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Best Restaurants in Tokyo

The 100 best restaurants in Tokyo you have to try

Feast your eyes on the best restaurants in Tokyo: from hearty cheap eats to modern Japanese cuisine and Michelin-starred stalwarts. Get ready for the culinary adventure of a lifetime

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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Setting the criteria for our 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, modern Japanese innovators, smoky yakitori haunts, family-run izakayas… But it's not all just Japanese food; we've also included cuisines which our local chefs have perfected and made unique, such as French-Japanese food and pizza (yes, really). 

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.

Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews restaurants here.

102. Ise Sueyoshi

Restaurants Japanese Nishi-Azabu

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

Kaiseki chef Yuki Tanaka has a bit of an extraordinary background: a vocational school graduate, he studied the secrets of Japanese cuisine during a four-year spell at the renowned Kikunoi in Kyoto. Tanaka then went on the road, visiting more than 15 countries while always carrying a bottle of soy sauce and some kelp with him. After returning to Japan, Tanaka headed back to his native Mie to form connections...

103. Sekihotei

Restaurants Japanese Harajuku
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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104. Ohara

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome
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...

105. Suzuki

Restaurants Japanese Shintomicho
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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106. Haramasa

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome

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...

107. Ryugin

Restaurants Japanese Hibiya

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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108. Tenoshima

Restaurants Japanese Akasaka

Genre: Kaiseki

Tenoshima is out to reimagine austere high-end kaiseki cuisine as something more casual while continuing to push the boundaries of creativity. The nine-course tasting menu, set at a reasonable ¥10,000, changes roughly every fortnight. It is a showcase for chef and owner Hayashi Ryohei to champion the local, indigenous and seasonal produce of Japan, which he sources directly from farmers and fishermen around the country. The dishes feature the flair and finesse of kaiseki but are not bound by its rules...

109. Nanzenji Hyotei

Restaurants Hibiya

Genre: Kaiseki

Synonymous with traditional Kyoto-style cuisine, Hyotei has an astonishing 450-year-long history in the ancient capital. The current owner and head chef is Yoshihiro Takahashi, who is the 15th generation in line, and the force behind this new branch at Tokyo Midtown Hibiya. This being downtown Hibiya, you may not expect the same tranquility you’d get at the original Hyotei, near the namesake Nanzenji Temple in eastern Kyoto. Yet they’ve done a great job at replicating the traditional calm...

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110. Arakicho Tatsuya

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome

Genre: Kaiseki

Chef Tatsuya Ishiyama has over a decade of experience at Kagurazaka’s two-Michelin-starred Ren, so it makes sense that Arakicho Tatsuya feels like an establishment with a much longer history. But Ishiyama only opened this one-man operation in late 2017. Arakicho Tatsuya is a kaiseki restaurant at heart, with all the trimmings to prove it: austere counter, gorgeous crockery and of course, sublime and beautiful food made from premium ingredients minimally tweaked to bring out the best possible flavour...

111. Kudan Otsuka

Restaurants Japanese Kudanshita

Genre: Kaiseki

Run by a charming husband-and-wife duo for the past eight years, Kudan Otsuka is classic kaiseki at its best. The quaint space is situated across the street from Yasukuni Shrine, whose calm surrounds extend into the restaurant. To keep things fresh, the menu changes monthly, highlighting seasonal ingredients in a traditional yet original way. Expect wow-inducing dishes featuring unique ingredients you may have never seen or tried before...

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112. Ao

Restaurants Yoyogi-Uehara

Genre: Kaiseki/kappo

There’s a lot to love about Ao. For starters, it manages to combine the casual vibe of an izakaya with the thoughtfulness of kaiseki cuisine. Don’t get us wrong – it’s never rowdy. Instead, it’s an unassuming little neighbourhood restaurant whose cosy, homely atmosphere belies its modern yet relaxed approach to Japanese food. It’s hard to pinpoint an overarching concept guiding the food, except that it’s based on fresh, seasonal Japanese ingredients, interpreted through techniques from other cuisines...

