Thanis Lim

All Rounder Chef and Food Journalist

Where to eat in Tokyo? Tokyo Food and Cafe Guide: Must eat restaurants and cafes in Tokyo.

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Tokyo is usually the first city that people explore for their maiden trip to Japan! It is also common for people to visit the three cities of Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto in one go. I personally prefer to stay in one city for a longer period to truly experience the good food and culture of the city. In this guide, I will share with you some of the best places to eat in Tokyo. I spent a great deal of time researching on what to eat through forums and Japanese websites to find where to eat first months before I fly! This guide is based on months of research, then personally tried and tasted by us personally to make it easier for you to plan your food trip to Tokyo, Japan! I will only list the mid range affordable options here as most people won’t want to spend 20k – 30k yen for one meal!


Travel tip: How to travel around Japan!

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If you plan to visit neighboring cities around Osaka = Nara, Kobe, Kyoto, Arashiyama or even a long trip to Tokyo – it’s best to get a JAPAN RAIL PASS. For me, this is the most economical and fastest way to travel. There are different types of JR passes that you should carefully study and read about before purchasing. For instance if you are only travelling around the Kansai region and not going to Tokyo, buying a Kansai Pass might be a cheaper option but if you want to go to Tokyo (2 hour and 20 minutes only from Kyoto station), then it is best to buy a JR Pass which can save you a lot of money considering a one way ticket from Kyoto to Tokyo will be 13,080 yen (about 160SGD) one way! I was trying to save money and decided to fly domestic airlines from Tokyo to Osaka (which was cheaper but you lose up to a whole day in travelling from city to airport plus hours of waiting around in the airport whereas the JR would only take less than 3 hours). Click here or the picture to look at a variety of Japan Rail Passes to save money and time.


Travel Tip 2: NO JR PASS? No problem! Save money on public transport with the Tokyo Subway Metro Ticket!

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If you haven’t got a JR Pass – you can save quite a lot of money by getting the Tokyo Subway Ticket – unlimited subway rides on non-JR lines. Consider that the 72 hour (3 day ticket) is only 18SGD – it’s a very good bargain in Japan where getting from place to place can be super expensive! You can buy a whole stack and use them whenever necessary online! Click here to have a look at the Tokyo subway ticket. You can choose your collection point in Japan.


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If you didn’t get a JR pass – chances are your one way trip from airport to Ginza or Tokyo will be very expensive. Thankfully there’s a cheaper option called Access Narita which is only 1000 yen one way. I used this because I didn’t activate my JR Pass yet. Click here to get to the Access Narita website which will tell you how to buy and how to find the waiting station for the bus from Narita Airport


Travel tip 3: Book accomodation based on whether you have JR Pass or if you are using Tokyo Subway Metro Ticket

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When I first booked my apartment in Japan, I thought anywhere near a subway is fine! Boy was I wrong! I didn’t realize that for the amount of money I saved on cheaper accommodation – I was paying more for the subway ticket and transit! I didn’t save much money but I did waste a lot of time as I could had booked a nice apartment near Shibuya instead! My advise is to book your accommodation near a JR station if you have a JR pass as it gives you unlimited rides or near any station that is within the Tokyo Subway Metro Ticket line – I personally recommend staying one or two stations away from either Shibuya Station or Shinjuku station. 


Travel tip 4: Airbnb or Hotel?

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Personally I prefer to use Airbnb rather than Hotel, as they are usually cheaper and if you plan properly and book earlier – you can get very decent places to stay in Tokyo itself. There has been a lot of worries due to the new Minpaku law which resulted in a lot of cancellations of Airbnb bookings around June 2018 but rest assured the current remaining Airbnb listings are registered and ready to go! There are advantages to hotels of course – where food is usually provided, you get lobby and concierge services to help you make restaurant reservations or travel advice, plus you can leave your luggage at hotel lobby if you have a late flight. Click here to make your airbnb bookings!

Travel tip 5: Get a wifi egg for all your Google Map needs!

