know, otherwise I suggest showing up at Tamawari mid-week, somewhat before they open for lunch. Better after a day or two in Japan so it doesn't seem bland. The michelin star is more for their far more elaborate and expensive dinner, but it's the same noodles.

 

Tonkatsu

 

Narikura is the obvious choice (also need to line up before they open)

 

Yakitori

 

Torikado - the second store of Torishiki

 

Chinese

 

Sazenka - distilled essence of Chinese cuisine, Japanese subtlety. Note they take online reservations using different systems in Japanese and english - use the Japanese one if you go as it's much cheaper. One of the only places where I recommend the wine pairing. It used to be easy to get in, maybe a bit harder now because they got michelin stars but still easier than Japanese places.

 

Kohou (虎峰) - a far more casual, fun Chinese place, nearly as good but not quite, another one of the only places I recommend the wine tasting, please book by phone as booking online is more expensive.

 

Izakaya

 

This is a difficult category because it goes from zero to michelin star, and the best value places like Kotaro and Taka are impossible to get into.

 

Kanemasu is a famous standing izakaya that I'm sure I mentioned upthread. Great ingredients, nice place, line up very early so that you can then maybe grab a seat at Ishidaya.

 

Not far is the very different, very old school Ishidaya - go for the nikomi, stay for the conviviality and cheap sake.

 

Gem by Moto is the casual standing-ish sake bar run by the Moto people.

 

Our good friends run a very nice place with Izakaya classics called Cocoro. She speaks perfect English. They get their fish directly from the fishermen in Ishikawa and the sake selection is very good. The only downside is the decor is like some Italian cafe. Let me know if you're going.

Raku Shoku Fujita is very nice and easy to get into, but they don't speak English or even have the idea of what it would be like to speak another language. Deep menu in handwritten Japanese doesn't make it easier, so if you go you might want a concierge to ask them for an omakase meal.
Moto is a very serious high end Izakaya that you can probably get into as a single diner. Good food, good sake, pace yourself.

 

And better yet is Kirakutei in Kugayama - the omakase + lots of sake ends up being probably $130pp depending on the season. I'm pushing him to move to a more central location but certainly worth the train ride.

 

 

Kaiseki

 

Well, there are many good options. A few that are feasible - Ishikawa, Miyasaka, Goryuukubo, Tagetsu (not my favorite but most people love it), Higuchi, Eigetsu, Suetomi (although maybe not for the big and tall), but there are many.

 

Sushi

 

Sushi Arai - his rapid ascent will be part of the story of Ginza sushi one day. For now it's one of the best places for tuna and overall a terrific option

Sushi Takumi Shingo (our favorite of the Sho school)

Sushi Sho Masa (excellent english, lots of sushi, quite good)

Sushi Satake (I haven't been but our very reliable sushi f®iend recommended it)

Sushi Takamitsu (very expensive, lots of uni)

Sushi Namba (very unlikely that you can get in, but maybe)

 

French

Let me know if you're interested. Most French places don't take single diners so I'd have to investigate.

Natural wine bars

 

Many options but the two best ones are old standbys - Ahiru Store and Shonzui - the first is a convivial bar with very very nice bistro food that's also very nicely priced, and terrific relationships with wine makers and importers. The secret stashes are amazing (like, they recently gave me their last bottle of Jour de Fete from J.M. Brignot and it was wow). The second is steak centric and ancient (1993) but excellent if you click.

 

Italian

 

Let me know if you're interested. Most Italian places don't take single diners so I'd have to investigate.

Pizza

 

This is a difficult one as Japanese pizzaioli are a volatile bunch and today's top place is tomorrow's empty shell, but this is new enough and the team is solid:

 

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2017/06/17/food/pizza-studio-tamaki-challenger-title-tokyos-best-pie/

 

Coffee

 

Fuglen roasts the best coffee in Japan.

 

Be a Good Neighbor (the Sendagaya location) is a nice stop with great espresso.

 

Onibus, Perch, Switch, Glitch, and many others are also excellent. The Roastery has its moments if you can deal with the corporate look and feel, and of course Verve is there.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I am 6 foot 2 and cant sleep sitting up. It is what it is.

 

I've never done this but I hear that Americans use Ambien and stuff so they can sleep sitting up.

 

Anyway, I'll post a list later today (I still also owe pra a list of casual madrid, and someone else a Paris list) but some of them are probably going to be closed. Tsukiji is closed on apr 29-30 and may 4-6, so your best chance with the more serious places is on 26-28 and very much less so on may 1-3.

 

To give you an idea, one of the reservation systems has 290 restaurants with seats on 4/27-28 and only 29 on 5/1. I think 90% of all "serious" restaurants and 95% of all "serious and good" restaurants closed is a reasonable estimate.

