Looking to stay on the cutting edge of food and drink trends in Tokyo? Sure, keeping track of all the new restaurants, bars, shops and stands opening across the city every month can feel exhausting and almost hopeless – but that's where we come in. Sparing you the trouble of wading through long lists of shiny promotional pics and hollow praise, we've compiled a handy list of the top five spots to start business this month. Check out our editorial team's picks below, and make sure to leave a comment if you think we missed something.
Artist and interior designer Shun Kawakami of Artless Inc takes his minimalist game into the brew business with this coffee and tea stand in the backstreets of Harajuku. Decorated with tea utensils and tableware from the designer's own collection, the shop also serves as Kawakami's office (!) and a community space open to all comers. The single-origin beans come courtesy of coffee authority Kentaro Maruyama himself, the organic tea is supplied by small-scale farmers, while the edibles are the work of the owner's wife. Any more homely and you'd be sitting in the Kawakamis' living room.
2) Clarke Quay
Operated by Ebisu's Singaporean favourite Sin Tong Kee, this flashy new joint may be found smack in the middle of Otemachi's office building wasteland, but should not be discounted if you're looking for quality grub from the Lion City. Borrowing the name of a super-popular, refurbished riverside development of old warehouses that consists almost exclusively of bars and restaurants, Clarke Quay serves up amply seasoned and aromatic grub that ranges from mud crab and chicken rice to shark fin soup.
3) Garb Central
Built on the site of the old Akasaka Grand Prince Hotel, the long-awaited Garden Terrace complex in Kioicho is home to several noteworthy eateries, including this casual ground-floor spot boasting a spacious terrace and a very reasonably priced, Mediterranean-inspired fusion menu. It's run by industry impresarios Balnibarbi, who operate an enviable selection of restaurants in both Tokyo and Osaka.
4) Cafe Habana
Opened in April in the space vacated by Air, new Daikanyama club Sankeys should get a nice boost in business on May 28, when this New York-born Cuban eatery sets up shop in the same building. Pre-funking partiers can chow down on extra-messy but oh-so-delicious Mexican-style grilled corn cobs and hearty Cuban sandwiches, while the lunch crowd can look forward to somewhat lighter but still meaty fare.
Recognisable for its cutesy pig logo and drool-inducing pub grub offerings, Craft Beer Tap already operates bars in Shinjuku and Akihabara, but now expands its operation with this outpost. Perched high above the streets of Ginza, on the 11th floor of the Marronnier Gate complex, it's set to serve up over 50 different brews, including some import varieties available nowhere else in Japan.