Japan

Restaurants in Japan

Most restaurants in Japan serve local dishes, which consists mainly of rice, miso, fish, noodles, and seasonal vegetables. The local diet is relatively healthy, which is why Japan has a much lower obesity rate than other developed nations. However, in recent years international cuisine has become incredibly popular; it’s now possible to find Japanese restaurants that serve anything from American food to Italian to French cuisine.

However, when in Japan, eat as the Japanese do. Tokyo in particular – which boasts some of the best restaurants in Japan -- is a food lover’s paradise. It contains more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world. Don’t leave without stopping at Daiwa Sushi. Wait times can easily exceed one hour, but it’s worth it: the sashimi melts in your mouth. Japanese restaurants are also known for their noodle dishes, and it would be a crime to leave the country without sampling at least one bowl of ramen and udon.

"Toriyoshi is a Japanese yakitori chain. This location is in the central Minato neighborhood, close to the Omotesando subway station. Don't let a bias against chains throw you off-there are great ones throughout Japan. This place has amazing ji-dori, or ground chicken.

Try instead the sashimi of the day and the seasonal nizakana (fish simmered in sake and soy) with rice, pickles, and soothing miso soup.

The modern, red-and-black-walled restaurant has the freshest sushi in Tokyo.

Teppei specializes in esoteric shochu spirits and 10 kinds of ume-shu (plum) liqueur. The narrow haunt also serves an Okinawan Spam sushi - perversely delicious. Best of all, Teppei employs the services of certified Vegetable and Fruit Meister, a.k.a.

Part avante-garde art gallery, part dance club, part bar, Super Deluxe occupies an open basement space with concrete floors and high ceilings, decorated with contemporary furniture and a bar on wheels that serves cocktails and coffee drinks into the wee hours.

Chef Kimio Nonaga gained acclaim as the winner of the 2002 Iron Chef competition and has catered meals for the Imperial household, but his traditional kaiseki (multi-course) restaurant, located just a few minutes from Tokyo Station, is affordable and friendly.

Housed in a 19th-century sake brewery that was relocated from the countryside, Tofuya Ukai sits at the base of Tokyo Tower amidst zen gardens (complete with a stream and water wheel) visible from each of the restaurant's 55 private tatami dining rooms.

In 1834, a samurai made his claim to fame with his fruit and vegetables shop, introducing the then-isolated Japan to imported produce. More than 150 years later, the fruit parlor and its reputation are still intact.

Billed as "Tokyo-style French cuisine," Sens et Saveurs is the Tokyo outpost of identical twins Jacques and Laurent Pourcel, whose Montpelier Les Jardin des Sens has earned three Michelin stars.

It’s fun to sizzle a midday meal on a tabletop grill at this new mall staple specializing in skewerless yakitori. Try the tsukune, juicy, shiso-wrapped chicken meatballs.

A Parisian sidewalk cafe in one of Tokyo's toniest neighborhoods, Anniversaire is a popular pit stop for shoppers who need to fuel up or relax after shopping at nearby designer stores, such as Chanel, Dior, and Prada.

Literally translated as "pig gang", this new-wave tonkatsu temple occupies a quaint timber-framed house in a quiet residential enclave near big, bright Ropponi.

Isetan is one of Tokyo's most popular department stores and its basement depchicka, or "food hall" (in the tradition of European stores such as Harrod's), has a mind-boggling array of food, sold deli-style from glass cases. Traditional Japanese food is only one option.