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Akasaka Azabu

How to eat in Tokyo
  • Date Published: April 30, 2024

Tokyo, celebrated for its energetic food culture and diverse culinary delights, is a food lovers’ paradise. From crisp, fresh sushi to soothing bowls of ramen, the city caters to every taste bud. In this comprehensive food guide, we’ll lead you on a gastronomic tour of Tokyo, providing useful advice on optimizing your dining experience and highlighting the best eateries in town. Regardless of whether you’re a gourmet on the hunt for local specialties or an intrepid diner ready to delve into Japanese fare, Tokyo promises to imprint your memory with indelible food experiences.

Key Takeaways:

  • Discover the diverse and delicious culinary offerings in Tokyo.
  • Learn how to navigate the city’s food scene and make the most of your dining experience.
  • Explore must-try Japanese dishes and where to find them in Tokyo.
  • Get insider tips on the best places to eat and indulge in local food in Tokyo.
  • Immerse yourself in the flavors of Tokyo and embrace the city’s vibrant food culture.

Are you ready to embark on a gastronomic adventure in Tokyo? Let’s dive into the world of Japanese cuisine and discover the best places to eat in this culinary paradise!

Top 20 Must-Try Foods in Tokyo

When visiting Tokyo, there are certain foods that you simply can’t miss. From sushi to ramen to Japanese curry, these dishes represent the essence of Tokyo’s culinary scene. In this section, we will introduce the top 20 must-try foods in the city and provide recommendations for restaurants and locations where you can experience these iconic dishes.

1. Sushi: Tokyo is renowned for its sushi, with fresh, melt-in-your-mouth fish and expertly-crafted rolls. Head to places like Sushi Dai in Tsukiji Market or Sukiyabashi Jiro for an unforgettable sushi experience.

2. Ramen: A steaming bowl of ramen is the perfect comfort food. Try the rich, pork-based tonkotsu ramen at Ichiran or the unique tsukemen dipping noodles at Rokurinsha.

3. Tempura: Indulge in crispy, deep-fried goodies at tempura restaurants like Tempura Kondo or Tsunahachi. From shrimp to vegetables, you’ll savor the delicate flavors and satisfying crunch.

4. Yakitori: Sample the smoky and savory grilled chicken skewers at cozy izakaya joints such as Torikizoku or Shimbashi Bincho. Don’t miss the flavorful tare sauce that accompanies the skewers.

5. Okonomiyaki: This savory pancake is a popular street food in Tokyo. Try the Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki at Sakuratei or the traditional Osaka-style version at Kiji Okonomiyaki.

6. Tonkatsu: Enjoy breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets at places like Maisen or Butagumi. Pair it with tangy tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage for a satisfying meal.

7. Tsukemen: Dip thick, chewy noodles into a rich, flavorful broth with tsukemen. Menya Itto and Fuunji are known for their delicious tsukemen options.

8. Gyoza: These pan-fried dumplings are a popular appetizer or snack. Visit Harajuku Gyozaro or Gyozalo for perfectly crispy and juicy gyoza.

9. Matcha: Tokyo is the perfect place to indulge in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Head to Nakamura Tokichi or Ippodo Tea for a calming matcha experience.

10. Unagi: Grilled eel is a delicacy in Tokyo. Try the delicious kabayaki-style unagi at places like Mikawa Zezankyo or Nodaiwa.

11. Sukiyaki: This hot pot dish features thinly sliced beef cooked in a sweet and savory sauce. Experience sukiyaki at restaurants like Imafuku or Komagata Maekawa.

12. Monjayaki: Another popular street food in Tokyo, monjayaki is a savory pancake similar to okonomiyaki. Head to Tsukishima Monja Street to try different varieties.

13. Kobe Beef: Indulge in the legendary Kobe beef, known for its marbling and tenderness. Treat yourself to this premium beef at restaurants like Yoroniku or Steak House Pound.

14. Chanko Nabe: Don’t miss the opportunity to try the hearty and flavorful sumo wrestler’s stew. Visit Ryogoku Kokugikan or Nabezo for a satisfying chanko nabe meal.

15. Soba: Enjoy the simplicity of handmade buckwheat noodles at soba restaurants like Sarashina Horii or Yabu Soba. The dipping sauce and toppings elevate the flavors.

