Wanted: Tokyo and Kyoto restaurants

heading there Mar-Apr timeframe. TIA.

Alan - will PM you over the weekend.

Tetsuan is pretty awesome kappo in Tokyo.

Ryugin was an exceptional experience.

Sushi Sawada in Tokyo (assuming you can’t get into Saito). Life-affirming. In dozens of Michelin starred meals across the globe, it was perhaps my most satisfying meal.

Loved Ryugin too.

Do at least one big Kaiseki meal in Kyoto. One of the worlds unique and wonderful experiences. We did Nakamura. I’d love to go back and do Mizai.

Others will have a lot more breadth of experience here than I do. Continuing on Ryan’s “if not Saito” above, and I expect there are quite a few great options, we had a great experience at Sushi Yoshitake. Beef at Shima. Kichto in Kyoto is beautiful Kaiseki but frighteningly expensive.

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What are you looking to eat?

For great tsukemen ramen I’d try Rokurinsha on Ramen Street in Tokyo station. It’s going to be our first meal when we arrive in Tokyo.

Kyoto- Gion Matayoshi
One of the greatest experiences. Only 10 or so around the chefs table. I took my family. We had 5 of the seats.
It was absolutely stunning!

If you travel out from Kyoto, I highly recommend the Ryokan Miyamasou about 1 hr 1/2 outside of Kyoto.
All foraged menu. Amazing property. It will change your idea of natural cuisine. Stunning. They have also a 2 star restaurant in Kyoto. Sarah Kirshbaum knows them.

Don’t pay for overpriced $30 ramens. Just go to any non tourist trap restaurant and you can have a really great ramen for $5-$10

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Took the words right out of me, Sawada Sushi was the best meal I’ve had in 5 trips to Japan, up there with the best of all time.

Ginza Steak, in you guessed it Ginza, has an all you can eat Kobe beef set menu, that was pretty wicked, it just kept coming all night long.

If you are into coffee, try Chatei Hatou near Shibuya, amazing attention to service and some cool origins on offer. Turret coffee near Tsukiji fish market (a must do in Tokyo) serves crazy good espresso and lattes.

I’m a tonkatsu freak, Katsukura in Kyoto never disappoints, I’m drooling just thinking about grinding those freshly roasted sesame seeds right now. As already mentioned Ramen Alley in Kyoto Station (upper floor of a department store) is phenomenal, I’ve tried 4 of the different varieties now, still want to go back for more haha

If you’re going to Yokohama hit up Chinatown for dim sum, let me know if you are going there and I can recommend a bunch of cheap eats in that area.

Remember - The fish auction at Tsukiji fish market is closed and the new location at Toyosu will open on October 11(2 days before we arrive in Tokyo).

Was in Tokyo last year and ate at the following:

  • Tokyo Ramen Street located in the Tokyo Station (a number of various ramen vendors).
  • Narisawa - reservations needed, one of my favorite tasting menus and restaurant experiences thus far.
  • Isehiro - a skewer yakitori place recommended by a friend that grew up in and currently still lives in Tokyo. Located around the Ginza district.
  • Michiba - another tasting menu located in Ginza, more traditional Japanese food and the first Iron Chef’s restaurant.
  • Steakhouse Satou - quite possibly my favorite meal of the trip but that’s the meat eater in me. Matsuzaka steak place that is out of Tokyo city boundaries but easily accessible via train.
  • Kutekiya - ramen place that my cousin studying at a Tokyo Culinary school took us too. One of the best bowls of ramen I’ve had. A little bit of a line but wasn’t too bad, moved fast.
  • Manten sushi - 26 omakase sushi lunch was the best “deal” had in tokyo as it was about $60. There wasn’t much English there and as the dishes kept coming I was scared that it was one of those places that keep serving you until you say stop. Near the Imperial Palace in a business area. Reservations recommended.
  • Maisen - a pork cutlet chain restaurant that I’ve enjoyed each time I’ve had it.

From my experience, the restaurants I’ve visited in Tokyo really took their food seriously with many restaurants specializing in only one or handful of items. The items that they did specialize in, they truly mastered and the result was some of the most amazing food experiences I’ve had.

yakitori imai is a fantastic experience and has a cool wine list

it would be difficult to find a better french restaurant than esquisse, even in france

there is so much amazing ramen everywhere, a must is the chicken paitan at kagari

start researching now and come up with an itinerary that suits your needs. there are endless restaurants serving exceptionally high quality food at every price point. for me the only disappointing experience was going to the fish market.

how so? are you referring to eating there or touring the actual stalls?

shame its finally closed now (as mentioned above)

This is my favorite Kobe/Wagyu steak place in Tokyo. Been here maybe 4-5 times, always great. Odd because very quiet and in the basement of an office building (normal in Tokyo). Dons de la Nature in Ginza.


thanks to all—Sarah, that was an amazing tome of valuable info. Still pouring over all.

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Can I request the same info? haha

I’m heading back in April and am always looking for more firsthand experiences of great places to eat!

Nope, that was just for Alan because I want him (and his cellar) to owe me. :slight_smile:

Just kidding, sure I’ll send it to you. Most of it can be found in my older posts on this board as well.

+1. I don’t have any plans to be there but would love to see Sarah’s recommendations.