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 tastebud and budget, from the gastronomic delights (Tokyo has more Michelin stars than anywhere else on the planet), to fresh and delicious sushi, served from a stall at the city's famous Tsukiji 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. 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 the city has an incredible eye for design, and diners often find themselves eating in 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 (¥5,000 to ¥10,000)
Cheap (up to ¥5,000)
These prices are for a three-course meal for one, including half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, tax and service. An 8% 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.
The rich and discerning still adore this top-end restaurant, a Tokyo institution since 1950, blessed with two Michelin stars, where the chef follows the strict vegetarian Buddhist rules of shojinryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine). Diners relax in one of the restaurant's private tatami rooms, each elegantly designed in traditional Japanese style.Address: Minato-ku, 2-3-1 Atago, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3431 0811.
L'EffervescenceCuisine: French, Japanese.
A key part in Japan's Michelin star boom, L'Effervescence represents Tokyo fine dining at its best. Chef Shinobu Namae made his name at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck restaurant in the UK, but is influenced by French and Japanese dishes. Guinea fowl with bokchoy (Chinese cabbage) and white balsamic vinegar marshmallows are the style of food to expect.Address: Minato-ku, 2-26-4 Nishiazabu, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 5766 9500.
Yoshiaki TakazawaCuisine: French, Japanese.
With just 10 seats, this tiny restaurant is one of the hottest places to eat in town. Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa cooks up stunning traditional Japanese dishes infused with French flavours, making this a culinary experience not to be missed. Seafood is the main draw with the menu changing depending on seasonal ingredients.Address: Minato-ku, Floor 2, Sanyo Akasaka Bldg, 3-5-2, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3305 5052.
Bamboo GrassyCuisine: Japanese
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: 3-9-29 Ebisu, B1F Pia House Ebisu, Shibuya-ku,
Telephone: +81 3 5739 0527.
For a great variety of traditional Japanese food, a splash of chic with a down-to-earth vibe and a great plate of ramen, 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,
Telephone: +81 3 5775 5566.
Sushiyori InoseCuisine: Japanese
Tokyo has thousands of excellent sushi restaurants to choose from, but this spot has gained an impressive reputation thanks to is winning hospitality. It's refreshingly unpretentious, utterly unique and won't leave you penniless either. There's no menu, though: the chef makes what he pleases and you eat as many plates as you like.Address: Shinagawa, 2-20-2 Higashigotanda, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3443 1719.
Set alongside the Shibuya River, Afuri is famous for its ramen, and the addition of yuzu, a citrus fruit, adds a lightness to the broth. Queues often form outside, but service is fast: select your order from the vending machine at the entrance (there's English labelling too) and then collect your dish.Address: Shibuya-ku, 1-1-7 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 5795 0750.
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: Taito-ku, 1-3-4 Asakusa, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 3841 0010.
The Pink CowCuisine: Western
The Pink Cow is a firm favourite among ex-pats and locals into western food and drink. 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 mainly vegetarian, home-style cooking (from burritos and bagels to fudge brownies) is an added bonus.Address: Minato-ku, 5-5-1 Roppongi, Tokyo,
Telephone: +81 3 6434 5773.