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Trust me – I was ultra surprised when I realized how expensive Internet data is in Japan! Just take a look at these prices at the airport! That is why I suggest when you are booking your Airbnb or hotel – pick one that provides WIFI egg – quite a number of good hosts will let you use their portable WIFI egg! This will help you save quite a bit!


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What happens if your airbnb host doesn’t offer WIFI egg? You can either buy these at the airport (expensive and not easy to set up) or you can do what I did!


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You will need internet to survive in Japan – especially when you need to use google maps and also find out which subway or bus to take to get around so internet is the most important thing to get before visiting Japan.  If you travel in groups, the economical option is to pre-book a wifi egg online and collect at the airport (Klook allows you to collect it from various airports such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Bangkok apparently). Click here or the picture to have a look.


Travel Tip 6: Get your Disneyland and Disneysea tickets online to avoid crowds!

IMG_20170620_160452Admit it – Disneyland and Disneysea will be in your itinerary when you visit Tokyo! It is always advisable to buy your tickets before hand instead of buying it at Disneyland/Disneysea itself! You can choose to pick up your Disney pass from either Narita airport, Haneda or in Shinjuku! Personally – I recommend Disneysea as it’s like Disney for adults and I love the Magellan Restaurant there! Click here or the picture to buy your Disneyland/Disneysea pass.

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The roof of the Magellan Restaurant at Disneysea. Definitely worth a visit!


Best Affordable Sushi Restaurants

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While not everyone can afford to have expensive high end sushi in Tokyo such as Jiro or Sushi Saito – don’t worry as there are plenty of great Kaiten Sushi/Conveyor belt Sushi restaurants which serves good quality sushi at very affordable prices. The following are my favourite Kaiten Sushi places. In general, Genki Sushi, Kura Sushi and Uobei Sushi are fine – just walk in when the queue isn’t that long. Despite the cheap 100-300 yen per plate prices – the quality will be better than anywhere outside of Japan for these prices.

Nemuro Hanamaru

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Nemuro Hanamaru originates from Nemuro in Hokkaido but they have 2 branches in Ginza itself. To me, they are slightly more expensive – but offers superior quality in comparison to other Kaiten Sushi places in Tokyo. They are my most highly recommended Kaiten Sushi in Tokyo.


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They have English menu so you don’t need to worry. If you are those who like to play with the fancy high tech touch screens to order sushi – that’s for another place!


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Be sure to order their in season specials!


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We ate this much sushi and the bill was SGD75 from what I remembered. Slightly higher than what you will pay at other Kaiten Sushi places like Genki or Uobei but quality is better in my opinion.

Ginza Kaiten-sushi (銀座店)

TOKYU PLAZA GINZA 10F, 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

Ginza Tachigui-sushi (銀座店)

TOKYU PLAZA GINZA B2F, 5-2-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

Opens 11am – 11pm daily

Mawashizushi Katsu Midori

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Midori happens to be pretty popular for tourists and locals alike for their cheap affordable sushi. You are expected to sit on chairs that are lined up along the walkway from the main entrance of the restaurant to as far as the elevator. We went to the Shibuya branch located within Seibu.


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It’s fun to order from the touch screen and you can easily get carried away as the prices are pretty cheap!

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You can order sashimi sets like these but I wasn’t particularly impressed that day – maybe it wasn’t a good day for the chef. LOL


Mawashizushi Katsu Midori

Seibu Shibuya 8th Floor (There’s other branches in Seibu ikebukuro)

Opens 11am – 11pm


Uogashi Nihonichi Shibuya Centre-Gai – Standing Sushi Bar

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Standing Sushi bars offer a quick and affordable meal and the best part is that you can watch the chefs make the sushi for you right in front of you. It’s quite a unique experience indeed! They will place the sushi on these leave and you simply order what you want, eat, repeat the process then pay the bill. Don’t worry if you have heavy bags as there are hooks for you to hang them while you eat!


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There are plenty of standing sushi bars like this in Tokyo but I enjoyed this one in Shibuya very much! They have English menu and seem to communicate well with tourists.


