Last Minute Trip to Tokyo...HELP! 6/29-7/10


#1

Hi Friends,

I just booked a last minute trip to Tokyo, i’ll be there and staying in Shibuya 6/29-7/10.

Know it’s last minute but I have someone trying to get me a res at Saito & Sawada. I will have 1-2 other people with me.

Looking for all tiers of the best food in the city…that I can get into easily or with a little push.

from low budget, to medium to high end (can only afford to probably do two high end omakase max when i’m there).

Looking for really nice ramen, tempura, teppanyaki…Also open to non Japanese cuisine.

thank you!!!


#2

I sent you a PM…


#3

I’ve never been to Japan, but I’ve always had this idea that when I do go, I want to try:

  1. McDonalds;
  2. Ramen in a subway station and/or from a vending machine;
  3. 7-Eleven everything; and
  4. Midnight Diner.

Decidedly low-brow, but so different from what we have here. I mean, sushi and tempura is a given, right? :slight_smile:

( I posted this in the wrong thread, so I have to add words to paste it here. La la la.)


#5

You should go there with secreatasianman.


#6

It is Osaka, not Tokyo.:sunglasses:


#7

Yikes, I was in Osaka exactly one year ago today. Love Tokyo, but gotta give Osaka a slight edge. So much food variety in every direction: fugu, Kobe beef, izakayas, teppanyaki, curry, tempura, soba, on and on.

Beef tongue:

Lunch at a tea grower restaurant, most items with a tea component:

Japanese curry at a salaryman counter: YES!!

Like an Asian Denny’s but exponentially better: (for the not so squeamish, that’s horse sashimi)

Vending machine with the Asahi family. Baby beer, momma beer, daddy beer, grandpa beer:

After two weeks of great Japanese food, MacD hits the spot:

Did a bang bang on omurice, don’t get the appeal??

kushiage, deep fried stuff that is NOT tempura. Do not double dip the communal sauce!!!

Requisite shot of the commode and tub. The facilities actually had English this time. No guessing on pictographs which has caused somewhat embarrassing damp moments, albeit in private. :slight_smile:

Sorry for getting off topic. As you may see, we tend to just wander and not visit name places. Have fun in Tokyo, gotta go back next year. Thanks for opening up a chance to savor some good memories.


#8

What is the name of that tea grower restaurant? We are planning to visit Osaka next spring…


#9

We would like to visit Kansai in spring also. However, everything from air fares to hotels are super expensive during the Sakura tourist season.

The restaurant is Nakamura Tokiji in Uji. It’s 1.5 hours by JR from Osaka, and only 30 minutes from Kyoto. We spent a week in Kyoto before our stay in Osaka.


#10

yo hook up tokyo recs, not osaka :stuck_out_tongue:


#11

Will do. Pls note that we don’t eat accordingly to a list, we just go to an area an eat what looks good. I’ll post some pictures that will mostly give you an idea of how and what we eat. Your mileage will invariably vary.

From our 2015 trip:

At Tsukiji, the famous oyakodon “chicken and egg bowl”. We had sushi as well, of course, but that is a given. This place is famous for this dish, and the queues can be very long at peak times.

Fugu (pufferfish) was on my bucket list. So we indulge in a dinner set, at a semi-chain restaurant. Very reasonable at about USD$100 for dinner for two and bottle of wine.

Fish skin salad. Sashimi sliced thick, and thin. Deep fried.

Finished with a nabe of puffer fish skin, frame and fresh vegetables. The “pot” itself was a parchment lined wicker basket on an induction stove. Quite novel.

Our first Japanese ramen was at the ubiquitous chain, Ichiran. We’ve eaten at a few local ramen shops since, but Ichiran is very good.

A hole in the wall near Mitsumine Shrine. Japanese surf and turf: horse sashimi and whale sashimi. The horse was sweet on the tongue and tender, so good. The whale was a tad fishy, yeah, I know whales are mammals.

Riccio Mania, Japan meets Italy. Uni, meet pasta.

Hana No Mai: Denny’s, Tokyo style. We sat at a broad bar, our future dinner staring at us inches away. Fried chicken cartilage. I think that was aji. Horse again, mix of lean and fatty. Some sushi, just because.

This should give you an idea of how we roll. I’ll put up our 2016 trip shortly.


#12

And ruin a good thing? Nah!
Besides, Tokyo is no Osaka, after all . . .


#13

I was in Tokyo for a few days in April. I stayed in the Shinjuku area. I was by myself, so I didn’t do any high end sushi or anything. Here’s the write up I did on Hungry Onion:


#14

Tsukiji Fish Market (Inner Market) will shut down in early October, so my recommendation is to go for one last visit.

