The jars stacked outside are the first indication that this isn't your average Chinese restaurant. Gessekai specialises in yakuzen medicinal cuisine, mixing seasonal vegetables with over 40 different housemade miso pastes and alcohol infused with ingredients such as ginger and star anise. Their mapo dofu is one of the most potent we've tasted in Tokyo, and the aromatic, Beijing-style karaage chicken is guaranteed to get mouths watering the moment it arrives at the table. Not everything on the menu is going to wreck your palate, though: try the steamed organic vegetable assortment (pictured) for some more subtle flavours, and be sure to save some space for the excellent gyoza, available either with vegetables or prawns and coriander. There's something almost comical about the fact that a restaurant like this sits in the centre of Dogenzaka: a bastion of wholesomeness in the seedy, love hotel-infested armpit of Shibuya.
2-26-5 Dogenzaka, Shibuya-ku
|Opening hours:||6pm-1am (last orders 12midnight) daily|
|Transport:||Shibuya Station (Yamanote, Ginza, Hanzomon, Fukutoshin, Denentoshi, Tokyu Toyoko, Keio Inokashira lines)|