Uogashi Nihonichi Shibuya Centre-Gai

25-6 Udagawacho, Shibuya 150-0042, Tokyo Prefecture

Opens: 11am – 11pm daily

Other suggested standing sushi bars you can try

Magurobito

2-18-12 Kaminarimon, Taito-ku, Tokyo (one minute walk from Asakusa station)

Opens: 11am – 10pm daily

Sakae Sushi

1-18-5 Tateishi Katsushika Tokyo (1 min walk from Keisei Tateishi.Station)

Opens: 12pm – 7pm

Uoshin Sushi

9-6-32 Akasaka Minato Tokyo (near Nogizaka Station)

Sushi Sho – The restaurant that turned down Michelin stars

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Not all quality sushi has to cost a bomb and I was lucky to find out about Sushi Sho after some recommendations from friends. Sushi Sho is famous for turning down Michelin stars and the chef is known for his skill in serving aged tuna. Dinner usually costs 100-200sgd per person but lunch (limited to 20 people) consist of a lovely Chirashi rice bowl for only $26 sgd.


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The rice bowl had about 35 different types of seafood---tuna, shrimp, octopus, abalone, tuna, sea bream, mackerel, sea urchin and many other ingredients – some cooked, some seasoned I believe! The best Chirashi don I have in my life! Seriously worth coming early and queuing for more than an hour! Note that you can make reservations – I was lucky I was the first two in line so I managed to get the remaining two seats – as other 18 were pre-booked. The group of people that came just seconds after I arrived were turned away, despite queuing an hour with me.


Sushi Sho

1-11 Yotsuya | 1F Minami Nozomu Hall, Yotsuya, Shinjuku 160-0004, Tokyo Prefecture


Taiyaki Wakaba

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If you love Taiyaki – kinda like a fish waffle with red bean paste inside – nearby Sushi Sho is the famous Taiyaki Wakaba, where you can watch them make these fresh and enjoy them HOT! Highly recommended after your delicious Chirashi Don at Sushi Sho!


Taiyaki Wakaba

1 Chome-10 Wakaba, Shinjuku, Tokyo 160-0011, Japan


Best Ramen in Tokyo


Menya Itto 麺屋 一燈 – the best tsukemen I’ve tasted

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Menya Itto is currently the highest rated ramen shop on Japanese website Tabelog, the website for foodies and achieved a bronze medal for 2017 – and I have to agree with them. Having tried so many ramen in Japan, my favourite has to be from here. Menya Itto is located near Shin Koiwa Station, which can be a bit out of the way from typical tourist spots. My advise is to arrive at least half an hour before opening time and to come on a weekday instead of weekend (they open 10:30 am on weekends and 11 am on weekdays) to ensure your queue is shorter.


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Their ramen broth is a fish based ramen. Their meatballs are specially made in house from good quality chickens and don’t get me started about their charsiu ~~ cooked to perfection probably using sous vide method and you will notice there’s three types of charsiu ~~ make sure you order your ramen or tsukemen with the three special slices of charsiu as its totally worth it!


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Look at that beauty! OMG! #charsiuporn


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Their ramen might be good – but the one that won me over was their rich and thick fish tsukemen. Tokusei noko gyokai tsukemen. 特製濃厚魚介つけ麺. I ordered the most expensive one with three different types of charsiu (pork slices) and the delicious half boiled egg. You basically enjoy this by dipping your noodles on the dipping sauce and slurp it up – DO NOT pour the sauce onto your noodles – that would be the wrong way to enjoy the noodles – dip the noodles and charsiu bit by bit into the dipping sauce and enjoy.


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After you are finished with the noodles, here’s a light broth for you to pour onto the dipping sauce according to the consistency of soup that you like then slurp it all up! Ahhhhh!! Heavenly!