Some worthwhile experiences there

https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13040524/ Aiyo - old school kissaten/coffee shop. Iced coffee is very nice and even something simple like buttered toast is great (or get it half with jam, the other half with butter)

https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13007669/ Washoku Kato - strictly a seafood themed eatery (what there is fantastic cooked food in Tsukiji Inner Market??) - ask what fish is in season and try it braised (nitsuke). The sauce is splendid over rice

https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13002386/ - Yachiyo - specialist of deep fried fresh seafood. It’s one of the ultimate comfort foods for locals and visitors in the know. Try a combo of deep fried horse mackeral/scallops/anago/oysters (essentially pick 3 out of the lot). If you have another person in your party have one of them order the jumbo kurumaebi (Dai Kurumaebi), these will be some of the largest prawns you will ever feast your eyes on.

There are some very fun experiences in the Outer Market as well and I encourage you to explore there as well. Kitsuneya https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13007656/ is fantastic for horumon don (beef innards stewed in miso) or you can get an order without rice. If you can’t tolerate innards, you can get gyu don which are regular beef and onion stewed in the same sauce over rice, or if you want to swap rice for tofu, ask for “niku-tofu” which is the same beef and onion but over rice. If you rather have curry rice instead, Nakaei https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1313/A131301/13002332/ is a solid choice

I’ve already commented on my Takumi Shingo thread; head straight to Kurosaki in Shibuya for your high end sushi meal and that can also be a backup if your #1 and #2 choices fall through.

Kurosaki: https://tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1303/A130301/13178821/

it’s seriously good, don’t skip it just because it’s not quite as loved by the Opinionated About Dining Instagram
“Key Opinion Leader” types.

Another backup: Zoroku Yuzan https://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A130701/13139640/ also relatively easy to book. Kurosaki has superior sushi but this place is also very satisfying with killer sake selection.


#15

thanks for the tips!

Really considering Kurosaki, having trouble connecting with Sawada.


#16

Hotel concierge? AmEx concierge?


#17

With Kurosaki the easiest is to book through Pocket Concierge and score the last minute seats which open up the month of your visit (I’d say check now and snag what you can get). You’ll pay a reservation fee but it’s for peace of mind unless your hotel concierge has better access that you can book. When I have time I’ll create a separate post of my Oct 2017 visit so you can see for yourself. By the way Kurosaki has one Michelin star and to me outperforms another vastly overrated unnamed Michelin star sushi in Ginza…

I’m also looking at some old bookmarks of places I never made to that you can research and see if you want to explore further

Shibuya
Tamawarai - soba (cheap lunch option)
Fuglen (a branch of 3rd wave coffee from Oslo)

Shinjuku

  • explore Golden Gai, Omoide Yokocho or at least take a walk through and explore the old neighborhood. If you see something you want to try, give it a go. Great photo opportunities too
  • Gyukatsu Motomura (Shinjuku has one) - fried beef cutlet, garners long lines but really good
  • Kappo Nakajima (go only for lunch for their set meals featuring sardines, super ridiculously good value, go early and line up)
  • visit Takashimaya department store, the largest in Tokyo. The basement is heavenly with all the food items, alcohol, seafood (in the market section). Isetan is not too far away (15 mins walk from there) which is also quite sizeable, but Takshimaya is a bit more high end.

Download the ramen beast app and go to ramenbeast.com to get an idea of what ramen you want to try

Bars:
Bar High Five (Ginza)
Ben Fiddich (Shinjuku/Nishi Shinjuku)

One sushi place you may want to give a try given its historical significance is Bentenyama Miyakosushi in Asakusa

The founder trained directly under Hanaya Yohei who is considered to be the founder and creator of Edomae sushi, and the current chef is near retirement age (he has someone taking over him when he does retire). Very reasonable lunch sets. No pretentious snootiness, and no fancy ingredients like uni or ikura…just very traditional and very tasty. Make a reservation though before going. Reasonably priced as well.