 

p.s. I see Sushi Arai is open on 4/27 and has lunch availability. I think they have one or two more openings in April but you'd need to have someone call.

 

 

ah Arai looks really good. Alas, my flight lands on the 27th. Looking on reservation systems it doesn't look good on a lot of these places. I guess I could try working with the concierge.

 

For cocktails I'm very interested in Bar Gen Yamamoto. You can make reservations via email a month out. So I will do that. Ben Fiddich, Fuglen and Star Bar Ginza also look interesting.

 

Any thoughts on Ren or Ryoku?

Link to post
Share on other sites

So anyway. Not that much has changed recently that is relevant. Meaning there are some excellent new places that are booked solid until August or later so it's pointless to mention them at the moment.

 

 

Ramen - these two list are independently pretty good (yes, eater, I know):

 

http://www.ramenbeast.com/ramen-guides/2017/5/25/ramen-beast-2017-tokyos-20-best-ramen-shops

https://www.eater.com/maps/tokyo-best-ramen-ginza-akihabara-nakano

 

Personally I like:

 

Afuri - but only the Harajuku location.

Gonokami seisakujo - super intense shrimp tsukemen.

Warito - although I haven't been since they moved.

 

But I eat very little ramen and the location has to be convenient, so don't pay too much attention.

 

Soba

 

If you have a serious interest in soba let me know, otherwise I suggest showing up at Tamawari mid-week, somewhat before they open for lunch. Better after a day or two in Japan so it doesn't seem bland. The michelin star is more for their far more elaborate and expensive dinner, but it's the same noodles.

 

Tonkatsu

 

Narikura is the obvious choice (also need to line up before they open)

 

Yakitori

 

Torikado - the second store of Torishiki

 

Chinese

 

Sazenka - distilled essence of Chinese cuisine, Japanese subtlety. Note they take online reservations using different systems in Japanese and english - use the Japanese one if you go as it's much cheaper. One of the only places where I recommend the wine pairing. It used to be easy to get in, maybe a bit harder now because they got michelin stars but still easier than Japanese places.

 

Kohou (虎峰) - a far more casual, fun Chinese place, nearly as good but not quite, another one of the only places I recommend the wine tasting, please book by phone as booking online is more expensive.

 

Izakaya

 

This is a difficult category because it goes from zero to michelin star, and the best value places like Kotaro and Taka are impossible to get into.

 

Kanemasu is a famous standing izakaya that I'm sure I mentioned upthread. Great ingredients, nice place, line up very early so that you can then maybe grab a seat at Ishidaya.

 

Not far is the very different, very old school Ishidaya - go for the nikomi, stay for the conviviality and cheap sake.

 

Gem by Moto is the casual standing-ish sake bar run by the Moto people.

 

Our good friends run a very nice place with Izakaya classics called Cocoro. She speaks perfect English. They get their fish directly from the fishermen in Ishikawa and the sake selection is very good. The only downside is the decor is like some Italian cafe. Let me know if you're going.

Raku Shoku Fujita is very nice and easy to get into, but they don't speak English or even have the idea of what it would be like to speak another language. Deep menu in handwritten Japanese doesn't make it easier, so if you go you might want a concierge to ask them for an omakase meal.
Moto is a very serious high end Izakaya that you can probably get into as a single diner. Good food, good sake, pace yourself.

 

And better yet is Kirakutei in Kugayama - the omakase + lots of sake ends up being probably $130pp depending on the season. I'm pushing him to move to a more central location but certainly worth the train ride.

 

 

Kaiseki

 

Well, there are many good options. A few that are feasible - Ishikawa, Miyasaka, Goryuukubo, Tagetsu (not my favorite but most people love it), Higuchi, Eigetsu, Suetomi (although maybe not for the big and tall), but there are many.

 

Sushi

 

Sushi Arai - his rapid ascent will be part of the story of Ginza sushi one day. For now it's one of the best places for tuna and overall a terrific option

Sushi Takumi Shingo (our favorite of the Sho school)

Sushi Sho Masa (excellent english, lots of sushi, quite good)

Sushi Satake (I haven't been but our very reliable sushi f®iend recommended it)

Sushi Takamitsu (very expensive, lots of uni)

Sushi Namba (very unlikely that you can get in, but maybe)

 

French

Let me know if you're interested. Most French places don't take single diners so I'd have to investigate.

Natural wine bars

 

Many options but the two best ones are old standbys - Ahiru Store and Shonzui - the first is a convivial bar with very very nice bistro food that's also very nicely priced, and terrific relationships with wine makers and importers. The secret stashes are amazing (like, they recently gave me their last bottle of Jour de Fete from J.M. Brignot and it was wow). The second is steak centric and ancient (1993) but excellent if you click.