Menya Itto

1-4-17 Higashishinkoiwa, Katsushika, Tokyo Prefecture 124-0023, Japan (near Shin Koiwa Station)

Opening hours:  11am – 3pm, 6pm – 10 pm (weekends they open at 10:30am)

Ginza Kagari Ramen 銀座 篝 – Best Chicken Broth Ramen in Tokyo

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Ginza Kagari is one of the unique ramen that uses chicken broth as the base. What I love about Ginza Kagari is the most flavoursome creamy yet not overly rich broth – you can almost say it’s silky smooth as you slurp it up ~ and the chicken slices are actually super tender that only ONE bite of your teeth is enough to break it into two ~~ the quality of the chicken is superb and the ingredients marry together well to form an enjoyable ramen experience.


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They have both ramen and tsukemen but I highly recommend their soup ramen ~ mmmm soooo delicious!


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I was lost and couldn’t find it initially on Google Maps and got there 15 minutes before opening – this gave me a 90 minute wait under the hot sun! LOL! The alternative is to go to their Ikebukuro branch at the station – which doesn’t seem to have much of a queue!


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You can request for extra toppings like extra roast beef or roast pork ~~ *drools*


Ginza Kagari (I heard they are currently relocating – will update when it’s open)

4-4-1 Ginza Chuo Tokyo (Near Ginza Station)

Opening Hours: 11am – 3:30pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm

Ginza Kagari - Ikebukuro Station Branch

Echika fit Ikebukuro, 3-28-14 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Open / 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.


Ichiran Ramen 一蘭

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You might be surprised to see Ichiran here – but Ichiran happens to be my favourite bowl of ramen for those that ramen chains have many branches around Japan and internationally. Despite not highly rated by the Japanese websites, they are always crowded with tourists and I don’t blame them – Ichiran does serve a decent bowl of ramen! If you go during off peak times, the queues are actually not so long – maybe only about 15 minutes wait. Their broth is not too salty and has just the right balanced flavour amongst these ramen chains. There are plenty of branches so just google the ones nearest to you. The only downside you have to peel your own bloody ramen egg! LOL

Ichiran Ramen

https://en.ichiran.com/shop/area-tokyo.html For a list of locations around Japan with opening hours!


Rokurinsha 六厘舎

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The famous Ramen Street is located at Tokyo Station Basement 1 (towards Yaesu South Exit) which showcases famous ramen from across Japan. The one that is the most famous (naturally with the longest queues) are from Rokurinsha, famous for their Tsukemen, with some claiming its the best they’ve ever tasted. My tip is to come here at 7:30am in the morning, when you are transiting on JR or on the way to the airport, there’s minimal queue around this time as compared to peak times of one hour or more.


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Rokunrinsha specializes in Tsukemen, dipping noodles, the dipping sauce is a thick broth mixture made from pork and fish, you dip the noodles and enjoy slurping them up from the dipping sauce.


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The noodles texture are really good and you can actually see dots of the grains on the noodles. Just like Menya Itto, you will have the option of pouring broth onto the dipping sauce so you can slurp it all up at the end – apparently there’s one with yuzu on it to give it an enhanced fragrance so be sure to go for that. I personally prefer Menya Itto but if you are not willing to travel to Shin Koiwa to queue for the best, then Rokurinsha will be enough to satisfy your tastebuds.

Rokurinsha

Tokyo Ramen Street, Tokyo Station B1 near Yaesu South Exit.

Opening Hours: 7:30–10AM, 10:30AM–11PM

Note: there’s a Haneda Airport branch as well that opens for 24 hours – I’m unsure if the quality is the same though.


Yoroniku – Best place for wagyu beef!

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If you want to have the best beef in your life. Look no further than Yoroniku. It is one of the highest rated restaurant in Tokyo and earned a gold medal for 2018 in Japan. You will find it difficult to find any beef that can even be close to as delicious as this meal ever again! LOL!


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We went for the 7500 yen course and was amazed at the quality of the different parts of the beef.


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They will help you cook the meat piece by piece and show you how to enjoy it. There’s probably about 8 – 10 pieces of beef from different parts of the cow depending on what set you are ordering – and we savour every single bite! SOOOO DELICIOUS!!

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For us – if there was only one restaurant we would want to choose – it would be Yoroniku hands down! The only problem was the difficulty in getting a reservation!

