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The best restaurants: Tokyo top 100

Feast your eyes on the best restaurants in Tokyo, and get ready for the culinary adventure of a lifetime

Seasonal seafood art at Suzuki, one of the 100 best restaurants in Tokyo

Setting the criteria for our first list of the 100 best restaurants in Tokyo was the easy bit. Anywhere we felt compelled to revisit again and again was instantly in. The Time Out team visited the newest joints in town and revisited the greats, so we knew which restaurants truly deserve their place in our list. 

We’re excited to give you Tokyo’s top 100 restaurants, presented in no particular order. In the list below – surely the ultimate guide to the best restaurants in the city – you’ll find it all: the best new openings, classic cheap eats, Michelin-starred establishments with starched linen napkins, vending machine ramen joints, smoky yakitori haunts, family-run izakayas…

What they all have in common is that they serve some of the best dishes in Tokyo for any budget, with service befitting the setting. In short, if you’re looking for a great meal, you’ve come to the right place.

Reviews by Matthew Lee, Sarah Crago, Dana Macalanda, Carol Akiyama, Yasuhisa Shimbo and Mayumi Koyama

Photography by Keisuke Tanigawa, Kisa Toyoshima, Yasuhisa Shimbo and Manabu Morooka

100 best restaurants team: Mayumi Koyama, Yasuhisa Shimbo, Satomi Saruwatari and Ili Saarinen. Supervised by Yumiko Inukai

100 best restaurants in Tokyo: 1-20

1

Sekihotei

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

A meal prepared by Shinichi Akatsuka is a rare treat. The bespectacled, softly spoken chef is one of the city’s finest practitioners of kaiseki – Japanese haute cuisine with a focus on artful, seasonal, ceremonial and perfectly balanced food. His tranquil Gaienmae restaurant, which opened 12 years ago and now boasts two Michelin stars, offers the ideal setting for such beautiful fare...

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Harajuku
2

Ohara

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

Nobody can dispute Chef Ohara’s dedication to his craft. At six each morning the eponymous chef is at Tsukiji fish market, selecting the freshest of the day’s catch. And at midnight he’s still giving it his all, preparing his cozy, functional, Michelin-starred 12-seater Arakicho restaurant for the following day’s shift. In between, a lucky dozen customers get to experience some of Tokyo’s finest kaiseki...

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Yotsuya-Sanchome
3

Suzuki

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

At this Shintomicho gem, you're in for delicate and colourful meals prepared by an itamae with 15 years of experience in New York City. Easy on the eye, uncompromisingly seasonal and ambitiously out-there in terms of flavours, chef Suzuki's cuisine feels almost underpriced...

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Shintomicho
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4

Haramasa

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

So many of Tokyo’s top Japanese restaurants have minimal and modest décor. To the uninitiated, especially those accustomed to glitzy high-end establishments in the West, it can seem strange to spend top yen to sit on a stool in what resembles a cramped (if freakishly tidy) living room. But when you eat Shotaro Hara’s hassun, a mixed platter typically served as the second course in a kaiseki meal, you’ll understand why tablecloths and fancy furniture are entirely unnecessary...

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Akebonobashi
5

Ryugin

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

Experimental chef Seiji Yamamoto has put modern Japanese cuisine on the map with his three-Michelin-star restaurant. Hailed as Japan’s leading molecular gastronomist, Yamamoto applies cutting-edge technology to the tradition of kaiseki ryori, which involves a theatrical series of small courses...

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Roppongi
6

Sushi & Vege Japanese Cuisine Aoki Ginza

Genre: Sushi

There aren't many sushi shops that boast their own in-house 'vegetable sommelier', but Aoki doesn't aspire to be ordinary. This upmarket representative of the Gatten culinary empire serves up high quality sushi in a location just a few minutes' walk from Ginza Station, and has enough seating to accommodate large parties...

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Ginza
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7

Sushi Sho

Genre: Sushi

Not Jiro, not Saito, but Sho – quite a few of Tokyo's high-end sushi connoisseurs swear by this small miracle in Yotsuya, which has fostered a veritable legion of famed itamae over the years while remaining firmly at the pinnacle of the sushi world. And even the 2015 departure of semi-legendary 'master' Keiji Nakazawa for Hawaii doesn't seem to have had any effect...