16. Yakisoba: This stir-fried noodle dish is a popular street food. Try yakisoba at festivals or visit restaurants like Shibuya Katsuizumi or Omoide Yokocho for a filling meal.

17. Takoyaki: These octopus-filled savory balls are a must-try street food. Try takoyaki at vendors in places like Tsukiji or Tako Tako King in Harajuku.

18. Okonomi-mura: Explore the “Okonomiyaki Village” in Hiroshima Town, where you can try different styles and flavors of this delicious pancake.

19. Omurice: This delightful dish features an omelet filled with fried rice and topped with ketchup. Visit Pomme no Ki or Rakeru for a comforting plate of omurice.

20. Melon Pan: End your Tokyo food journey with a sweet treat. Try the freshly baked melon pan at Kagetsudo or Asakusa Kagetudo.

Whether you’re a sushi connoisseur or an adventurous eater, these iconic Tokyo foods are a must-try for any visitor to the city. Sample the diverse flavors, immerse yourself in Tokyo’s culinary scene, and savor every bite.

Sushi: A Taste of Perfection

Tokyo is renowned as the world capital of sushi, offering an exquisite dining experience that delights both locals and tourists alike. With a vast array of sushi restaurants to choose from, Tokyo is a haven for sushi enthusiasts seeking an authentic and unforgettable culinary adventure.

Whether you are a connoisseur seeking Tokyo’s best sushi or a traveler yearning for an authentic sushi experience, the city has something to offer everyone. From traditional sushiya (sushi restaurants) that have been passed down through generations to innovative establishments redefining sushi as an art form, Tokyo’s sushi scene is a testament to the city’s dedication to excellence.

What sets Tokyo’s sushi apart is the exceptional quality of the seafood. The city’s proximity to the ocean allows for access to the freshest and finest ingredients. Local fish markets such as Tsukiji Market are a testament to the city’s commitment to sourcing the best seafood for sushi preparation.

Top Sushi Restaurants in Tokyo:

  • Jiro Sushi: Located in the upscale district of Ginza, Jiro Sushi is one of the most renowned sushi establishments in the city. With its intimate setting and attention to detail, it offers an unforgettable sushi experience.
  • Sukiyabashi Jiro: Made famous by the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” this three-Michelin-starred restaurant has set the bar high for sushi perfection. It is a must-visit for sushi enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary dining experience.
  • Sushizanmai: Known for its affordable yet high-quality sushi, Sushizanmai offers a wide variety of sushi options. With multiple locations across the city, it is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike.
  • Maru Sushi: Tucked away in the upscale neighborhood of Azabu, Maru Sushi specializes in omakase-style sushi courses. With its intimate atmosphere and exceptional flavors, it provides an authentic and personalized sushi experience.
  • Mitsubishi Sushi: Located in the Tsukiji district, Mitsubishi Sushi is renowned for its use of seasonal ingredients and traditional sushi techniques. It offers a culinary journey that highlights the best of Tokyo’s sushi culture.

These are just a few examples of the many extraordinary sushi restaurants in Tokyo. Each restaurant has its own unique offering, ensuring that no matter where you choose to indulge in sushi, you’re in for a taste of perfection.

No visit to Tokyo is complete without experiencing the city’s renowned sushi scene. Whether you’re a sushi aficionado or simply seeking an extraordinary gastronomic adventure, Tokyo’s sushi restaurants will leave you with unforgettable memories and a deep appreciation for the art of sushi-making.

Ramen: A Bowl of Comfort

Ramen is a beloved comfort food in Tokyo and an essential part of the city’s culinary scene. With its rich broth, tender noodles, and flavorful toppings, ramen never fails to satisfy both locals and visitors alike. Tokyo is home to countless ramen shops, each with its own unique style and flavor profile. Whether you prefer the creamy richness of tonkotsu ramen or the bold spiciness of miso ramen, there are ramen shops in Tokyo that cater to every taste.

When it comes to finding the best ramen in Tokyo, it can be overwhelming with so many options available. To help you navigate the city’s ramen scene, we have curated a list of the top ramen shops that offer exceptional flavors and unforgettable experiences. From hidden gems tucked away in narrow alleyways to popular establishments with long queues, these ramen shops are a must-visit for any ramen enthusiast.