Yoroniku

150-0013 Tokyo, Shibuya, Ebisu, 1 Chome−11−5 GEMS 8F

(near JR Yamanote Line or Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Ebisu Station)

Opens daily: 5:00 pm – 12:00 am

Phone: 03-3440-4629 (you need to ask your Japanese friend or hotel to help you book the place as they don’t seem to take foreign bookings due to too many cancellations)


Tonkatsu

Ahhhh tonkatsu! I had my first bite of good Tonkatsu surprisingly at Manila but in Tokyo – the two holy grail of Tonkatsus are located very near each other at Takadanobaba! The queue can be one hour to three hours long depending on the time but the tip is to arrive and queue half an hour before the restaurant open so you only need to queue half an hour at the most. Do note that I went to Narikura on a rainy day and there was already a queue half an hour before opening!


Tonta

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Tonta in my opinion has a better crust compared to Narikura. I dare say it’s one of the best crust in a tonkatsu I’ve ever tasted! This is a lighter tonkatsu in comparison to Narikura as well.


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There’s an English menu and ordering is simpler as there’s not as much variety and choice. It was an enjoyable experience especially how crispy and light the crust is!

Tonta

3-17-8 Takada Toshima Tokyo (near Takadanobaba station)

Tuesday, Wednesday Friday : 11:30~13:30, 18:00~21:00

Saturday: 18:00~21:00

Narikura

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Narikura is regarded by many as the best tonkatsu in Tokyo or maybe Japan itself. I think one of the reason is that they offer very high quality pork that you can’t seem to find anywhere else. Interesting choices of Kiramugi (my personal favourite) breed as well as Yukimuro-Jukusei buta (snow aged pork), while you can also choose your cut of meat! There are also leaner breeds such as the common Kurobuta (Japanese Black Pig) and Iwachu Buta (Rock Pork) and Aguu which is leaner and stronger pork flavour (Okinawa breed)


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My wife prefer the Yukimuro-Jukusei buta because of the tender texture from the snow aging but I felt the Kiramugi was juicier and packs more flavour. Japan would probably be the only place I’ll enjoy pork cooked medium! My personal opinion is that the crust breaks apart too easily and not as enjoyable as Tonta. I felt Tonta lost out on not having a wider or better selection of pork but their breading is definitely better.

Narikura

1-32-11 Takadanobaba Shinjuku Tokyo

Closes on Thursday and Sundays

Opens: 11:00〜13:30,  17:30〜20:00


Which is better?

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In terms of the quality of the pork – Narikura would be my choice while in terms of breading and frying skill – Tonta is my choice. My personal suggestion is definitely to try both of them. Are they the best in Japan? To me – the best is actually Manger in Osaka. Read about Manger in my Osaka Food Guide


Okonomiyaki Kiji

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While I have to say the best okonomiyaki comes from Osaka – my wife was craving for some in Tokyo and with my research, I found Okonomiyaki Kiji as the most reviewed and highest rated Okonomiyaki in Tokyo!


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I love to sit where I can see them cook the okomomiyaki live! Pretty good Okonomiyaki!


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One of the chefs is pretty handsome so that’s a plus for many~~ LOL


Okonomiyaki Kiji

2-7-3 Marunouchi Chiyoda Tokyo (inside Tokyo Building Tokia – walk 6 minutes from Tokyo Station)

Opens daily: 11AM–3PM, 5–11PM


Nabezo – best value Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki

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If you want to have high quality beef and pork shabu shabu and sukiyaki for a reasonable price – look no further than famous chain Nabezo. It features all you can eat and drink items while you enjoy your hot pot meal! Sukiyaki is one of my favourite things to eat – where you lightly cook your thin slices of beef or pork on a soy broth – then coat them with raw pasteurized egg yolk to create a creamy sensation when you eat the meat!


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You can go for the cheaper 1800 yen version but I highly recommend the 2800 course for more premium quality pork and beef – Japanese Kuroge Wagyu, or black-haired beef, and Matsuzaka Pork!

