Restaurants in Tokyo

To the surprise of many visitors, dining out in Tokyo doesn't cost the earth. With an estimated 60,000 restaurants in Tokyo, there is something for every taste bud and budget, from the gastronomic delights of Gordon Ramsay's restaurant, to fresh and delicious sushi, served from a stall at the city's famous fish market.

Lunch is the perfect time to try new restaurants, as menu prices are often less than half the night-time equivalent in the pricey areas of Ginza, Omotesando and Harajuku. Also, don’t miss the ‘bento boxes’: great-value lunch boxes filled with a selection of rice, shellfish, and vegetables.

Unlike their American and European counterparts, Japanese restaurants are often housed in anonymous grey buildings, either at the top of a high rise or down in the basement. But don't be put off, as the city has an incredible eye for design, and diners often find themselves eating in the most beautiful surroundings. Service is impeccable and every diner is made to feel special.

The Tokyo restaurants below have been grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over ¥10,000)
Moderate (¥3,000 to ¥10,000)
Cheap (up to ¥3,000)
These Tokyo restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for one (for dinner), including half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, tax and service. A 5% consumer tax is added to restaurant bills and luxury restaurants may also add a 10-15% service charge. Tipping is not customary and might offend.

Daigo

Price: Expensive

The rich and discerning still adore this top-end restaurant, a Tokyo institution since 1950, where the chef follows the strict vegetarian Buddhist rules of shojin ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). Diners relax in one of the restaurant's private tatami rooms, each elegantly designed in the traditional Japanese style.

Address: 2-3-1 Atago, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 3431 0811.

L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon

Price: Expensive

So successful is this restaurant that the queues snake out of the door each night. The black-and-red décor is low-lit and intimate, while the ever-changing menu offers simple yet delicious French cuisine. Built around an open kitchen, it is counter-seating only, giving diners the chance to watch the chefs at work.

Address: Roppongi Hills Hillside 2F 6-10-1 Roppongi Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 5772 7500.

Gordon Ramsay at Conrad Tokyo

Price: Expensive

The famous chef has brought his magic touch to the Conrad Hotel in Shiodome, with a menu of delicious lobster, foie gras and other exotic treats. For those on a budget, the three-course lunch is a bargain, while those wishing to watch the spectacular views over Tokyo Bay can plump for the rather more pricey set dinner.

Address: Conrad Tokyo, 1-9-1 Higashi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Japan
Telephone: (03) 6388 8000.

Tori Yoshi

Price: Moderate

Set underground, with atmospheric lighting and an intimate atmosphere, Tori Yoshii is where high-flyers have their yakitori (skewered chicken and other morsels). Wasabi grated before your eyes, charred bamboo shoots and gingko pods complement the yakitori, as well as the overall experience. Wash down your dinner with fresh Ebisu draft beer.

Address: B1F 4-2-6 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 5464 5466.

Bamboo Grassy

Price: Moderate

Teppanyaki means stir-fried meat and vegetables cooked on a large grill, and this is one of the best restaurants in Tokyo to give it a try. Grab a front-row seat to watch the chefs at work - their dexterity never fails to amaze. Okonomiyaki (Japanese savoury pancake) and yakisoba (stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables) are also available.

Address: B1F Pia House Ebisu, 3-9-29 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Japan
Telephone: (03) 5739 0527.

Gogyo

Price: Moderate

For a great variety of traditional Japanese food, a splash of chic with a down-to-earth vibe and, above all, a great plate of gyoza (dumplings), head to Gogyo. Squeeze along the benches and watch the flames of the kitchen from afar while tasting a range of shochu (a clear spirit) and yakibuta (barbecued pork). Let the lantern hanging outside the door guide you in.

Address: 1-4-36 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 5775 5566.

Chinya

Price: Cheap

This popular Tokyo restaurant has been running since 1880, and there is a touch of old Japan from the moment you relinquish your shoes at the door. After being led to your table by the kimono-clad waitress, choose from shabu-shabu (thin slices of beef and pork served raw for you to cook in a boiling broth) and sukiyaki (thin slices of beef, vegetables, tofu and noodles cooked in warishita, a special stock of soy sauce, sweet sake and sugar).

Address: 1-3-4 Asakusa, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 3841 0010.
Website:

Hokoto

Price: Cheap

For no-nonsense yet delicious helpings of ramen, broths, gyoza and stir fry, pop into Hokoto just opposite Harajuku Station. It’s a bright-lights, fast-service kind of a place but the food tastes just as good, and the staff are friendly and helpful. You’ll leave with a happy stomach and a happy wallet.

Address: 1F Ruponte Building, 1-17-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Telephone: (03) 3405 9015.

The Pink Cow

Price: Cheap

The Pink Cow is still a firm favourite on Harajuku's trendy café scene. The atmosphere is colourful and relaxed, with funky furnishings and a maze of rooms hung with the work of local artists. The list of Californian wines is excellent, and the vegetarian, home-style cooking (from burritos and bagels to fudge brownies) is an added bonus. A dinner buffet is available on the weekends.

Address: Villa Moderuna B1, 1-3-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Japan
Telephone: (03) 3406 5597.
Newsletter