But what sets Tokyo’s ramen apart is the wide variety of ramen styles you can find in the city. Each style has its own distinct characteristics, from the type of broth used to the toppings that adorn the bowl. Here are some of the most popular ramen styles you can try in Tokyo:

  1. Tonkotsu Ramen: This style features a rich and creamy pork bone broth that is simmered for hours, resulting in a velvety and flavorful base. It is typically topped with slices of tender chashu pork, green onions, and sesame seeds.
  2. Miso Ramen: Known for its bold and savory flavor, miso ramen uses a fermented soybean paste called miso as the base for its broth. It is often garnished with corn, bean sprouts, and marinated bamboo shoots.
  3. Shoyu Ramen: Shoyu, or soy sauce, ramen is characterized by its clear and savory broth flavored with soy sauce. This classic style is usually topped with slices of roasted pork, bamboo shoots, and nori seaweed.
  4. Shio Ramen: Shio, meaning salt, ramen features a clear and light broth seasoned with salt. It has a delicate flavor that allows the natural sweetness of the ingredients to shine through. Common toppings include boiled egg, seaweed, and sprouts.

With such a diverse range of ramen styles and flavors, Tokyo’s ramen scene truly offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of hearty and rich broths or prefer lighter and more delicate flavors, you’re sure to find your perfect bowl of ramen in the city.

Ramen Shop Location Specialty
Ippudo Various Locations Tonkotsu Ramen
Afuri Multiple Locations Yuzu Shio Ramen
Menya Musashi Shinjuku Tsukemen
Santouka Various Locations Shio Ramen
Nakiryu Otsuka Dan Dan Noodles

These are just a few of the many incredible ramen shops in Tokyo. Each one offers a unique ramen experience, making them worth a visit during your culinary adventure in the city. Whether you’re seeking the best tonkotsu ramen, want to try a bowl of spicy miso ramen, or are eager to explore other ramen styles, Tokyo has it all.

Tempura: A Crispy Delight

Tempura is a classic Japanese dish that has become a beloved culinary tradition. Tokyo, with its thriving food scene, is home to some of the best tempura restaurants in the country. These establishments specialize in deep-frying various ingredients, such as shrimp, vegetables, and seafood, in a light and crispy batter.

Tempura is known for its delicate and crispy texture, achieved through a meticulous cooking process that ensures the perfect balance of flavors. Each ingredient is carefully coated in a batter made from flour, water, and sometimes eggs, then quickly fried in hot oil. The result is a golden and crispy exterior that gives way to a tender and succulent interior.

When it comes to finding the best tempura in Tokyo, there are several renowned restaurants that stand out. From traditional establishments that have been perfecting the art of tempura for generations to innovative spots with a contemporary twist, the city offers a diverse range of options.

“The delicate art of tempura lies in the mastery of timing and precision. Great tempura requires not only the freshest ingredients but also the chef’s skill in achieving the perfect temperature and timing.”

One such establishment is Tempura Kondo, located in the heart of Tokyo. This Michelin-starred restaurant is known for its exceptional tempura dishes, crafted with the utmost attention to detail. With a refined ambiance and a menu that showcases the freshest seasonal ingredients, Tempura Kondo offers an unforgettable dining experience.

Another popular spot is Tenko, a renowned tempura restaurant with a modern twist. Led by Chef Saito, Tenko combines traditional tempura techniques with innovative flavors, resulting in a unique culinary experience. The restaurant’s commitment to sourcing the highest quality ingredients and their dedication to craftsmanship make it a must-visit for tempura enthusiasts.

For those seeking a more affordable option, Tempuragin Asakusa is a hidden gem. Situated in a quaint neighborhood near Senso-ji Temple, this casual eatery serves up delicious tempura at reasonable prices. With a focus on the classics and a friendly atmosphere, Tempuragin Asakusa offers a taste of authentic Tokyo tempura without breaking the bank.

Why Should You Try Tempura in Tokyo?

Tempura is not just a uniquely Japanese dish, but also a centerpiece of Tokyo’s culinary scene. Trying tempura in the city allows you to experience the mastery of Japanese deep-frying techniques and the exceptional quality of ingredients available in Tokyo’s bustling markets.