Terunari, kaiseki cuisine
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

113. Terunari

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome

Genre: Kaiseki

Terunari puts a creative spin on kaiseki by incorporating French influences that shine through in each and every dish. French- trained chef Kanichi Tokumoto runs the kitchen, working under chef Akihiko Murata of Terunari’s Michelin-starred sister restaurant Suzunari. Chef Tokumoto doesn’t stress over hyper-seasonality and instead works with whatever the kitchen is given, not necessarily just with what’s in season...

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114. Sushi Sho

Restaurants Sushi Yotsuya
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...

115. Miyazono

Restaurants Sushi Nishi-Azabu
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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116. Masuda

Restaurants Sushi Aoyama
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...

117. Shinpaku

Restaurants Sushi Hiroo

Genre: Sushi

At 33, Daiki Ishida owns and operates Shinpaku as a one-man show, but he’s passionate about the team of fishermen, processors and others running in the 'relay' that ultimately results in him handing a dish to a customer. Since 2014, Ishida has sought to reforge this often forgotten connection through education and phenomenal dining at his Hiroo restaurant...

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118. Ikina Sushidokoro Abe

Restaurants Sushi Toranomon

Genre: Sushi

It’s indisputable that sushi is phenomenal year-round, but nothing quite beats savouring the ocean’s gifts on a summer day. Case in point: a plump oyster gleaming with freshness and ponzu sauce over a bed of ice. Not only was Abe's version of it delectable, but a morsel that unexpectedly transported us straight to the coast...

119. Kondo

Restaurants Tempura Ginza

Genre: Tempura

At Kondo, the art of tempura approaches an exact science. That a deep-fried vegetable can taste so light and fresh seems impossible – so stark is the contrast between one's usual understanding of food cooked in grease and the lightly battered, sesame oil-kissed creations conjured up by chef Kondo. In fact, he refers to tempura as 'steamed cuisine', wrapping vegetables from all across Japan and ultra-fresh Tsukiji seafood into a gentle hull of batter...

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120. Motoyoshi

Restaurants Tempura Aoyama
Genre: Tempura

Deep-fried food often gets a bad rap. But Tokyo gourmands go crazy for tempura, and Kazuhito Motoyoshi’s dexterous, majestic technique demonstrates exactly why. Seating is limited to eight counter stools – snag one and you’ll be able to watch his every delicate, deliberate move up close, soundtracked by the swooshes and fizzles of brief rendezvous between vegetables and a deep-fryer...

121. Kaneko Hannosuke

Restaurants Tempura Nihonbashi

Genre: Tempura

How long would you wait for a good bowl of topped rice? An hour? More? We waited an hour and half on a Monday lunchtime in the queue that snaked outside this humble tendon specialist. If you’re lucky you’ll get one of the six counter seats on the ground floor, facing the chefs at work...

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122. Fukuan

Restaurants Japanese Monzen-Nakacho

Genre: Tempura

This tempura specialist, which opened in 2017, is run by Akihiko Nakajima, who is a former apprentice of Tetsuya Saotome (owner of Mikawa Zezankyo, who is often dubbed as the master of tempura). The restaurant was originally a popular lunchtime spot as it offered a rice bowl heaped with ten pieces of shrimp tempura for just ¥650.  As of summer 2018, Fukuan only serves a ¥3,500 dinner course for those eager to try a variety of seasonal tempura...

123. Ubuka

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome
Genre: Seafood

For fans of seafood, this tiny Arakicho restaurant has become a place of pilgrimage. It’s almost impossible to get a seat without booking months in advance, and that’s because Chef Kato – who regularly works 100+ hour weeks in his pursuit of perfection – does magical things with crabs and prawns...
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124. Kitafuku Ginza

Restaurants Japanese Ginza
Genre: Seafood

From the moment you remove your shoes to walk on the tatami mats to the moment you eat your final morsel of supple crabmeat, Kitafuku is an exhilarating experience. A meal lasts at least two hours, which is the minimum time necessary for a live king crab to be deshelled, systematically dismantled – leg by leg, claw by claw – and feasted upon having been prepared in various ways...

