Throughout the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, Japan, the world’s largest and most populated metropolis has plenty of food options to offer. While Tokyo offers a ton to see and do, most can agree that the main attractions are the restaurants and the main activity is eating as much as you can. Here are some of the top restaurants in Tokyo:
Looking to test out your cooking skills? Located in the Asakusa neighborhood, Sometaro Okonomiyaki provides a unique experience that allows visitors to make the food themselves. Plan to spend the average of 870 JPY or the equivalence of $8 USD on your meal. Okonomiyaki is a savory Japanese pancake that is made with tempura batter and a wide range of Japanese ingredients depending on what type you order. How it works is the waiter will bring you a bowl of the ingredients and a list of the instructions on how to cook it properly. The process begins with melting a butter-like substance onto the mini teppanyaki griddle before pouring the batter on in the shape of a pancake. ‘Experts’ recommend splitting the batter in half to allow for an easier flip while cooking. Once fully cooked, top with your choice and combination of teriyaki sauce, seaweed flakes and mayonnaise. Lastly, cut the okonomiyaki up like a pizza and feast on your creation! Take advantage of the free water located in the back of the restaurant. If your okonomiyaki ends up a flop, you will still enjoy the culinary adventure and experience. Sometaro Okonomiyaki was built to represent the Showa period with old posters on the wall and aged tatami flooring.
As part of the cultural experience, waiters will ask you to take off your shoes ahead of time. The restaurant has plastic bags at the entrance where you can store your shoes and bring them inside. Also, come dressed in layers as it can get hot around the sizzling griddles. The restaurant provides handheld fans if needed but best to have two hands for cooking your okonomiyaki. It is quite popular for tourists with having an English menu and most waiters knowing English as well. If you are seeking more of a local feel, this may not be the perfect place to dine. Quick note- If traveling throughout Japan, try okonomiyaki wherever you go and compare since each region adds their own spin on the popular dish.
Yakitori Ton Ton
Located within walking distance from Shimbashi Station, Yakitori Ton Ton can be a bit tricky to find. This local and lively hole-in-the-wall restaurant is located under the raised train tracks. When you see small tables stretching out to the walkway, smoke collecting up above from the sizzling grill and a crowd of salarymen clinking glasses and conversing, you are in the right place. Yakitori Ton Ton is a great place for those who enjoy eating meat on a stick and washing it down with a few beers on tap. This popular spot is a tiny one, holding only around 25 people, so don’t be too surprised if you are left waiting for a table. This restaurant is tourist-friendly with their English menu. Some menu items include skewers of meatballs, chicken, pork, green pepper, gizzard, and takowasabi, which is also known as diced octopus in wasabi. While waiting for your food, absorb the lively energy as you dine next to the many salary men and women celebrating a day complete of work. Don’t be surprised if you end up asking for a second serving!
Chuka Soba Inoue
If looking to experience some Japanese food on the street, Chuka Soba Inoue is a great place to start. Located in the superb atmosphere of the Tsukiji fish market, look for a stall along the busy sidewalk. Most likely it will have a really long line of hungry customers and a bunch of satisfied customers sipping their hot soup noodles at standing tables nearby. Here you might try some of the best ramen in all of Tokyo. At Chuka Soba Inoue they are known to serve classic bowls of ramen that come with a large pile of yellow ramen noodles, four slices of pork, and some garnish of leek and sprouts. Add a scoop of raw minced garlic on top and you have a full satisfying meal that’s going to cost you around 650 JPY or equivalent to $6.40 USD. Take note of this restaurant's limited hours from 5 am – 1:30 pm Monday through Saturday.
If feeling extra hungry head to Nabezo as it offers many all-you-can-eat-and-drink menu items. This restaurant is well known for having the best value of Japanese cuisine, featuring high quality pork and beef Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki. If you are not familiar with Sukiyaki, it is a popular dish where you lightly cook thin slices of roast beef or pork in a soy broth and then coat them with egg yolk for a creamy texture. Nabezo is a famous chain in Japan so you shouldn’t have trouble finding one close by. They have around 15 locations in Tokyo alone. The cheaper version of this meal will cost you around 1800 JPY, but if looking to treat yourself, definitely choose the 2800 JPY version that comes with premium quality Japanese Kuroge Wagyu, or black-haired beef, and Matsuzaka Pork.
Uoriki Kaisen Sushi
Of course your trip to Tokyo would not be complete without sushi. Uoriki Kaisen Sushi offers some of the best sushi in Tokyo. This tiny restaurant is a super local spot, tucked away in secrecy masked by a giant grocery store next to it. Enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth tuna and other seasonal ingredients at this unforgettable sushi spot. At this sushi restaurant in Tokyo they have the option of adding wasabi directly into your meal. It saves you the extra step and so you can just dip it in soy sauce and enjoy!
Be sure to reference this guide of where to eat in Tokyo on your next visit!
Post written by: Kirsten Cusack