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Yotsuya
8

Miyazono

Genre: Sushi

Chef Miyazono barely has time to dream of sushi. On most nights the final customers to leave his restaurant don’t get out till 4am, and then he’s got an hour of cleaning before he heads straight to Tsukiji to shop for the following shift. He sleeps, briefly, and returns to his counter a little after noon...

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Nishi-Azabu
9

Masuda

Genre: Sushi

Thanks to Jiro Dreams of Sushi and a visit from President Obama, Sukiyabashi Jiro has become one of those places that's near impossible to get a reservation for. Chef Rei Masuda worked as an apprentice at Jiro for nine years before opening his own restaurant, Masuda, in January 2014. Even though his restaurant is called an alternative to Jiro, there are several key aspects that set it apart...

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Aoyama
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10

Sushi Syo

Genre: Sushi

There’s quality sushi to be had even deep in residential Setagaya, more than an hour by train from Tsukiji fish market. A casual standing-only spot found along a busy shopping street near Kyodo Station, Syo maintains its popularity among the locals with a simple recipe: fresh, quality fish at extremely reasonable prices...

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Kyodo
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100 best restaurants in Tokyo: 21-40

21

Kamata

Genre: Oden

Located smack in the heart of the well-travelled salaryman bar-hopping circuit, Kamata offers a healthy antidote to all that drinking – hearty, healthy traditional Japanese cooking with plenty of character. It’s the most unpretentious of settings, with laminated menus, TVs tuned to game shows, and towel warming machines plastered with stickers for Yebisu beer...

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Shinbashi
22

Ajifuku Asano

Genre: Oden

Home to numerous embassies, Hiroo counts among Tokyo's best neighbourhoods for dining out. In addition to an international range of restaurants, the area boasts some of the city's finest purveyors of old-school, down-to-earth Japanese home cooking. One of these standouts is the humble Asano, hidden away from the action just off the main shopping arcade...

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Hiroo
23

Chanko Kuroshio

Genre: Nabe

Chanko nabe is the protein-rich hotpot dish eaten by sumo wrestlers to build up their massive bodies, and there’s no better way to enjoy this traditional favourite than by having it cooked by a former wrestler. Koto Kuroshio is still a larger-than-life character, despite having shed plenty of weight since his active years, and welcomes all comers to his Kagurazaka restaurant...

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Kagurazaka
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24

Mizutaki Genkai

Genre: Nabe

This Shinjuku hotbed of chicken hotpot must be one of Tokyo’s largest restaurants, with nine private rooms spread over its three elegantly appointed floors. The business has a long and proud history, and photographs of the original restaurant, opened in 1928, appear on its walls. The innovative team at Genkai moves with the times, yet some of its recipes have barely changed over the decades...

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Shinjuku-Sanchome
25

Echikatsu

Genre: Sukiyaki

Arriving at the gates of Echikatsu, found just a short walk from Yushima Station, is like going back to another time. Established in 1871 and now run by the sixth generation of the same family, the tradition and authenticity of this restaurant have definitely been preserved. Although re-built and restored several times over the years, its building is a symbol of Japanese beauty and simplicity, and looks – we imagine – just like the original...

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Yushima
26

Kobori

Genre: Sukiyaki

Since most diners at Akasaka's Kobori are regulars, entering this hot pot palace might seem a bit intimidating at first. But once inside, you're sure to shake off any apprehension: it's a homely, relaxing space with simple furniture and and a friendly, jovial hostess. To start things off, she'll bring you a platter of seafood bought the same morning...

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Akasaka
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27

Honmura An

Genre: Soba

Manhattan’s loss is Tokyo’s gain. When Honmura An owner Koichi Kobari announced he was quitting New York to take over the reins at his late father’s Roppongi eatery in 2007, American fans of soba went into mourning. Even today, several years later, Kobari gets pilgrim New Yorkers turn up at his Tokyo restaurant desperate for a noodle fix (among them, he whispers, is Yoko Ono). It’s not hard to see why Honmura An has found success on two continents...

