The smoked burger at Bar Shanks | Time Out Tokyo

Tokyo's best smoked restaurants

Where to head for that quintessential smokey flavour

Written by
Time Out Tokyo Editors
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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

Bar Smoke Salt
  • Bars and pubs
  • Cocktail bars
  • Higashi-Nakano
  • price 2 of 4

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...

Kemuri
  • Restaurants
  • Ramen
  • Ikebukuro
  • price 1 of 4

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...

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Bar Shanks
  • Bars and pubs
  • Sangubashi
  • price 2 of 4

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...

Smoke Beer Factory Higashi-Nagasaki
  • Bars and pubs
  • Craft beer pubs
  • Toshima
  • price 1 of 4

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...

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A Domani
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Ikebukuro
  • price 1 of 4

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...

Azabu-Juban Kunsei Apartment Villa
  • Restaurants
  • Eclectic
  • Azabu-Juban
  • price 3 of 4

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...

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Kunsei Maruho
  • Bars and pubs
  • Izakaya
  • Harajuku
  • price 1 of 4

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...

Smoke Dining
  • Restaurants
  • Eclectic
  • Shinjuku-Sanchome
  • price 2 of 4

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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