Restaurants in Tokyo
Innovation is the trump card of restaurants in Tokyo. All kinds of sea creatures, from sea urchin and crab to eel and stingray, are apt to wind up on your plate. Noodles, from ramen to soba and more, abound.
One of the best restaurants in Tokyo is Nodaiwa. Not far from Edogawa Park, this shop serves some of the best unagi (eel) dishes—so good in fact, that the line often stretches well past the door. If you want to try your hand at Japanese cooking, visit the Tsukiji Fish Market, known as Japan's Kitchen. It's the world's largest seafood market and moves at lightning speed. If you're dedicated, you can wake early to watch the tuna auction get underway at four o'clock in the morning.
For a break from the typical Tokyo restaurant, consider Union Square Tokyo and Pierre Gagnaire à Tokyo. Union Square Tokyo puts a Western spin on traditional dishes in the Tokyo midtown area. Meanwhile, French chef Pierre Gagnaire runs his namesake restaurant on the 36th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel.
Tsukiji Market, the largest fish market on earth, is home to outstanding sushi and tempura eateries that open as early as 5:30 a.m. and close by early afternoon. Take a right from the central square to reach the row of tiny restaurants.
Japan’s traditional meal-ending confections, collectively known as wagashi, still have a passionate fan base. Often made with red-bean paste, sugar, and mochi (glutinous rice cakes), the treats were once a favored gift exchanged by samurai.
Just two years after its opening, self-taught chef Carme Ruscellada's first reataurant in the village of San Pol de Mer north of Barcelona earned a Michelin star. In 2004, Ruscellada opened San Pau in Tokyo, and it quickly earned two stars.
"When I'm in Tokyo, I often go to a place called Dora in Shinjuku, the city's business district. Dora is a classic izakaya, which roughly translates as "pub." It attracts a high-energy crowd, and at night the booze is always flowing.
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.
Kurkku Kitchen is part of Tokyo's budding green scene. Located in a modern, two-story glass and wood, architect-designed building with a turf roof, the restaurant focuses on organic produce and meat prepared with a French flair (although the restaurant's name is Finnish for a type of pickle).
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.
Set in a zen garden in Atago, Daigo is a shojin ryori (vegetarian restaurant) in the Buddhist tradition, housed in a temple building that was moved to its current location from the grounds of the nearby Daigo-ji Temple.
Blending traditional elements of Japanese design—such as shoji screens and tatami mats—with dramatic contemporary art and lighting, Daidaiya is a popular izakaya (drinking place) where the fashionable after-work crowd gathers to experience creative Asia-fusion "nouvelle
Yakitori — essentially the Japanese version of a grilled chicken kebab — is ubiquitous in Tokyo, found everywhere from street stalls to upscale restaurants.
For fans of soba noodles, texture is key, and noodle shop Matsugen is reputed to have perfected it. Located on the third floor of a Ginza office tower, Matsugen attracts a business lunch crowd with its quiet ambience and low-key decor: dark wood furniture with strong lines.
The house specialty is a refined version of oden (Japanese hot pot). Sit at the counter, select your oden ingredients from a large brass pot, and sip an atsu-kan (hot sake) such as the seasonal Kikuhime Junmai.
Lyonnais legend Paul Bocuse's first restaurant outside France occupies the National Art Center's stunning glass-and-steel lobby. It sits atop a three-story inverted concrete cone, but delivers down-to-earth brasserie fare, such as whitefish-mousseline quenelles in a bisque sauce.
The quintessential izakaya (Japanese tapas bar) in the heart of Tokyo’s shitamachi (old downtown) area is a third-generation, six-decades-old restaurant.
Sequestered on a side street between the edgy fashion districts of Harajuku and Aoyama, this tiny, cheerful yakitori restaurant provides welcome relief for famished shoppers roaming nearby Omotesando Hills. Free-range Nagoya Cochin chicken, a tender breed, is the specialty here.