125. Izumoya

Restaurants Nihonbashi
Genre: Unagi

An incongruous sight amongst the glass-and-steel high-rises of Nihonbashi, the traditional two-storey building housing unagi specialist Izumoya seems to have somehow been shielded from the modern world. Run by the grandson of the original owner, Izumoya is a pocket of tradition and serenity – and, more importantly, a source of the highest quality eel-based meals in town...
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126. Nodaya

Restaurants Iriya
Genre: Unagi

Exclusive eels from Shizuoka are the name of the game at this venerable unagi specialist, in business since the year of the Meiji Restoration (1868). Nodaya's pride is the Kyosui Unagi, a type of brand eel raised for around two years (far longer than the usual six months) and said to be the closest thing to wild specimens...

127. Makino

Restaurants Japanese Ueno
Genre: Fugu

A cluster of food safety certificates on the walls should assuage the fears of even the most ardent fuguphobes – the blowfish at this Taito-ku restaurant, right in between Asakusa and Ueno, won’t kill you. Quite the contrary, in fact. After eating a mustard-flecked cube of wobbly nikogori, boiled fugu in its own jelly, you’ll have a spring in your step, and not only because you successfully ate the hardest food in the world to negotiate with chopsticks...
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128. Tamai

Restaurants Japanese Nihonbashi
Genre: Seafood

Conger eels can grow up to three metres long in the wild, but you'll only find them cut up and cooked at Tamai, a venerable eatery housed in a handsome wooden building that dates back to 1953...

129. Kamata

Restaurants Japanese Shinbashi

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...

130. Ajifuku Asano

Restaurants Japanese Hiroo
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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Chanko Kuroshio | Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

131. Chanko Kuroshio

Restaurants Hot pot Kagurazaka
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...

132. Mizutaki Genkai

Restaurants Japanese Shinjuku-Sanchome
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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133. Echikatsu

Restaurants Japanese Yushima
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...

134. Kobori

Restaurants Hot pot Akasaka
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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135. Negima

Restaurants Japanese Otsuka

Genre: Nabe

Commonly associated with sumo wrestlers looking to get a calorie-packed meal to bulk up for an upcoming match, and hungry diners seeking something warm during the cold months, nabe or Japanese-style hotpot also has a more refined side. Enter Negima, an unassuming restaurant in Kita-Ikebukuro, which specialises in Edo-style maguro (tuna) and negi (Welsh onion) nabe. Contrary to its big servings, the restaurant is tiny and only seats eight. Negima is inspired by nabe from the Edo era prior to the invention of refrigerators...

136. Honmura An

Restaurants Soba Roppongi
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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137. Kanda Matsuya

Restaurants Awajicho
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...

138. Osakaya Sunaba Honten

Restaurants Toranomon
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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Kyorakutei soba
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

139. Kyorakutei

Restaurants Japanese Iidabashi

Genre: Soba

Kyorakutei is a good place to get an education in soba. This old-school restaurant in the backstreets of Kagurazaka features a grinder in its storefront window, where the noodle master makes soba by hand. You’ll also get to compare the two different types of buckwheat noodles: the regular soba, which is made by cutting a small percentage of wheat flour, and the juwari soba that’s a craft by itself as it uses pure 100 percent buckwheat. Darker in colour compared to the regular soba, the juwari soba at Kyorakutei is one of the best we’ve had. The texture is firm with a bit of give, and it has a beautiful nuttiness that makes it delicious even on its own...

140. Oniyanma

Restaurants Sanuki udon Gotanda
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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141. Taniya

Restaurants Udon Ningyocho
Genre: Udon

Hailing from the 'udon prefecture' of Kagawa, the friendly Mr Tani operates this smallish but consistently excellent noodle shop in Ningyocho. Upon entering, you won't be able to miss the glass-encased udon-making area, where chefs can be seen pounding the noodles and carefully cutting them up, all by hand of course...
Shin Udon
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

142. Shin

Restaurants Sanuki udon Yoyogi

Genre: Udon

This little udon shop, with six seats at the counter and just two tables, serves freshly made noodles that go down nice and smooth, plus great side dishes like tempura and deep-fried tofu...  