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Roppongi
28

Kanda Matsuya

Genre: Soba

Along with nearby Yabu Soba, Matsuya counts among Tokyo's most venerable noodle joints – it's been in business since 1884, and the current, gorgeously preserved building dates back to 1924. But well over a century of history doesn't translate to a stuck-up attitude here: on the contrary, Matsuya is a wonderfully down-to-earth place...

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Awajicho
29

Osakaya Sunaba Honten

Genre: Soba

Buckwheat is harvested in both summer and autumn, but it's the latter season that produces the most aromatic grain. This venerable soba joint has served eager slurpers since 1872 and continues to wow both with its noodles and the seasonal tempura used for toppings...

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Toranomon
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30

Oniyanma

Genre: Udon

Get your udon fix early in the morning, really late at night or any time in between at Gotanda's standing-only shrine to noodles. Found right outside the station, this rough-and-ready joint serves up bowls from as low as ¥300, and attracts queues every single day at lunchtime...

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Gotanda
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100 best restaurants in Tokyo: 41-60

41

Konjiki Hototogisu

Genre: Ramen

You certainly wouldn't go to this rough-and-ready noodle joint for the ambience, but if Hototogisu's decor – crudely painted black walls and an L-shaped counter – leaves much to be desired, the food is spot-on. The secret of its ramen lies in the balance between the pork and seafood stock, which really lets the flavour of the shellfish come through...

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Hatagaya
42

Shunkoutei

Genre: Yoshoku

A Mejiro shopping mall is the modest setting for one of the city’s top exponents of yoshoku, the Japanese interpretation of ‘Western’ food, which over the decades has become part of the national cuisine in its own right. Yoshoku dates back to the Meiji era, when Japan first opened up to the world, and Shunkoutei doesn’t stray too far from the tried-and-tested, meat-heavy formula...

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Mejiro
43

Toyoken

Genre: Yoshoku

Currently based in Mie prefecture, yoshoku pioneer Toyoken was originally established back in 1889, at a time when Japan was slowly starting to embrace Western culinary ways. Having moved around several times in its illustrious history, it's now watched over by celebrity chef Yoshihiro Narisawa and occupies a posh Akasaka space that opened in 2014. The main attraction here is the meat-heavy menu...

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Akasaka
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44

Rengatei

Genre: Yoshoku

Rengatei sits quietly on gas-lit Ginza-dori, and has served traditional fare since 1895. At lunchtime, the place is packed with customers spilling out on to the street. This restaurant is believed to be one of the first in Japan to serve a Western-style menu; rice was first served on a plate here in the early Meiji era...

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Ginza
45

Shiseido Parlour Ginza

Genre: Yoshoku

Founded in 1902, Shiseido Parlour is a pioneer of Japanese-style 'Western' cuisine (yoshoku), i.e. omu-rice, croquettes and the like. At the restaurant, one menu item sure to raise eyebrows is a course featuring curry rice topped off with lobster and abalone, which includes the chef flambéing them at your table. Meanwhile, the third-floor café specialises in sweet treats like old-school ice cream soda...

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Ginza
46

Land

Genre: Curry

Land is a small Meguro restaurant with a big ambition – to reinvent the Japanese curry. Mr Naito, the bearded, bespectacled chef-owner whose bicycle hangs from the wall by the entrance, says he wants to make Japanese curry as distinctive and highly regarded as its Indian or Thai equivalents...

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Meguro
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47

Ethiopia

Genre: Curry

This small, slightly run down eatery gets its name from the Ethiopian coffee loved by one of its previous owners. The current menu is far less exotic, consisting mainly of curries served with a boiled potato and butter. The veggie-based servings are what they do best...

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Jinbocho
48

Spoon

Genre: Curry

Curry is the embodiment of home cooking in Japan, while French cuisine is considered the epitome of fine dining. The two worlds don’t meet very often, but Spoon’s exceptional French curry is a surprising bridge between both cultures and culinary experiences...

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Nishi-Ogikubo
49

Rojiura Curry Samurai

Genre: Curry

This Sapporo-born soup curry juggernaut entices Tokyoites with its famed golden soup, ample quantities of Hokkaido veg and brand rice from the cold north. No additives are used, and the soup comes in four different varieties that can be further customised for spiciness. The topping selection is also plentiful...

