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Spice Lab1/6
Photo: Spice Lab
ファロ2/6
ファロ
Caveman3/6
Photo: ©K5Caveman at K5
Terunari4/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaTerunari
Kabi5/6
Photo: Keisuke TanigawaKabi
Gracia at Eat Play Works – cropped to fit6/6
Photo: Eat Play Works

Best restaurants in Tokyo for date night

These romantic restaurants in Tokyo, serving everything from soba to seafood, are perfect for couples

By Time Out Tokyo Editors
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Whether you're planning an impressive first date, an anniversary or even for Valentine's Day, it can be a hard decision to narrow down a restaurant in a city filled with so many top restaurants. From venues overlooking the sprawling Tokyo skyline to down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, here's a list of restaurants to book for your next date night. 

RECOMMENDED: Get an indulgent treat at one of Tokyo's best chocolate shops

Hot date spots

シオ
シオ

For an elegant long lunch: Sio

Restaurants French Yoyogi-Uehara

Chef Shusaku Toba’s passion for developing the city’s dining scene never has a limit. Teaming up with young chefs and sommeliers, Sio offers an incredible fusion of Japanese and French cuisines, and that earned him a Michelin star this year. 

For lunch, expect a six-course meal where the main is pork, but can be changed to wagyu beef or pigeon (additional cost). Seasonal produce are the highlight on each and every dish and you'll also get a taste of Sio's signature starter, the delicate baniku (horse meat) served with blood-red beets and plum. Alcohol pairing can be added to any course to make for a well-rounded and romantic lunch date.

Caveman
Photo: ©K5

For an intimate breakfast: Caveman

Restaurants Kayabacho

On the first floor of an elegant bank turned boutique hotel, Caveman serves its innovative modern Japanese dishes. Chef Atsuki Kuroda brings to his dishes his experience living and cooking in Italy and Norway. Head here for dinner, get a drink at the wine bar from 3pm, or go for our favourite meal: breakfast. From 7.30am-12pm for ¥3,500 each, you and your date will get an assortment of house-cured meats, egg soufflé, sourdough bread, waffles, plus some house-made condiments. It’s better to book, but if you miss out on the full breakfast set, the team will happily help you out with a delicious open sandwich. A romantic meal out doesn’t have to wait until evening.

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ファロ
ファロ

For exquisite vegetarian: Faro

Restaurants Ginza

The 10th-floor of the iconic Shiseido building in Ginza is home to some of Tokyo’s most creative and elegant plant-forward dining. Both lunch and dinner are set menus, which can be vegan and vegetarian – or not, depending on your preference.

Chef Noda's appreciation for ingredients, combined with an understanding of umami and fermentation, ensures each dish is full of flavour – regardless of whether they contain meat and dairy or not. Noda’s signature dish is his award-winning jagaimo (Japanese potato) spaghetti, which is a textural extravaganza: tendrils of crisp blanched and crunchy fried potato in a dashi broth (non-vegan) or a koji-enhanced soy milk broth (vegan).

Ease
Photo: Stirling Elmendorf

For the sweet tooth: Ease

Restaurants Kayabacho

Here’s a fun way to enjoy your Valentine’s Day chocolates and sweets: at a dine-in dessert bar. The interior, which is a modern blend of chic and sleek, is bound to impress any date. Sit at one of the handful of counter seats and watch sweets being made by hand. The desserts are impeccably crafted morsels that blend tradition with modern flavours, such as Amazon cacao choux cream, mango and shiso mousse cake, and matcha-cassis financiers. The young owner, Keisuke Oyama, is an award-winning pastry chef who studied in France and worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants, including Sincere and Ristorante Aso. 

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Terunari
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

For modern kaiseki: Terunari

Restaurants Japanese Yotsuya-Sanchome

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.

You can look forward to reinterpretations of classic Japanese dishes, such as a crisp monaka wafer sandwich filled with chicken liver pâté, and chawanmushi egg custard made more substantial with beef tendon and a hint of wasabi.

Kabi
Photo: Keisuke Tanigawa

For Nordic-inspired Japanese: Kabi

Restaurants Meguro

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. Japanese ingredients are front and centre here, 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. The tasting menu (¥9,000) changes every couple of months, and of the 13 or 14 dishes, ten will be new.

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イート プレイ ワークス
イート プレイ ワークス(Photo: Kisa Toyoshima)

For a little bit of everything: Eat Play Works

News Eating

Forget any preconceptions of dining halls in dingy mall basements serving up greasy food: Eat Play Works is one of the neo-dining halls taking over Tokyo, making it ideal for a date to impress. Over two floors and a leafy courtyard, compact versions of 17 restaurants stand side-by-side, specialising in everything from Okinawan food and Michelin-level Mexican to omakase sushi and French bistro fare. Each restaurant has individual decor in line with its cuisine – and many offer counters where you and your date can see the chefs at work, for an extra special twist to the meal. 

焼鳥今井
焼鳥今井

For refined yakitori: Yakitori Imai

Restaurants Yakitori Harajuku

Owner and grill master Takashi Imai opened his stylish thirty-seat, counter-style joint in 2016 and has been reinventing skewered chicken through his considered approach ever since. Imai's philosophy is reflected in the dinner menu, which starts with a delicate chicken liver pate served on a crusty baguette before moving on to a leafy seasonal salad, the chef’s selection of six skewers and the grilled vegetables of the day – all for the very reasonable price of ¥4,500.