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143. Nenotsu

Restaurants Udon Nezu

Genre: Udon

After years of travails at Ginza's now-closed Sakata, the owner of this udon joint opened his own shop on a Nezu backstreet and immediately hit it big: Nenotsu's chewy, elastic noodles and creative menu attract enough patrons for queues to form even on weekdays. We recommend the 'double udon' set, which consists of two ample noodle portions – one cold, one warm – but also like the quirky kama mentai butter, a variation on kamaage udon served with butter and marinated fish roe (mentaiko)...

144. Udon Onya

Restaurants Udon Gakugei-Daigaku

Genre: Udon

Only open five days a week during lunchtime, this udon joint close to Gakugei-Daigaku Station in Meguro can be real hard to get into – paying little heed to the listed business hours, the shop often runs out of noodles and closes long before 2pm. Prepare to queue up for a seat inside the small space, but once you get in, you'll be glad you did: the soft, aromatic noodles are served in a powerfully flavoured, sardine-based broth, making for a heavenly combination. The tempura, fried on order, also maintains excellent quality: we recommend the mochi and soft-boiled egg varieties...

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145. Tokoshima

Restaurants Yakitori Sangenjaya
Genre: Yakitori

‘The chicken, the whole chicken, and nothing but the chicken,’ could be the motto for this Sangenjaya poultry palace. Chef Tokoshima serves 20 different items of grilled chicken, from the standard – breast, wings, thigh – to the startling. Anyone for ovaries? If you do fancy one of the more unusual options (hearts, intestine cartilage), there’s little to worry about...

146. Torisawa

Restaurants Yakitori Kameido
Genre: Yakitori

Torisawa sees no need to bother with fancy furniture or decorative flair. All that matters is the charcoal grill, a focal point everything else here revolves around. The 25 to 30 menu items – a few vegetables accompany the chicken on the grill – are listed on wooden panels behind the chefs’ heads. Every skewer lifted from the grill is small but perfectly formed...
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147. Toritama

Restaurants Yakitori Shirokane
Genre: Yakitori

Situated directly under a highway overpass in Shirokane, Toritama doesn’t boast the most glamorous of locations. However, this has not stopped it from being awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand or from becoming one of the city’s hardest-to-book yakitori joints. In fact, there are now three Toritama branches in Tokyo, plus one each in Hong Kong and Singapore...

148. Yakitori Imai

Restaurants Yakitori Harajuku

Genre: Yakitori

Yakitori? It's cheap, dirty and needs to be washed down with copious amounts of ice cold beer, right? For the most part, that’s how it should be. However, if you're ready to try the refined side of the grill, then enter Yakitori Imai just off Gaien Nishi-dori north of Aoyama. Owner and grill master Takashi Imai opened his stylish thirty-seat, counter-style joint in November 2016...

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149. Sanshuya

Bars and pubs Izakaya Ginza
Genre: Izakaya

At the heart of ritzy Ginza is a time warp to a simpler – and considerably less swanky – Tokyo. A convivial izakaya, Sanshuya has been delivering satisfying and affordable dishes since 1968. By mid-afternoon each day it’s full of Tsukiji market workers catching up over a drink, and it stays busy till closing time with local office workers drawn to its reliably excellent food at surprisingly low prices...

150. Yamariki Honkan

Bars and pubs Izakaya Koto
Genre: Izakaya

Upon entering this 92-year-old establishment, you’re immediately smacked with the intense smell of beef stew, simmered for who knows how many hours. The recognisable ‘Yamariki aroma’ makes its presence felt on each of the three levels (and stairwell) of this shitamachi classic, where the speciality is, of course, nikomi. Cooked in a huge cauldron-like cask iron pot...
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151. Sangyodo

Restaurants Japanese Shibuya
Genre: Izakaya

Pretty much everything on the menu is worth sampling at this four-decade-old Shibuya seafood restaurant, but the buri-daikon – yellowtail and daikon stewed in soy sauce – is an undisputed classic...