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Shimokitazawa
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50

Ponchi-ken

Genre: Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu ranks high on the list of Japanese soul food – even though it originated as an imitation of European staples like schnitzel after the end of the Edo era, when the new Meiji government opened the nation to the world. The humble cutlet has undergone plenty of evolution since those days, culminating in the 2015 awarding of the first Michelin star to a tonkatsu-only restaurant...

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Ochanomizu
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100 best restaurants in Tokyo: 61-80

61

King George

Genre: Sandwiches

A store of two halves, during the day King George is a sandwich shop where the focus is on simple, healthy snacks and drinks, while at night it becomes a cocktail bar – and with the owner a former mixer for Moët, you can expect some quality blends. His skills even seep out into the daylight hours, when the iced coffee is shaken, not stirred...

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Daikanyama
62

Parlour Ekoda

Genre: Sandwiches

It isn’t easy to find, but this tiny European-style bakery and café is well worth looking for. The excellent bread is reason enough to stop by, with up to a dozen kinds, including raisin bread, whole wheat toast and quiche, on offer every day, but the main attraction has to be the superb sandwich menu...

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Ekoda
63

Carneya Sanoman's Purveyors

Genre: Steak

Opened at the tail end of 2015 to great acclaim, this Nishi-Azabu steakhouse offers quality Japanese meat (sourced from the owner’s pre-existing butcher’s shop) alongside a few Italian trattoria staples. The wine list is focused on Italy, there’s a short but sweet pasta menu, and the appetiser list features beef carpaccio and a caprese salad. While the Italian cooking is impressive, most people come here for the meat...

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Nishi-Azabu
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64

Hugo Desnoyer

Genre: Steak

When Paris’s best-known butcher decided to expand his restaurant chain beyond France, he knew exactly where to head. Judging by the long waiting lists for reservations, Ebisu was the perfect location for Hugo Desnoyer’s temple for meat worship, and Tokyo’s well-heeled carnivores can’t get enough of it...

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Daikanyama
65

Nakasei Uchi

Genre: Steak

Enter through the butcher shop – what a brilliant concept for a steakhouse. Nakasei is, above all, a purveyor of the finest quality aged Tajima beef: they welcome a new cow every couple of weeks, butcher the poor thing and hang its meat to dry anywhere from six weeks to six months, depending on the part. At the butcher’s quarters – pristine, like a surgeon’s operating room – you can buy around 20 cuts...

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Bunkyo
66

Galeone

Genre: Italian

An enormous wood-fired oven takes centre stage at this popular Meguro eatery. From its fiery interior emerge note-perfect pizzas: thin, light and crispy bases topped with fresh tomato paste, bubbling mozzarella, a drizzle of quality olive oil and a smattering of basil leaves. It’s tasty stuff, and it comes as no surprise that the chef trained in Naples...

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Jiyugaoka
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67

Da Isa

Genre: Pizza

It's a rare day when there isn't a line on the pavement outside this Nakameguro pizza restaurant, which has been luring diners from all over Tokyo since it opened in early 2010. Pizzaiolo Hisanori Yamamoto picked up a string of trophies in Naples on his way to opening his own shop – and that seems to be where he got his sense of aesthetics too...

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Nakameguro
68

Seirinkan

Genre: Pizza

Susumu Kakinuma was churning out perfect margheritas and marinaras long before Tokyo's current pizza boom started. The middle-aged chef spent a year eating his way around Italy's best pizzerias before returning to Tokyo and opening one of his own. That shop, Savoy, lasted a decade and spawned a couple of sister branches before Kakinuma closed it and transformed it into Seirinkan...

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Nakameguro
69

Pizzeria da Peppe Napoli Sta' Ca"

Genre: Pizza

Naples native Peppe Erricchiello has been making pizzas professionally since he was 12, which gives him a significant edge over even Japan's most veteran pizzaioli. Based in Tokyo since 2006, he worked the ovens at Shinjuku's Spacca Napoli and Komazawa-Daigaku's La Bicocca on the way to opening his own restaurant in Kamiyacho at the end of 2011...

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Komazawa-Daigaku
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70

Falò

Genre: Italian

In a cave beneath the streets of leafy, upmarket Daikanyama, chef Noritaka Kashimura is doing something rather special. Falò is a smart, hip space with an izakaya-like vibe, and the Italian cooking is unique and often brilliant. Under an uneven chipboard ceiling, Kashimura and his team perform in the round, preparing meat and pasta dishes in full view of the counter-seated customers – and to a rousing ’80s rock soundtrack...