 

Italian

 

Let me know if you're interested. Most Italian places don't take single diners so I'd have to investigate.

Pizza

 

This is a difficult one as Japanese pizzaioli are a volatile bunch and today's top place is tomorrow's empty shell, but this is new enough and the team is solid:

 

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2017/06/17/food/pizza-studio-tamaki-challenger-title-tokyos-best-pie/

 

Coffee

 

Fuglen roasts the best coffee in Japan.

 

Be a Good Neighbor (the Sendagaya location) is a nice stop with great espresso.

 

Onibus, Perch, Switch, Glitch, and many others are also excellent. The Roastery has its moments if you can deal with the corporate look and feel, and of course Verve is there.

 

Thanks for this! I do like ramen but any reason not to go with the "street" inside of Tokyo Station? Or is that pure tourist trap?

Kanemasu, Ishidaya, Cocoro, Moto and Kirakutei all appeal.

 

I'll do what I can on the sushi places....

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for this! I do like ramen but any reason not to go with the "street" inside of Tokyo Station? Or is that pure tourist trap?

 

 

The food and prices will be more or less the same as in the original locations of those shops, but you might end up spending more time in line with your fellow tourists than you would when you integrate a highly rated place into your trip (not suggesting you travel just for ramen). A better / the only reason to venture into the Yaseu underground shopping area is Liquors Hasegawa - but note they have two locations - you're looking for the one further away from the station, not the one that's in a corner - their selection of booze is terrific and there's a lot of it you can taste for 100-400 yen.

 

eta: in perspective - locations in Tokyo Station are about 12 times busier than the originals based on tabelog / google data.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

ah Arai looks really good. Alas, my flight lands on the 27th. Looking on reservation systems it doesn't look good on a lot of these places. I guess I could try working with the concierge.

 

For cocktails I'm very interested in Bar Gen Yamamoto. You can make reservations via email a month out. So I will do that. Ben Fiddich, Fuglen and Star Bar Ginza also look interesting.

 

Any thoughts on Ren or Ryoku?

 

 

Most good places in Japan are either not online at all, or release very few seats that way. Use a concierge.

 

Gen Yamamoto is very interesting and a pretty great experience recently. Not cocktails in the sense you're used to, as the alcohol comes in fairly small amounts, but that can be a good thing before or after dinner. The cocktail place we go to will not take you if you don't speak Japanese, but there are many very good spots which I can't really say much about as we haven't been. Fuglen for cocktails these days can be anything from terrific to mediocre depending on the team there that evening, but I'd go Friday when it's lively. Haven't been to Ren. Which Ryoku do you mean?

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for this! I do like ramen but any reason not to go with the "street" inside of Tokyo Station? Or is that pure tourist trap?

 

 

The food and prices will be more or less the same as in the original locations of those shops, but you might end up spending more time in line with your fellow tourists than you would when you integrate a highly rated place into your trip (not suggesting you travel just for ramen). A better / the only reason to venture into the Yaseu underground shopping area is Liquors Hasegawa - but note they have two locations - you're looking for the one further away from the station, not the one that's in a corner - their selection of booze is terrific and there's a lot of it you can taste for 100-400 yen.

 

eta: in perspective - locations in Tokyo Station are about 12 times busier than the originals based on tabelog / google data.

 

 

This is very helpful. Thank you! I downloaded the Ramen Beast app...so I'm surmising the thing to do will be to look for its recommendations in whichever neighborhood I am visiting...

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

ah Arai looks really good. Alas, my flight lands on the 27th. Looking on reservation systems it doesn't look good on a lot of these places. I guess I could try working with the concierge.

 

For cocktails I'm very interested in Bar Gen Yamamoto. You can make reservations via email a month out. So I will do that. Ben Fiddich, Fuglen and Star Bar Ginza also look interesting.

 

Any thoughts on Ren or Ryoku?

 

 

Most good places in Japan are either not online at all, or release very few seats that way. Use a concierge.

 

Gen Yamamoto is very interesting and a pretty great experience recently. Not cocktails in the sense you're used to, as the alcohol comes in fairly small amounts, but that can be a good thing before or after dinner. The cocktail place we go to will not take you if you don't speak Japanese, but there are many very good spots which I can't really say much about as we haven't been. Fuglen for cocktails these days can be anything from terrific to mediocre depending on the team there that evening, but I'd go Friday when it's lively. Haven't been to Ren. Which Ryoku do you mean?

 

 

concierge it is. and Gen Yamamoto really interests me. I will definitely hit Fuglen on the 27th then. coffee there doing the day as well I assume.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...