Olive Magazine
Tokyo Restaurants and Where To Eat in Tokyo Japan

Tokyo, Japan foodie guide: where to eat and drink

Published: September 14, 2016 at 8:41 am

Take a food tour around Japan’s capital and discover super-fresh sushi, cocktails made with local passion fruit and octopus with taro and pumpkin

Here are the best places to eat and drink in Tokyo, Japan, from the best ramen to fresh sushi and local fish markets...


Kyubey – for sushi

There are few more high-quality settings in which to eat sushi in Tokyo than family-run Kyubey in Ginza. This four-storey restaurant has an array of traditional spaces, from tatami rooms to counters. A highlight is the ground-floor counter where chefs rustle up haiku-inspiringly perfect sushi. Try the meltingly soft seared chutoro. kyubey.jp

Maisen – for Tonkotsu

It’s all about tonkatsu – breaded pork cutlets – at Maisen. Housed in a converted public bathhouse on a quiet backstreet near fashionable Omotesando boulevard, the signature pork and delicious in-house sauce have made this place a cult favourite – as reflected in the queues. Buy a bottle of the restaurant’s rich, sweet brown sauce to take home with you. mai-sen.com

Tsukiji fish market – for fresh fish

With its endless rows of maritime creatures and early morning tuna auction, atmospheric Tsukiji fish market is not only the world’s biggest seafood wholesale market but also a must-visit. The market is (controversially) moving to a new location in November, so try to sneak in a final pre-dawn visit (and deliciously fresh sushi breakfast) before it shifts further out of town. tsukiji-market.or.jp

Tsuta – for ramen

It might have a nondescript façade and a nine-seat counter but Tsuta is Japan’s first Michelin-starred ramen oulet. Chef Yuki Onishi creates rich, warm and delicately balanced shoyu soba, flavoured with black truffle oil, plus rock salt shio soba. The downside? Diners must queue before 9am for a deposit ticket – before queuing again at a designated lunchtime slot. For ramen pilgrims, however, it’s worth it. facebook.com/jsn.tsuta

Gen Yamamoto – for cocktails

For a taste of Japan’s passion for precision, craftsmanship and innovation in a single glass, head to Gen Yamamoto. At this small bar in Azabu-Juban the cocktail tasting menu is served at an oak counter and is inspired by the seasons using ingredients such as Okinawan passion fruit, Hokkaidan grapes or sweet potato shochu from Kagoshima. genyamamoto.jp

Maru – for kaiseki cuisine

For a contemporary take on Kyoto’s traditional kaiseki banquet cuisine, head to the Aoyama or Ginza branches of Maru. Both restaurants excel at serving exquisitely prepared seasonal Japanese food with a contemporary twist. The set menus change monthly, with dishes ranging from simmered octopus, taro and pumpkin, to deep-fried pike eel with aubergine and ginger soy sauce, to sashimi and delicious clay pot-cooked rice. maru-mayfont.jp

Nihonbashi Dashi Bar – for dashi

Forget a latte to go. For the ultimate Japanese takeaway experience, head to Nihonbashi Dashi Bar for a cup of dashi – the soup stock made from dried fish flakes or seaweed, which forms the basis of most Japanese dishes. The bar offers a range of dashi including one made with katsuobushi dried fish flakes from Ninben, a 400-year-old local company. ninben.jp

Food Sake Tokyo – for a foodie tour of Tokyo

Colourful, bustling and invariably appetite-inducing, Japan’s department store basement food halls – or depachika – are a must-visit. From endless rows of exquisitely crafted traditional sweets to the meticulously courteous staff, they are perfect for souvenir shopping (and snacking). Food Sake Tokyo offers insider culinary tours across Tokyo, including visits to depachika. foodsaketokyo.com

Tskukiji Soba Academy – for a Japanese cookery lesson

Enrol at Tsukiji Soba Academy and learn how to make traditional Japanese buckwheat soba noodles from scratch. In half-day classes, chef Akila Inouye guides beginners through the world of Japanese noodle-making – from dough temperatures to the exact width of each noodle – before everyone sits down to eat the results. soba.specialist.co.jp

Bear Pond Espresso – for coffee

It’s all about coffee in 21st-century Tokyo, a city fully embracing the so-called third wave artisanal coffee boom. One local spot that has acquired near cult-like status is Bear Pond Espresso, a café in the bohemian Shimokitazawa district. Here, the owner Katsuyuki Tanaka whips up the city’s tastiest espressos. bear-pond.com

Where to stay in Tokyo

Double rooms at Park Hotel Tokyo start from around £145, room-only (en.parkhoteltokyo.com).

How to get to Tokyo
Return flights from London to Tokyo start from £526 (ana.co.jp).

Trust olive Danielle Demetriou is a food and lifestyle writer who has lived in Tokyo since 2007. danielledemetriou.com


Photographs: Getty, Richard Taylor/4 Corners

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