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Daikanyama
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100 best restaurants in Tokyo: 81-100

81

Gentil

Genre: French

Gentil is that rarest of things – an Alsatian restaurant. Nope, it’s not a particularly specialised dog café, but a homely brasserie serving the cuisine of Alsace, a region of northeast France bordering Germany and Switzerland. It’s entirely reasonable for customers to be confused (there are helpful maps on the tables) because it’s tricky enough to find Alsatian food in Paris, let alone Tokyo...

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Asakusabashi
82

Bistro de la Cité

Genre: French

This longstanding Nishi-Azabu brasserie could hardly be more Parisian. OK, you could dress the waiters in berets and cravats and get them to serenade every customer who walks through the door with Serge Gainsbourg’s ‘Je t'aime... moi non plus’, but by Tokyo standards the place does a pretty unbeatable impression of Paris circa 1967...

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Nishi-Azabu
83

Renge

Genre: Chinese

In upmarket Ginza, Renge occupies a small, unassuming space on the ninth floor: an open kitchen, counter seating and a few small tables. What’s not basic here is the food – perhaps just as Hidetoshi Nishioka intended, for his Shanghai-influenced tasting menu truly takes centre stage...

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Ginza
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84

Raika Seirankyo

Genre: Chinese

For high-end Chinese cuisine, look no further than Raika Seirankyo, an elegant Gaienmae restaurant led by one of the most experienced chefs in town. Shigeji Niiyama has been working with Chinese food – with an emphasis on Shanghai cuisine – for around 40 years, regularly visiting the country to fine-tune his expertise and keep up with the latest trends...

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Gaienmae
85

Noyashichi

Genre: Chinese

Shinya Yamamoto believes that a restaurant’s location must match its owner’s ambition, so his choice to forego trendier locales in favour of opening an upscale Chinese-Japanese fusion joint in Arakicho may raise eyebrows. But there’s a method behind the madness: a battleground where over 300 eateries vie for the hearts and stomachs of mainly older salarymen, this Shinjuku 'hood is perfect for really testing a chef's mettle...

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Yotsuya-Sanchome
86

Sanseitei

Genre: Chinese

One of the quirkier joints in a city full of eclectic eateries, Sanseitei deals in knife-cut wheat noodles, a regional speciality from northern China's Shanxi province. Served in a bamboo steamer, this dish looks like a bee's nest and is eaten with two sauces that couldn't be more different...

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Shin-Okubo
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87

Hashizume

Genre: Chinese

Quietly opened on a Hiroo back street in spring 2012, Hashizume is run by one of Tokyo's top noodle-making companies, which in turn serves many of the city's finest hotels and restaurants. The menu is changed daily, but the flawless, hand-kneaded Chinese-style noodles are always worth sampling...

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Hiroo
88

Aoya

Genre: Kyoto/Korean

There are few Tokyo lunch spots more tranquil than this wonderful eatery in a quiet corner of Nakameguro. And there are few better places to get healthy home cooking than a restaurant run by Yuki Aoyama, whose numerous cookbooks line the shelves by the entrance. Aoyama specialises in obanzai – Kyoto cuisine with an emphasis on balance, seasonality and sustainability – with a subtle Korean twist...

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Nakameguro
89

Akasaka Ichiryu Bekkan

Genre: Korean

Be it a cold, a hangover, or simply a hankering for quality Korean food in central Tokyo, this 24-hour Akasaka cornerstone is the go-to spot for locals and visitors alike. Surrounded by a slew of government buildings, embassies, as well as major temples and shrines, Ichiryu is the brainchild of Han Youngja. Long before Shin-Okubo became Koreatown, Han was working as a staff member at the South Korean embassy...

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Akasaka
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90

Thai-Koku Senmon Shokudo

Genre: Thai

Chef Nonaka spent six months travelling in Thailand ten years ago – and the trip changed his life. The self-taught chef is now committed to bringing authentic Thai cuisine to Tokyoites, and the food you’ll find here tastes much like what you’d find at any good Bangkok neighbourhood eatery...

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Shiba-Koen
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