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*DROOLS* We personally ate like 10 portions of each! LOL


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Comes with all the hot and cold drinks you want – there’s an option for all you can drink Japanese beer too  ~~


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Lovely fresh vegetables for your shabu shabu ~~~

Nabezo Restaurant

http://nabe-zo.com/lan_en/restaurant_search_en/ 

Simply google map  “Nabezo” for your nearest branch


Honmura An Soba Noodles

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Honmura An owner Koichi Kobari started his soba joint in New York but he returned to Japan to take over the reins at his late father’s Roppongi eatery in 2007. New York's loss is Japan's gain as Michelin starred Honmura An serves up delectable hand made soba served cold with dipping sauce or with this fragrant duck soup.


Honmura An

7 Chome-14-18 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032, Japan (Near Roppongi Station)

Opens daily: 12–2:30PM, 5:30–10PM

Japanese Curry Rice

The number one Curry Rice place in Tokyo is actually called Tomato – at Ogikubo Station – but since it’s a bit out of the way I don’t think many people would go that far just for curry rice. Furthermore, their style of curry is quite different from the typical Japanese curry that I love. If you want to try – you will need to be there at least half an hour before opening times or you won’t be able to get a seat – note that their curry is pretty expensive as well! You are looking at 25-40 SGD for curry rice!


CURRY HOUSE CoCo ICHIBANYA

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You might be wondering what Coco Ichibanya – a popular chain is doing in my best of Tokyo but they are easy to find and hasn’t disappoint every time I stepped into any of their branches. They tend to open pretty late too which makes it a big bonus. I like how simple everything is and easy to customize your curry and whatever fried proteins you want. I really like their pan fried chicken!


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Choose how spicy you want ~ any extra toppings and how much rice you want ~~ I sometimes like to have both tonkatsu and fried chicken together ~~ you might even add some prawn cutlets to the curry party ~

CURRY HOUSE CoCo ICHIBANYA

Just google map search "Coco Ichibanya”


J.S Curry

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I found J.S Curry by accident to be honest. I was craving for curry and it was raining pretty heavily so I googled for the nearest curry places around Shibuya – and J.S curry happens to be the nearest decent curry place. Their curry is a combination of Indian curry – making use of the spices very well – fusing it with Japanese favourite ingredients like tonkatsus and perfectly custardy eggs~ I was quite happy that their J.S signature curry is really good – and be sure the enjoy the egg with the curry!


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We tried other types of curry too just to get a feel of the other types – not bad but I still prefer their J.S curry


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Their Curry Buns are very popular and lots of locals were having them. Worth a try too! Sorry for the bad picture ~~ it was raining heavily and I was standing outside their shop trying to take a picture~

J.S Curry

2-23-11 Dogenzaka | 1f, Shibuya 150-0043, Tokyo Prefecture


Hirosaku – Affordable Michelin star lunch

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Hirosaku (ひろ作), manned by chef Satoshi Watanabe (渡辺聡) and his wife, is a Michelin star home style restaurant in Shinbashi. Their 6 course lunch meal is only 3300 yen per person but you need to get a local friend to call and book for you one or two months in advanced. The dinner is more expensive at 30 000 yen but I might give it a try one day!


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Chef makes one of the best tempuras I’ve tasted – it was amazing to watch how he meticulously pat the flour on the vegetables lightly to fry ~~


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Chef Watanabe this Juwari soba mixes two types of buckwheat — with and without bran — and freshly ground every morning. The light texture and flavour of the soba is a truly unique sensation. Ahhh oishii ~~


Lature – Michelin Star French Dining

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When I first heard about Lature – I only knew it was an affordable Michelin Star – French Fine Dining and was one of the top 50 restaurants in Japan. I was excited when my friend managed to secure a reservation to the restaurant but I was amazed that their head chef Takuto Murota specializes in game cuisine, basically the game is hunted by himself, a licensed hunter, and prepared using traditional French techniques!


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We got unique appetizers like this deer blood macaron ~ which was delicious!


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One of the most gorgeous salmon I’ve tasted!