Whether you’re a fan of seafood, vegetables, or both, tempura offers a wide range of options to suit every palate. From delicate shrimp tempura to crispy sweet potato tempura, there is a delicious variation for every taste.

Tempura is also a wonderful representation of the Japanese philosophy of simplicity and respect for ingredients. The batter is deliberately light, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through. Each bite is a harmonious blend of textures and tastes, a true delight for the senses.

So, when in Tokyo, make sure to indulge in the city’s vibrant tempura scene. Whether you choose a high-end restaurant or a local eatery, you’re in for a crispy and flavorful treat that will leave you craving more.

Yakitori: Grilled Skewers of Goodness

When it comes to experiencing the vibrant street food scene in Tokyo, yakitori is a must-try dish. These delicious grilled chicken skewers have captured the hearts and taste buds of locals and visitors alike. Tokyo is home to numerous izakaya restaurants and specialty yakitori establishments where you can indulge in this mouthwatering treat.

Yakitori is all about simplicity and flavor. The skewers are made from succulent pieces of chicken, marinated with a delicious combination of soy sauce, garlic, mirin, and other seasonings. The skewers are then grilled to perfection over a charcoal fire, resulting in juicy, tender, and smoky chicken skewers that are bursting with flavor.

What makes yakitori truly unique is the wide variety of cuts and skewer combinations available. From classic chicken thighs and wings to more adventurous choices like chicken hearts and liver, there is a yakitori combination to suit every palate. Each skewer is grilled with precision, ensuring that the chicken is cooked to perfection.

Best Yakitori Restaurants in Tokyo

For the ultimate yakitori experience, here are some of the best yakitori restaurants in Tokyo:

  1. Isozaki Toriyoshi – Located in the bustling Akasaka neighborhood, Isozaki Toriyoshi is renowned for its delicious yakitori and vibrant atmosphere. The restaurant offers a variety of skewers made from the finest ingredients, including free-range chicken.
  2. Toriyoshi – A popular yakitori chain with locations throughout Tokyo, Toriyoshi is known for its high-quality skewers and affordable prices. The menu features a wide selection of chicken cuts and flavorful marinades.
  3. Yakitori Seo – Situated in the trendy neighborhood of Azabu, Yakitori Seo is a hidden gem known for its traditional yakitori. The restaurant uses only the freshest ingredients and grills each skewer to perfection. Don’t miss their specialty, the tsukune (chicken meatball) skewer.

No matter where you choose to enjoy yakitori in Tokyo, you’re in for a treat. The combination of tender grilled chicken, rich marinades, and the bustling atmosphere of these specialty restaurants create an unforgettable dining experience.

Indulge in Tokyo’s grilled chicken skewers and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of these Japanese gastropubs. Whether you’re a fan of traditional yakitori or want to try unique skewer combinations, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings in Tokyo’s diverse dining scene.

Japanese Curry: A Comforting Favorite

Japanese curry is a flavorful and comforting dish that has become a favorite among locals and visitors alike in Tokyo. Made with a rich and aromatic curry sauce served over rice, curry udon, or accompanied by crispy breaded cutlets in katsu curry, this dish offers a unique blend of savory flavors and spices that will warm your soul.

Best Japanese curry in Tokyo

If you’re craving Japanese curry in Tokyo, you’re in luck! The city is home to numerous restaurants that specialize in this delicious comfort food. Whether you’re in the mood for a traditional curry rice or want to try a fusion twist on this classic dish, Tokyo’s curry scene has something to offer for everyone.

“Japanese curry is the ultimate comfort food. The thick and luscious curry sauce, paired with perfectly cooked rice, creates a delightful combination of flavors. It’s like a warm hug on a plate!” – Food Blogger

Here are some of the best Japanese curry restaurants in Tokyo that you must visit:

Restaurant Location Specialty
Curry House CoCo Ichibanya Multiple locations Customizable curry options
Go Go Curry Shinjuku Jumbo-sized curry dishes
Camp Curry Shibuya Outdoor camping-themed experience
Rojiura Curry Samurai Asakusa Authentic and traditional flavors

These restaurants offer a diverse range of curry variations, allowing you to customize your dish with different toppings, levels of spiciness, and protein choices. From mild and creamy curries to fiery and bold ones, there’s something for every palate.