#18

Shibuya station recs

Toyoko Norengai Food Hall

Ayung Teras - Bali/Indonesian
In Shibuya, but an uphill walk from the west exit of Shibuya station. They use bincho charcoal for their sate skewers. $ Inexpensive, but better to dine in small groups to share dishes.
Yelp reviews in English:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/K2GSnAB22N

Shibuya district - Omotesando/Aoyama

Trinite, a small French bistro located in Omote Sando near fashion boutiques. Not visible from street and you have to walk to the basement level. Mid range for dinner, under $15-18 pp for lunch. $$-$$$ 1 private room for 4ppl by reservation only. Decent wines.
There aren’t any Yelp reviews, but plenty of ‘em on Tabelog albeit in Japanese: https://s.tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1306/A130602/13122476/
My IG pix: Dinner - https://instagram.com/p/-eGGdrK87N/
Sea urchin w scrambled eggs: https://instagram.com/p/BEn7rZhK86W/

Jidori chix & FG terrine: https://instagram.com/p/BEn66ItK84v/

Lunch dishes - Omurice, Omelette w Jpn rice, demiglace and beef. Stick to your ribs. https://instagram.com/p/BEj6edlq8zK/

Shibuya district - Gaienmae/Aoyama

Ume no Hana - yuba and tofu specialist, inexpensive to moderate kaiseki
Near Gaienmae station, the stop after Shibuya on the Ginza subway.
https://yelp.to/qTKq/rRDdum822N
My IG pix: https://instagram.com/p/BElYqdUq8-8/

Since your budget is limited, I’m not going to recommend Den near Shibuya. It’s modern cuisine presented in a relaxed and fun manner. Int’l chefs love to visit, but hard to get into. Under $200 per w/o alcohol. If you want info, jlmk.

Shinjuku station

Takashimaya department Shinjuku store restos.

Le Salon Jacques Borie, refined French bistro. Food is rich, but prices are lower than comparable places b/c it’s in a dept store.
Restaurant website: http://parlour.shiseido.co.jp/lesalon/

Yelp reviews: https://yelp.to/qTKq/qlt5FD542N

My IG pix:
Vegetable risotto w off menu FG add on https://instagram.com/p/24ThgpK8_g/

Slice of Paris Brest and Il Flotante (floating island meringue) from dessert cart: https://instagram.com/p/24X0QcK83X/

Mid to high range pricing $$-$$$. Lunch $40-70; Dinner $120 tasting menu, a la carte available.

Fukurokuju - Kyoto style kaiseki including beef and tempura
Tabelog page in English: https://s.tabelog.com/en/tokyo/A1304/A130401/13004278/

Mid range pricing $$. Lunch $30-45. Dinner $50-65.

My IG pix:
-Wagyu steak from wagyu prix fixe lunch https://instagram.com/p/-QrNqOq886/
-Tempura https://instagram.com/p/-f0AFdK846/
-Suppon (turtle soup) https://instagram.com/p/-f0mHOq85m/
If possible, try to get a corner window seat. This place is really popular with Japanese housewives for lunch. Autumn view from window w iPhone zoom: https://instagram.com/p/-fyooqq83G/

High end sushi

Sushisho Masa in Nishi Azabu. Foreigners can only be seated from 9pm~ like most other fancy sushi joints.
Yelp reviews: https://yelp.to/qTKq/CllJbU562N
The entrance is located to the right of Hobson’s ice cream store — they’re stairs leading down to the basement where the resto is.

They will keep feeding you until you beg them to stop. Final course if you wish is uni sushi served from Masa’s hands to yours: https://instagram.com/p/BJ8xhYWjM0J/

Porthos did an extensive writeup: Tokyo: Sushi Sho Masa. Sushi Perfection

Unlike some other places, Masa-san is humble and pleasant towards everyone including foreigners.

In contrast, at times the itamae can be careless and rude at Sushisho in Yotsuya where many foreigners go for the 2,000 yen chirashi lunch thinking it’s a bargain. Save your money for something else. Sushisho is the flagship of Keiji Nakazawa, the sushi master who left for Hawaii. Many of his disciples branched off and have “sho” in their resto names like “Sushisho Masa.”

Have a great trip!

PS: For ramen, just go to Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo station. Lots of choices and you can do an “uni” bang at the Tokyo station Riccio Mania, which @Google_Gourmet visited (not sure which of 2 branches GG went to), ramen bang#1 and ramen bang#2 at the various Ramen Street vendors.

Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo station:
https://yelp.to/qTKq/DusVY71f3N
Riccio Mania Kitchen in Tokyo station (uni and fast casual Italian): https://yelp.to/qTKq/3Xue0ieg3N

Since you’re staying in Shibuya, you may as well try Ichiran Shibuya. Cheap and open 24 hours. https://yelp.to/qTKq/7ZEUvosg3N


#19

Tsuta Michelin ramen was insane guys


#20

Could you send me the same message? I’m looking for food picks too for my upcoming trips to Japan!


#21

Just got back going to do a full post soon, epic trip of eating