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A very interesting Terrine tart comprising of three game meats: deer, wild boar and bear! An interesting contrast of flavours and textures indeed!


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My wife was initially taken aback by the thought of eating game – but she soon savoured every moment. A very enjoyable lunch!


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The beautiful ending to our meal ~~


Lature

2 Chome-2-2 Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0002, Japan

Closes on Sunday: 11:30AM–3PM, 6–11PM


Cafes of Tokyo

The coffee scene is Japan has influenced the world of coffee with their Harios and Kalitas, making Japan one of the great places for a coffee pilgrimage! Tokyo itself is home to some of the old school Kissaten coffee shops as well as the growing influence of third wave coffee movements. I will introduce a good mix of such cafes for you to enjoy your cafe hopping in Tokyo!


Cafe de L’ambre

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Café de L’ambre is kissaten (coffeehouse) has been around since 1940s where centurian Sekiguchi Ichiro, over one-hundred years-old, is a living legend to the art of coffee while introducing aged coffee beans to the picture.


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He stumbled upon the art of aging green coffee beans by chance as during the World War, some coffee shipments were delayed and when he finally got it – he realized that aged beans can develop great flavour so he experimented for more than 40 years – finding out that some taste better while some don’t. Talk about passion!


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I personally tried a coffee bean that was from the eighties and boy – that was amazing. You gotta try it yourself!


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Come pay homage to the living legend if you are in Tokyo – and be sure to try some of their aged coffee beans!

Cafe de L’ambre

8 Chome-10-15 Ginza, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0061, Japan

Opens from 12pm – 9:30pm on Monday to Saturday, 12pm – 6:30pm on Sundays and Holidays


Sanjikken

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Sanjikken is a lovely place for a cup of coffee – while playing bossa nova music in the background. They are popular for their drip coffee – and usually served in coffee pots like these. You will have quite a good selection of coffee beans and desserts to choose from here. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the coffee here tasted – ahhhh ~~ you can add milk if you want – but I love mine black!


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There’s a minimum order of one pot of coffee per person – do take note of that as it’s good enough for two cups of coffee per pot – you are gonna be enjoying them slowly! Enjoy with their nice selection of desserts too!

Sanjikken Coffee House Ginza

3-8-12 Ginza | B1f, Ginza, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture

Opens: 11AM–10PM Daily


Gorilla Coffee

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Brooklyn based Gorilla Coffee is a lovely place for a great cuppa and you gotta love their Gorilla logo! It’s a lovely place for breakfast brunch items as well as cakes to go with your coffee. They have interesting coffee called the Gorilla’s Red Eye – a shot of espresso added to their drip coffee.


Gorilla Coffee

http://gorillacoffee.jp/ Search google maps for the nearest branch!


Streamer Coffee Company

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Started in Shibuya by famous latte art barista Hiroshi Sawada who wrote the book Hiroshi’s Latte Art and Barista Style, Streamer Coffee Company is an excellent place for a great cup of free pour latte. They also have pretty unique names for their coffees – such as the military latte which is actually a matcha latte, with a shot of espresso and some white chocolate.

Streamer Coffee Company

Check their website for the nearest branch.

https://streamer.coffee/location.html


Turret Coffee

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When you visit Tsujiki market – you must stop by Turret coffee, which is named after the ‘turret’ mini-trucks spotted around the Tsukiji fish market. The coffee is pretty good here but do note that every single person must order one drink to have a seat or even sit outside the cafe due to its popularity. It is understandable as seats are very limited here.


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There’s not much variety to be fair but they are conveniently located near Tsujiki market – and I must had more than three cups of coffee from here while visiting Tokyo. Every cup has been consistently good.

Turret Coffee

2-12-6 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture


Fuglen Tokyo

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Scandinavian Fuglen coffee open its doors in 2012 with Kojima to introduce Japan to Norwegian style light citrusy coffee. It had a difficult start but now it’s packed with fans of their lovely coffee from around the world.


