If you've got a big appetite, Tokyo is a great place to take advantage of some generous food and drink deals. Aside from hotel buffets, the city has a host of restaurants and bars offering all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) and/or all-you-can-drink (nomihodai) menus. Think your stomach can handle it? Here are our top picks for great-value gluttony, which are all perfect for group dining. Just be sure not to overdo it...
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Maguro lovers get precisely 50 minutes to feast to their heart’s content at Taiko Chaya’s sumptuous tuna spread. Aside from bottomless tuna sashimi, you can also make a dent in a mountain of negi toro (minced tuna with green onion), marinated tuna and – for a little variety – non-tuna items such as shrimp, mentaiko mayo (cod roe with mayonnaise), shirasu (whitebait) and some veggies. Both plain white rice and sushi rice are served – though we’d stay off the carbs to get more bang for your buck.
To enjoy the ¥1,500 buffet, line up for a ticket before the opening time (from 10am). Otherwise, you can reserve a guaranteed seat for ¥1,700 per person. While the buffet is only available at lunch, there’s still plenty of tuna on the a la carte menu come dinner, along with a live show where a tuna from Toyosu market is cut and its parts are auctioned off to be eaten then and there.
This affable standing bar offers a number of bottomless booze options: pick from a worryingly binge-happy 30-minute (¥1,000), 90-minute (¥2,000) or unlimited session (¥3,000); there’s also a weekend-only lunchtime session for ¥2,000.
It’s a self-service bar so you can help yourself to over 100 types of sake, as well as beer, umeshu and soft drinks from the fridge. While there’s a small food menu, you are encouraged to bring your own grub or order delivery to the venue. Crockery, cutlery and a microwave are available as are menus from nearby restaurants which deliver.
Dedicated carnivores should make a beeline to this smart, modern Aoyama yakiniku haunt, where you can have a wallet-friendly but still belly-busting and protein-packed Japanese barbecue at any time of day. Lunch will only set you back ¥1,200 (¥1,300 for men) while dinner is a mere ¥1,500 (¥1,980 for men).
Both come with bottomless salad, kimchi and soup – although you’re not here for the sides. It’s all about the meat – pork, beef, chicken and sausages – which comes either lightly salted or marinated like the spicy kalbi beef. For an additional indulgence, an all-you-can-drink option can also be added for an extra ¥1,000 to ¥1,500; it includes soft drinks, beer, wine and your usual Japanese bar staples such as highballs and sours. And there’s good news if you’re going from Fujiya to a place where you’ll be in close proximity to other people: the powerful ventilation fans hanging over each grill ensure you won’t leave smelling like your meal.
Take a step back in time at the nostalgic Dagashi Bar, where you can enjoy all sorts of old-school Japanese snacks and sweets over a few drinks. The formula is simple: pay ¥500 table charge, order a drink and a food item from the menu, and help yourself to the all-you-can-snack selection which includes candies, crackers and cookies.
It’s a great place to sample unusual Japanese treats, but you can’t take them home so you’ll have to fully indulge at the bar. The cheapest drink on the menu is the ¥450 lemon sour or highball, or the ¥580 beer. The food menu, on the other hand, offers an assortment of izakaya staples like yakisoba (fried noodles) and takoyaki (grilled balls of dough filled with octopus) as well as desserts such as fried Oreos, ice cream parfaits and agepan (deep-fried bread) for less than ¥1,000 an order. The ¥2,500 all-you-can-drink deal offers two hours of drinking and, of course, the dagashi sweets bar.
Health-conscious diners will want to make a beeline for Crayon House Hiroba for its buffet. The multi-level, multi-hyphenate Crayon House – it’s a shop/grocer and a healthy-eating restaurant – cooks up organic Japansese- and western-style dishes and serves them up in the basement cafeteria. The lunch buffet is ¥1,528 (children 7-12 years old ¥1,320, 2-6 years old ¥660) while dinner is ¥2,750 (children 7-12 years old ¥1,375, 2-6 years old ¥770) – and you can fill up your plate as many times as you wish.
Take your pick from a selection including salads, pasta, meat and cooked vegetables, and dine indoors or alfresco. Each dish comes with dietary information on whether it contains meat, gluten, soy and/or any other allergens. Mondays are vegetarian nights while the 10th, 20th and 30th of every month are gluten-free nights.
This free-flowing Italian wine bar is the ideal place to guzzle down a few glasses of vino from a dizzyingly large selection of reds and whites, as well as sangria, wine cocktails and bubblies.
It’s all so easy here: make a beeline for the chandelier of wine glasses and below it you’ll find shelf after shelf of bottles separated by chilled and unchilled varieties, which you can pour at your leisure. If you’re feeling peckish, Esola cooks up some hearty fare that pairs well with wine, such as grilled steaks, pasta and cheese platters; don’t miss out on the addictive French fries slathered with anchovy butter.
The all-you-can-drink wine deal is priced at ¥1,490 for two hours, or spend an extra ¥500 to imbibe at a more civilised pace. For greater variety, an option including beer and highballs is available at ¥1,990 for two hours or ¥2,490 with no time limit.
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