152. Tsuta

Restaurants Ramen Yoyogi-Uehara
Genre: Ramen

The prize: a Michelin-starred meal for under ¥1,000. The catch: you have to get there before 8am on the same day to guarantee yourself one of the spaces at the counter. Is it worth it? Of course it is. In a city of thousands of ramen joints Tsuta is number one, and it’s got a gong sitting on top of a fridge to prove it...

153. Shibata

Restaurants Ramen Sengawa

Genre: Ramen

After completing his noodle apprenticeship at Kichijoji's now-closed Rakuraku, the owner here set up shop out in Chofu, serving his innovative chuka soba (¥750) to a steady stream of both locals and faraway visitors. The double soup here is made with duck and seafood, and seasoned to perfection with a punchy, soy sauce-based tare sauce. Toppings are kept simple – think chashu pork, menma and green onion – while the thin noodles are nicely firm and chewy. You'll be hard-pressed to find better shoyu ramen out in the western suburbs...

Ajito Ism
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

154. ajito ism

Restaurants Japanese Oimachi

Genre: Ramen

Whether noodles are a Chinese or Italian invention, it doesn’t matter at Ajito Ism: here, the ramen, which is Chinese in origin, has been reinvented with Italian flavours. In lesser hands, this would be a disaster, written off as another cringe-inducing Asian-Western fusion food gimmick. But the chef, who goes by the name Mr M, drew on his training in French and Italian cuisines to create a bowl that, while befuddling at first, turns out to be utterly delicious. The tsukemen (dipping) noodles are unmistakably ramen – thick, chewy and slightly doughy – but cooked al dente like the best of pasta. They are slicked with chilli and basil oil, garnished with specks of spring onions and fried shallots, and topped with baby spinach leaves, grated cheese and tomato cubes...

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155. Mensho

Restaurants Japanese Bunkyo

Genre: Ramen

The brainchild of chef Tomoharu Shono – who already has eight ramen restaurants in Tokyo and one in San Francisco – Mensho proclaims that it’s serving ‘a bowl for tomorrow’. It certainly is unlike any other ramen restaurant in the city. While ramen is traditionally a hearty soul food with a rich, gutsy soup, Mensho has taken all the best bits and crystallised them into a modern bowl that’s surprisingly clean and light yet still flavourful. The signature seafood ramen has a clear broth made with sea bream, scallops and sea salt, and is complemented by fare that looks like it’s been plucked from a modernist restaurant...

156. Nonokura

Restaurants Katsushika

Genre: Ramen

The area surrounding the JR Kameari Station is known for its high concentration of popular ramen restaurants, but the fact that Nonokura stands out despite being a newcomer is testament to its brilliance. It has been the talk of the town since opening in December 2017, and you can expect a long line during mealtimes. The ramen (which is sometimes also known as ‘chuka soba’, meaning ‘Chinese noodles’) at Nonokura may be traditional but it is perfect. Made with a base stock of chicken and seafood, there are two options on the menu: the shio (salt) ramen and the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen...

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157. Nakiryu

Restaurants Ramen Otsuka

Genre: Dandan men

The second ramen restaurant in Tokyo to get a Michelin star after Tsuta, Nakiryu ('crying dragon') is known for its house special dandanmen, a testament to its quality. A noodle dish originating from Szechuan in China, dandanmen is characterised by its spicy soup and distinctive use of sesame seed. Lesser restaurants tend to produce a heavier soup that can get a tad cloying – but not Nakiryu. Their red pepper-based version is as light as shoyu ramen, a very refined bowl but still gutsy. There’s a good punch of chilli heat coupled with the rich nuttiness of sesame seed, while the noodles are firm to the bite. You can even opt for extra spicy for an additional ¥50...

158. Shunkoutei

Restaurants Eclectic Mejiro
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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159. Toyoken

Restaurants Eclectic Akasaka
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...