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Sit by the bar to get a glimpse of their coffee making and their gorgeous Slayer coffee machine! *swoons*

Fuglen Tokyo

1 Chome-16-11 Tomigaya, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0063, Japan


The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

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A minimalist style coffee place situated in the fashionable Cat Street – Nozy Coffee focuses on the roots of good coffee. Don’t expect any Starbucks kinda stuff here. The main focus here is to let you enjoy single origin beans through espresso, americano or latte – and not distracted by creams, flavourings and sweeteners. This is a place where you get to know coffee – savour it ~~


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Enjoy a cup of coffee while walking around the famous Cat Street – ahh ~~


The Roastery by Nozy Coffee

5 Chome-17-13 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan

Opens 10am -  10pm daily


Camelback Sandwich and Espresso

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Camelback Sandwich and Espresso was opend by barista Keitaro Suzuki and former sushi chef Hayato Naruse, It was interesting to see Hayato’s passion to become a sandwich master chef as he creates delicious sandwiches to match the lovely coffee in this hole in the wall shop. Perfect for that instagram shot while serving great sandwich and coffee!


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They were very friendly and we had a great conversation about food and coffee!


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We tried their apple brie sandwich which was delicious! I wanted to try other sandwiches but they were sold out unfortunately. That gives me more reason to come back next time!


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Camelback sandwich & espresso

42-2 Kamiyamacho | 1f, Shibuya 150-0047, Tokyo Prefecture

Opens 8am – 5pm. Closes on Monday


Little Nap Coffee Stand

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Little Nap COFFEE STAND is a cozy coffee shop near Yoyogi Park where you enjoy coffee with a great view of beautiful greeneries. You can have a good view sitting inside – or sit at some of the benches outside the stand. Strong coffee, doughnuts and be sure to try out their ice cream!

Little Nap Coffee Stand

5 Chome-65-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya, Tokyo 151-0053, Japan

Opens 9am – 7pm. Closes on Monday


Sembikiya Fruits Dessert Parlour

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Have you ever wondered what these expensive Japanese melons taste like? Sembikiya is one of the oldest fruit shop in Japan (since 1834!) They have quite a few branches where they use their expensive fruits to make desserts!


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This would be an excellent chance to try them out and I gotta say they are pretty and delicious!


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*drools*


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Sembikiya Tokyo Station branch

1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-0005

Within Tokyo Meihin-kan, located in the Minami Guchi (southern entrance) of JR Tokyo Station

Opens 6:30am – 9:30pm


A Happy Pancake - Japan Fluffy Pancakes!

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My wife was looking at @cheeserland and saw A Happy Pancake so she requested that I bring her there. We were lucky as we walked in the queue wasn’t that long – probably only 20 minutes wait but when we finished eating – we saw the queue had gone up to almost one to two hours long!


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They have both savoury and sweet variations of their pancakes – though I much prefer their sweet fruity ones!


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My brunch savoury pancake (wholewheat or wholegrain I think?) with thick cut bacon, eggs and tomatoes.


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Happy Wife ~~~ Happy Life ~~ Thanks Happy Pancake! Haha ~~


A Happy Pancake

Look out for their five branches across Tokyo: Omotesando, Shibuya, Ginza, Ikebukuro, and Kichijoji.


Other great fluffy pancake places you can check out


Cafe and Pancake Gram

Branches in Harajuku, Kichijoji, and Kudanshita


Burn Side St Cafe

4 Chome-29-9 Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan


Flippers

Branches from :Jiyugaoka, Shimokitazawa, Daikanyama, and Kichijoji.


Uzna Omom

5-17-8 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo


Yukinoshita Ginza

1-20-10 Ginza | 3F Tomato Bldg., Ginza, Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture


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Note that in my two trips to Tokyo – I did not manage to scout the top rated dessert places in Tokyo. I did however managed to go to the best in Kyoto and Hokkaido but that’s for another post! I hope you enjoyed my guide to the best affordable eats in Tokyo!

My other Japan Guides


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Don’t forget to

Follow @Thanislim on Instagram

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Be sure to read my other food guides in my travel guides section!

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