Restaurants, Japanese Takadanobaba

Located down a side street off Waseda-dori, approximately a five-minute walk from Takadonobaba in the direction of Waseda, Aikawa are only open for lunch and can accommodate a grand total of eight customers at a time. They specialise in eel, with the most popular dish being their unaju, which comes in six different sizes. These are ranked with a system that uses the Japanese words matsu (pine), take (bamboo), ume (plum), kiku (chrysanthemum), aoi (mallow), tsuru (crane) and kame (turtle). As you move up the scale, from matsu to kame, the size of the eel increases, with tsuru and kame both including two whole eels. When ordering, opt for the katayaki – for an extra ¥110, the chefs will grill your eels using a special method that gives them an extra firm texture. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that these katayaki eels are burnt, but appearences can be deceiving: rather than tasting bitter, this process makes them more aromatic and gives them a crispier skin and a lighter, more delicate centre. Aikawa's sauce has a sweet yet clean flavour and the rice is of good, firm consistency. For a little something different, try grilled eel liver or an eel bone senbei (rice cracker).


Venue name: Aikawa
Address: 1-17-22 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku

Opening hours: 11.30am-1.30pm / closed Mon-Wed
Transport: Takadanobaba Station (Yamanote, Tozai, Seibu Shinjuku lines)
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