Tokyo's best smoked restaurants

Where to head for that quintessential smokey flavour
The smoked burger at Bar Shanks | Time Out Tokyo
By Time Out Tokyo Editors |

The age-old tradition of smoking food (no, not rolling it up in a cigarette, you clown) is seeing something of a revival, with smoked appetisers and even some more substantial dishes gracing the menu of many a Tokyo establishment these days. But why stop there, if you could have a full-blown, all-smoked menu? We've rounded up our favourite smoke specialist restaurants and bars, which serve everything from the more common fish and bacon to rather obscure offerings such as smoked curry and smoked vanilla ice cream. Fire away, folks.

The top ten smoke spots

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars

Bar Smoke Salt

icon-location-pin Higashi-Nakano

It's a bit cramped but all the better for it. This six-seater counter bar in Higashi-Nakano is betting big on the large variety of snacks and nibbles on offer – a rarity at Tokyo bars these days. And the otsumami selection is not only diverse: all of these treats are also diligently hand-smoked by the resident maestro. The resulting taste is earthy, deep and thoroughly satisfying, with that characteristic smokey flavour penetrating throughout...



icon-location-pin Awajicho

All your smokey needs will be settled at this specialist eatery near Awajicho Station. Dig into scrumptious sandwiches with smoked fillings, such as a mackerel (smoked for at least four hours) and potato salad, or try the smoked egg and chicken incarnation. Their sandwiches tend to sell out by early afternoon, so best head over before that to get your hands on one...

Restaurants, Ramen


icon-location-pin Ikebukuro

Located on the same street as Rikkyo University, Kemuri adds a little touch to its ramen by smoking pretty much every single ingredient and condiment except for the noodles. Try the Shoyu Kunsoba: one bite and your mouth will be filled with smokey flavour while still staying remarkably clear and light...

Bars and pubs

Bar Shanks

icon-location-pin Sangubashi

Although this bar near Sangubashi Station has a long list of food offerings both smoked and unsmoked, their really smokey standout is the original Tent Burger. Cheese, tomatoes and pork are sandwiched between buns courtesy of a bakery in nearby Higashi-Shinjuku, and flavoured with plenty of olive oil. The smoking method also makes for quite an experience...

Bars and pubs, Craft beer pubs

Smoke Beer Factory Higashi-Nagasaki

icon-location-pin Toshima

Don't be fooled by the name: this craft beer bar is very much in Tokyo, and serves up some rather tasty smoked nibbles and booze. They have seven beers on tap, mostly IPAs, as well as rauchbier (literally 'smoke beer' in German). The latter are very easy on the tongue and go well with their soy sauce-dipped, smoked and grilled fish...

Restaurants, Japanese

Kunkare Okubo

icon-location-pin Okubo

Smoked curry, anyone? Its older sister opened in Ningyocho back in 2011, and due to its raging popularity, an Okubo outpost of this white-rice-topped-with-smoked-curry-roux specialist opened a few years later. Besides being able to tailor both your levels of spice and smokiness, there are more than enough smoked toppings to choose from, including smoked bacon, smoked veg and smoked cheese...

Restaurants, Italian

A Domani

icon-location-pin Ikebukuro

This osteria-style bar and restaurant serves up reasonably priced Italian fare with a smokey touch. Try some of their smoked appetisers such as bacon, eggs or baby scallops, and wash it all down with a good glass of wine. Their other menu items are also worth seeking out for both their price and quality – it's all very high on the value for money scale...

Restaurants, Eclectic

Azabu-Juban Kunsei Apartment Villa

icon-location-pin Azabu-Juban

For a grown-up smoked eats experience, head to the slightly bizarrely named Kunsei Apartment Villa, which exudes the latter (villa) vibe while being set in the former (an actual apartment). The chic interior, complete with fireplace, is a telltale sign that this evening isn't going to come cheap, but it's the experience that counts. Their menu is primarily devoted to exquisite cold-smoked cuisine...

Bars and pubs, Izakaya

Kunsei Maruho

icon-location-pin Harajuku

You'll catch more than a whiff of smoked food by the time you're halfway down the stairs to this basement izakaya, but persist to the bottom and you'll be rewarded. In typical izakaya fashion, Maruho offers standard fare centred around fish and chicken sashimi, as well as a good range of smoked dishes. Think smoked bacon, quail eggs, cheese and giant octopus, all homemade...

Restaurants, Eclectic

Smoke Dining

icon-location-pin Shinjuku-Sanchome

This Shinjuku spot really takes its smoking seriously: virtually every single item on the menu, from the tomatoes to the avocados, has been given the smoke treatment. The main attraction here is their home-smoked bacon, made from sangenton brand pork – in this case, they've slow-smoked the pork belly for ten days, making for an exceptionally sweet yet juicy creation...

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