160. Rengatei

Restaurants Omurice Ginza
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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161. Shiseido Parlour Ginza

Restaurants Eclectic 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...

162. Land

Restaurants Meguro
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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163. Ethiopia

Restaurants Jinbocho
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...

164. Spoon

Restaurants Fusion Nishi-Ogikubo
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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165. Rojiura Curry Samurai

Restaurants Shimokitazawa
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...

166. Ponchi-ken

Restaurants Ochanomizu
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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167. Katsuman

Restaurants Awajicho
Genre: Tonkatsu

Purists hold that tonkatsu is best enjoyed simply, with only shredded cabbage and sauce to accompany the juicy meat. But a visit to Katsuman merits going off script: the highlight here is katsudon, a bowl of rice with a cutlet, doused in broth and topped with a soft-boiled egg...

168. Enraku

Restaurants Shinbashi

Genre: Tonkatsu

Why settle for regular tonkatsu when you can go to Enraku? Their Sangenton heirloom pork tenderloin from Yamagata is leaner and lighter than at most places, but also tastes gloriously fatty. Contradictory, yes, but we’re definitely not complaining. Located in the business district between the Hamarikyu Gardens and Tokyo Tower, the family-owned restaurant has hardly changed since opening in 1950, making it a piece of living (and delicious) history...

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169. Ton-kyu

Restaurants Takadanobaba

Genre: Tonkatsu

For some unknown reason, Takadanobaba is home to several tonkatsu restaurants boasting citywide popularity. These regularly attract lengthy queues of carnivores who don't mind waiting for what could be hours to bite into an extra-juicy piece of meat. But if you don't feel like standing in line, just head to Ton-kyu, set in the basement of a building just in front of Takadanobaba Station. While it's a popular spot, you're likely to be seated after only a short wait...

Butagumi
Photo: Lim Chee Wah

170. Butagumi

Restaurants Nishi-Azabu

Genre: Tonkatsu

Set in a beautiful traditional Japanese house, Butagami offers an encyclopaedia-like menu of brand pork. It lists a total of 26 different varieties of largely Japanese premium pork, save for Spanish Iberico and Hungarian Mangalica. There are Imo-buta from Chiba, Akan pork from Hokkaido, Hyo-on two-month aged pork from Gumma... and it goes on, with the varieties and cuts listed from lean to fat. Who knew there’s so much to pork?

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171. Nakahara

Restaurants Ichigaya
Genre: Yakiniku

You've sampled the standard steaks and entrails, and are looking to climb the carnivore ladder. There's no better place to begin your quest than this Ichigaya eatery, the successor of famed Minowa joint Shichirin. Nakahara specialises in high-quality yakiniku and always stocks excellent kuroge wagyu beef...

172. Yoroniku

Restaurants Aoyama

Genre: Yakiniku

An essential stop on the Tokyo yakiniku trail, this sleek Aoyama giant is best enjoyed by ordering one of the prix fixe ‘courses’. More than just a long list of different cuts and flavours, these feel like carefully thought-out love letters to meat, all composed with expertise and dedication. Highlights include fluffy, supermodel-slim chateaubriand, beef served with truffles and deep-fried, breaded fillets...

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173. Karubiano

Restaurants Shinbashi

Genre: Yakiniku

Eating yakiniku in Tokyo is like eating burgers in New York: there's an abundance of options. But what distinguishes one grill from the next? At Karubiano in Shinbashi it’s all about chef Takashima’s careful selection of Japanese beef. Sure, he sources wagyu just like everyone else, but prefers the lesser used parts, such as the shoulder and shin. The thin strips are cooked over a charcoal grill at the ten-seat counter, browning in less than a minute...

174. Sumibi Maruichi

Restaurants Hatagaya
Genre: Yakiniku

Those new to the fascinating world of offal barbecue, known as horumon in Japanese, are in for a gourmet anatomy lesson at Hatagaya's Maruichi. During an evening at this neighbourhood favourite, you'll learn the ins and outs of rumen, sweetbreads and omasum, all served super-fresh and seasoned simply with salt...
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175. Kiji

Restaurants Marunouchi

Genre: Okonomiyaki

Although cooking your own okonomiyaki is always fun, sometimes one prefers to have this savoury pancake-style dish prepared by a professional. Most of Tokyo's okonomiyaki joints don't offer this service, preferring to let diners deal with the sticky batter to the best of their abilities. Marunouchi's Kiji, however, offers relief for those less than skilled with small iron spatulas...