So, if you’re looking for a popular comfort food in Tokyo that will satisfy your cravings, don’t miss out on trying Japanese curry. These recommended restaurants will ensure you have an unforgettable culinary experience during your visit to the city.

For more information or assistance in finding the best Japanese curry restaurants in Tokyo, feel free to contact us at AkasakaAzabu.com. Our team is dedicated to helping foreigners navigate Japan’s property market and providing personalized service to ensure a seamless experience. Email us for a FREE consultation!

Conclusion

Eating in Tokyo is an unparalleled culinary adventure that caters to every food lover’s palate. With its wide range of dishes and exceptional restaurants, the city offers a gastronomic experience like no other. From the delicate artistry of sushi to the comforting delight of ramen and the crispy goodness of tempura, Tokyo’s food scene never disappoints.

In this ultimate dining guide, we have provided recommendations for the top must-try foods in the city and highlighted the best places to indulge in these culinary delights. Whether you’re a sushi connoisseur, a ramen enthusiast, or simply looking for an authentic Japanese curry, Tokyo has it all.

Explore the bustling streets of Tsukiji Fish Market for the freshest seafood, visit the small ramen shops in Shinjuku for a bowl of steaming noodles, or venture to local izakayas in Shibuya for a vibrant yakitori experience. Whatever your preference, Tokyo’s food scene is a sensory journey that will leave you craving for more.

So, whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler to Tokyo, get ready to embark on a culinary adventure that will tantalize your taste buds and inspire your senses. With its diverse flavors, exceptional quality, and unrivaled dining experiences, Tokyo truly deserves its reputation as a food lover’s paradise.

FAQ

How can I eat smart in Tokyo?

To eat smart in Tokyo, it’s a good idea to plan your meals in advance and research the best places to eat. Look for local recommendations and try to explore different neighborhoods to discover hidden gems. Additionally, make sure to try a variety of dishes and embrace the local food culture.

Where are the best places to eat in Tokyo?

Tokyo offers a vast array of dining options, but some popular areas include Shibuya, Shinjuku, and Ginza. These neighborhoods are known for their diverse range of restaurants, from high-end establishments to casual street food stalls. Don’t be afraid to explore the smaller side streets as well, as you’ll often find hidden gems tucked away.

What are some local foods to try in Tokyo?

Some must-try local foods in Tokyo include sushi, ramen, tempura, yakitori, and Japanese curry. These dishes represent the essence of Tokyo’s culinary scene and can be found throughout the city. Be sure to try different variations of these dishes and explore the different flavors and textures they offer.

Are there any specific dining tips for eating in Tokyo?

When dining in Tokyo, it’s customary to say “Itadakimasu” before you start eating and “Gochisousama deshita” after finishing your meal. Additionally, it’s polite to wait for everyone to receive their food before eating and to avoid wasting any food. Do keep in mind that some smaller restaurants may have specific rules or etiquette, so it’s always a good idea to observe and follow the locals’ lead.

What is the best time to eat in Tokyo?

Tokyo is a city that never sleeps, and many restaurants are open late into the night. However, it’s still best to plan your meals during typical dining hours, such as lunchtime and dinnertime. It’s also worth noting that some popular restaurants may require reservations, so it’s recommended to book in advance if possible.

Can I find vegetarian or vegan options in Tokyo?

While Tokyo is known for its seafood and meat-based dishes, vegetarian and vegan options are becoming more widely available in the city. Many restaurants now offer vegetarian or vegan menus or can accommodate dietary restrictions upon request. Additionally, there are dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurants that cater specifically to plant-based diets. It’s helpful to do some research and use online resources to find these establishments.

Can I eat street food in Tokyo?

Yes, street food is a popular and delicious option in Tokyo. You can find various street food stalls and food markets throughout the city, particularly in areas like Asakusa and Harajuku. Some popular street food items to try include takoyaki (octopus balls), yakisoba (stir-fried noodles), and taiyaki (fish-shaped pastries filled with red bean paste).

How much should I budget for meals in Tokyo?

The cost of meals in Tokyo can vary greatly depending on the type of restaurant and the dish you choose. You can find budget-friendly options starting at around 500 to 1,000 yen per meal at casual eateries or street food stalls. Mid-range restaurants usually range from 1,000 to 3,000 yen per meal, while high-end dining experiences can cost upwards of 5,000 yen per person.

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