Hello, I’ll be visiting Tokyo for 2 weeks later this year. I’d like to have some Kaiseki while I’m there. Based on what I read, I came up with a few options and would appreciate any help in refining the list. A couple of important points:
I’ll also be spending about a week each in Kyoto & Osaka so if there are places there that I should go to instead of Tokyo, I can do that.
I usually prefer relatively stronger flavors compared to very mild, delicate flavors. I read in a few places that even though Kyoto is known for Kaiseki, a lot of places there tend to have muted flavors.
I was thinking maybe 4-5 places total across Tokyo, Osaka & Kyoto but I’m flexible on that. Maybe 1 meal in the ~50k range and the rest lower than that?
Kimoto: This seems very expensive
Goryukubo: This seems very expensive
Other places that came up in my research include Kakiden, Kadowaki, Ichita, Kasumicho Yamagami, Saryo Miyasaka, etc.
I had a service disaster at Ichita in February. Food was super legit but I’d have a hard time recommending it to anybody. At one point we waited 45 minutes between courses. Granted, we were in a back room, but still, can’t be worth the risk
My top suggestion in Tokyo is Ryugin. Bold flavors for sure. Bold everything.
For more traditional but still somewhat bold, try Kanda. Love their wine pairings.
On your list, the only names I remember are Ishikawa and Kohaku. I would go to Ishikawa if you are interested in the connection to Hayato (whose chef trained in the back there). I’ve always found it on the light and delicate side, even though some sources have called Chef Ishikawa inventive. My recollection is the chef at Kohaku trained at Ishikawa, and it is somewhat similar. I would suggest Ishikawa of those two.
Kimoto - very difficult reservations from what I observed on Omakase
Myoujaku - very difficult reservations from what I observed on Omakase
Suetomi - are you talking about the guy who used to run Kasumicho Suetomi? Or somewhere else? If it’s the Suetomi on Tableall but I’m skeptical this can be booked. When I first heard of it, it was basically only his old regulars. Maybe they’ve opened it up to regular public too. Either way, if it is the Suetomi I’m thinking of then the price is very very high too; which you’ve also raised for Kimoto and Goryu.
Shinohara - very difficult reservation but apparently possible for a non-regular; probably requires a lot of advanced planning
Happy to be corrected by others but those 4 restaurants are, in my book at least, closer to pie in the sky these days vs. actually bookable. Good luck on your planning.
Oh and yes, Kohaku worked at Ishikawa before starting his own place and I’m fairly certain they are an affiliated restaurant (based on what you see on websites and listed contact numbers for both restaurants).