176. Salmon and Trout

Restaurants Eclectic Shimokitazawa

Genre: Eclectic

Ask any Shimokitazawa gourmand in the know to name their favourite local restaurants and they’re highly likely to include this offbeat eatery on their lists. Run by the enigmatic Kan Morieda, one of Tokyo’s most visible young chefs and the instigator of his very own cooking style – ‘punk cuisine’ – Salmon and Trout is a mishmash of influences and innovations. Part of the eclecticism is due to Morieda’s colourful work history: he soaked up experience at places as diverse as Sydney’s Tetsuya’s, Kogetsu in Aoyama and...

194. Kiki Harajuku

Restaurants Bistros Harajuku

Genre: Bistro

Hidden away in a quiet back alley just steps from the hustle and bustle of Harajuku lies Kiki, the domain of haute cuisine wizard Yuki Noda. Having moved to France at 22, Noda (now 34) worked at venerable Paris establishment Taillevent before returning to Japan to take up the sous chef position under Christophe Paucod at Kagurazaka’s Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais. Noda went independent in 2011, leaving behind the hallowed halls of Michelin-starred restaurants in favour of a more casual setting...

195. Path

Restaurants Bistros Yoyogi-Hachiman

Genre: Bistro

Having brought a puff pastry-powered bromance to its logical conclusion, chef Taichi Hara, 36, and pâtissier Yuichi Goto, 36, teamed up two years ago to open Path and the duo’s bistro-café has already become a sensation in Shibuya’s Tomigaya. The perfect hangout before or after a day out in Yoyogi Park, Path serves breakfast and brunch – including their famous, super-fluffy dutch pancake...

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Kabi
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

196. Kabi

Restaurants Meguro

Genre: Modern European

On the surface, Kabi comes across as a modern European restaurant, which is hardly surprising considering the chef and co-owner, Shohei Yasuda, worked at several French restaurants plus the two Michelin-starred Kadeau in Copenhagen. However, Japanese ingredients are front and centre, but interpreted through the new Nordic approach to food. The Kabi team forage for pine shoots and mushrooms in Nagano and Niigata on their off-days, and they create their own larder by experimenting with the two techniques that define Japanese cuisine: pickling and fermentation (hence the restaurant’s name ‘kabi’, Japanese for mold). This is why the food here is so distinct...

197. Renge

Restaurants Chinese Ginza
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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198. Noyashichi

Restaurants Chinese Yotsuya-Sanchome
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...

199. Hashizume

Restaurants Chinese Hiroo
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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200. Akasaka Ichiryu Bekkan

Restaurants Korean Akasaka
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...

201. 8ablish

Restaurants Vegan Aoyama
Genre: Vegetarian

Maybe it’s the salsa music instead of Tibetan chants, but this vegan restaurant in posh Aoyama is distinctively more trendy than earthy. Located on a side street next to Aoyama Gakuin University, it offers both tasty meals and delectable desserts for its clientele of upper class yoginis and health-conscious couples...

Guides to Japanese cuisine

Ultimate guide to soba

Restaurants Japanese

Soba noodles are very versatile; they can be served hot or cold, and in a myriad of ways. Clueless on how to order? Here's your photo menu

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Bookable tours

tsukiji fish market magical trip
Photo: Magical Trip

Tsukiji Fish Market Walking Tour

Things to do Nihonbashi

Even though the fish market has moved to Toyosu, Tsukiji is still filled with old-school charm, fresh seafood and enthusiastic vendors selling snacks and light meals. Your guide will help weave you through the crowds and take you to shops where you can pick up souvenirs to use in the kitchen and to stalls where you can try a sampling of traditional food.