Where to eat around the Skytree
The traveller-friendly Sekai Cafe aims to attract vegetarians and Muslim customers, with the café-style menu currently featuring soy-based karaage, Japanese curry and vegan desserts. Everything's put together with 100 percent halal ingredients, and those looking for meat-free options will find plenty to choose from as well. Our meat-eating tasting team was fooled by both the soy karaage and the curry, which both tasted and looked closer to real meat than any veg version we've seen to date.
Owned by a born-and-bred local eager to liven up his 'hood, this comfy joint has earned a steady following over the decade it's been open. Don't miss the no-bake cheesecake, certified by the local authorities as one the best in the city. Higashi-Mukojima Coffee-ten also took home the Best Café award at the Love Tokyo Awards 2017, just so you know.
This Western-style restaurant, named after owner Yukihiro Katayama, maintains the quaint old-school atmosphere of the working-class neighbourhood in which it's found. Many of the dishes on the menu sound more befitting of a greasy spoon diner – think omurice and deep-fried cutlets – but the steaks here are prepared with the utmost seriousness. The star of the menu is the dabincho, a rump steak where the sinew has been removed using a special patented cutting technique.
The ideal place for stylish coffee-sipping, perhaps with a small cake on the side, this spacious and relaxing café by the Sumida River is set in a former timber warehouse with a high ceiling. It's decorated with antiques, old books and small flowers, while tea sets, an international selection of stamps and even minerals are sold at the counter.
Located on a sleepy residential street not far from the Sumida River, Mukojima's top 'ramen izakaya' is a little tricky to find. But it rewards intrepid noodle-hunters with back-to-basics chuka soba, available in four flavours: shoyu, shoyu-chashu, shio and shio-chashu. The standard salt option is their most popular dish, and for good reason.
With seafood (and pudding!) delivered straight from the restaurant’s Hokkaido headquarters, it’s immediately clear why people are willing to stand in mind-numbingly long lines for a spot at this delightfully affordable kaitenzushi joint. Toriton is a seafood lover’s paradise: plates range from ¥130 to ¥630 and unlike other sushi-go-round spots where it’s advisable to order directly from the chef, don’t hesitate to pluck plates straight from the conveyor belt.
Standard latte art is unlikely to make much of an impression after you've laid eyes on the 3D foam cats decorating drinks at this super-cute café. That's not to say it's all show and no go, either: Their coffee, tea and hot chocolate are expertly crafted, while the 'molasses and black sugar matcha soy latte' is a thing of beauty.
Fry some rice, wrap it in an egg and sprinkle your sauce of choice over the goodness – hey, you've just put together some omu-rice, a staple of Japanese home cooking that's satisfyingly filling and easy to customise. This chic eatery has been specialising in this particular comfort food since 1913, and it shows. Azuma is by no means a cheap spot, but very much worth a look – and not just for the nostalgia factor.
Gaze up at the Skytree while you sip on a mug of joe. Owner Minegishi has been in the coffee industry for over 30 years, so you can't go wrong with the coffee you get here. He'll tell you everything about the beans and how to make the perfect cup. If you like your coffee bitter and strong, we suggest trying their speciality Shigeno Blend.
Coffee and soba are an unlikely combo, but both taste best in artisanal form – which is exactly how you'll get them at this charmingly old-school establishment, found inside a 70-year-old wooden townhouse.