Japan

Restaurants in Japan

Well heeled Ginza shoppers and ladies who lunch converge at the lounge on the 3rd floor of Mikimoto's Ginza 2 Building, also known as "the Swiss Cheese Building" because of its distinticivly shaped, randomly placed windows.

Roughly translated, tsugihagi means something akin to "patchwork" in English, and that's the apporach this contemporary izakaya takes in everything from its atmosphere to its menu.

The Scene: In Tokyo’s Akasaka district behind an unmarked door, whose only “sign” is engraved on the door handle, is one of the world’s smallest fine restaurants—with only two tables.

The restaurant is obscured behind a dramatic façade of weathered steel and glass. Regulars love this spot not just for the gently priced omakase menu of delicious dishes—just $50 per person—but also for his rapport with the amiable owner, Kuniatsu Kondo.

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

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

Open, airy, and contemporary (floor-to-ceiling windows, exposed brick, wooden floors, and ulphostered banquettes), Union Square brings the success of New York chef Danny Meyer's cafe of the same name to Tokyo, where it's reinterpreted by chefs Michael Romano and Yoshichika Matsuda.

Tuck into a succulent Kurobuta-pork tonkatsu (cutlet) in a shaggy crisp panko crust.

At this envelope-pushing restaurant the sashimi comes with a side of pesto.

The line of salarymen descending the stairs into this ramen haven is long, but take heart:  it moves quickly, as these guys slurp like there’s no tomorrow.

More of a take-out stand than a café, this “American-style” operation is the ideal spot for grabbing a quick bite or refreshment—pure beef hot dogs, beer, muffins, and coffee—on the go.

An intimate (22 seats only) tempura house in upscale Roppongi Hills, Tempura Mikawa is found behind an unmarked, sliding wooden door set into a full-wall mural of blue birds on a gold background.

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.