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For an indulgent date: Kitafuku Ginza

Restaurants Japanese Ginza

From the moment you remove your shoes to walk on the tatami mats to the moment you eat your final morsel of supple crab meat, Kitafuku is an exhilarating experience. A meal lasts at least two hours, which is the minimum time necessary for a live king crab (typically around 4-5kg) to be deshelled, systematically dismantled – leg by leg, claw by claw – prepared and enjoyed in different ways, from boiled and charcoal-grilled to sashimi. If you’re squeamish, be warned: you’ll see your dinner alive moments before you eat it.

An Di, Jingumae
Photo: An Di

For a Japanese take on Vietnamese: An Di

Restaurants Soshigaya-Okura

Rice paper rolls and pho are well-known and well-loved dishes of Vietnam. At An Di in Jingumae, chef Chihiro Naito gives these dishes an easy-to-love local spin: rice paper rolls accented with shibazuke pickles with prawns, pho flavoured with sake lees. And there’s many more exciting dishes beyond this, like conger eel with coconut milk, grapes, and jasmine tea sauce. Formerly of three-star Michelin restaurant at L'effervescence, Naito’s execution of flavours is impeccable and the plating elegant. All of this comes in a relaxed, intimate setting with a fantastic wine and sake list. 

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For a cosy neighbourhood bistro: Atsu Atsu Ri Carica

Restaurants Italian Gakugei-Daigaku

Gakugei-Daigaku has boomed in recent years, with small, mid-range restaurants flourishing on the small streets just outside of the station. One of these is Atsu Atsu Ri Carica, a small natural wine bar-meets-inventive Italian gastropub. The owner, being part Italian himself, rolls with the Italian idea of what good food is: a few simple, quality ingredients, dressed up with the bare essentials to create truly memorable dishes.

Eatrip
Photo: Eatrip

For a farm-to-table experience: Eatrip

Restaurants Harajuku

In a charming old wooden house just around the corner from bustling Harajuku, Eatrip is a sanctuary of calm. Complete with a cobblestone path through a leafy garden to enter, this is the perfect location for a secluded romantic dinner. Owner and chef Yuri Nomura worked at renowned organic restaurant Chez Panisse in California; at Eatrip, her produce-driven, farm-to-table philosophy has a Japanese accent. You can expect dishes like seasonal vegetables with black bean hummus, and persimmon galette with roasted green tea ice cream. The open kitchen and dining space, plenty of candles and hanging foliage help build a cosy atmosphere. 

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Spice Lab
Photo: Spice Lab

For innovative Indian: Spice Lab

Restaurants Ginza

Spice Lab is not your casual neighborhood curry joint – this is a high-end dining experience where India’s modern culinary landscape is blended with seasonal Japanese ingredients. Award-winning executive chef Tejas Sovani, whose experience includes a stint at Noma in Copenhagen, serves up plate after plate of exciting new flavour combinations. The set of regional street food snacks is sure to impress any date, and includes crisp samosa filled with spiced lamb, a delicate panipuri dumpling filled with a fragrant blend of ume, mirin, mint and lemon, and more. There are multicourse options ranging from four to ten dishes, and vegetarian, vegan and seafood-only menus are available. 

Spice Lab’s owner, who hails from Delhi, was inspired to bring high-end modern Indian cuisine to Japan – a style that’s making its mark in dining hotspots as far afield as London, Melbourne and Hong Kong. The venue’s award-winning executive chef is Tejas Sovani, whose experience includes a stint at Noma in Copenhagen. 

There are several course options available, ranging from four courses to seven at lunchtime and eight courses to ten courses on the dinner menu, with vegetarian, vegan and seafood-only options available. The menus change seasonally, rewarding repeat visits.

We recommend starting with a Mumbai Tonic from the restaurant’s impressive original cocktail list – a refreshing, herbal concoction of spice-infused gin, suze, house bitters and tonic. The bitter kick is the perfect palate cleanse before getting started on your meal. 

The kaleidoscopic range of ingredients on the menu is woven together with intuition and precision; the flavours aren’t tuned down to suit the local palate, but are refined and well-balanced. The plate of regional street food snacks is a highlight, with a crisp samosa filled with spiced lamb, shiso chaat (tempura) topped with tamarind chutney and pomegranate seeds, and a delicate panipuri dumpling filled with a fragrant blend of ume, mirin, mint and lemon. 

In autumn, there’s a wild mushroom and leek pilaf, served with buttery kulcha (flatbread) and a selection of condiments like smoky black lentils and garlic raita. Desserts include an amply spiced carrot cake on a bed of coconut tapioca, or baked yoghurt with seasonal fruit. Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot to handle – staff will guide you through the menu, offering extra contextual info about the dishes, adding a bit of humour and personal touch. 

Lunch ranges from ¥2,900 (four courses plus tea or coffee) to ¥7,200 (seven courses plus tea or coffee), while dinner starts at ¥8,800 (eight courses plus tea or coffee) and goes up to ¥14,300 (ten courses plus tea or coffee).

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Shirube
Photo: Time Out Tokyo

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