Tokyo Restaurants

Tokyo is undoubtedly one of the most exciting dining cities in the world. Seasonal ingredients reign supreme here, and there's an emphasis on freshness—not surprising given raw seafood is the cornerstone of sushi. And though Tokyoites still stubbornly resist foreign concepts in many fields, the locals have embraced outside culinary styles with gusto.

While newer restaurants targeting younger diners strive for authenticity in everything from New York–style bagels to Neapolitan pizza, it is still not uncommon to see menus serving East-meets-West concoctions such as spaghetti topped with cod roe and shredded seaweed. That said, the city’s best French and Italian establishments can hold their own on a global scale. Naturally, there's also excellent Japanese cuisine available throughout the city, ranging from the traditional to nouveau, which can be shockingly expensive.

That is not to imply that every meal in the city will drain your finances—the current rage is all about "B-kyu gurume" (B-class gourmet), restaurants that fill the gap between nationwide chains and fine cuisine, serving tasty Japanese and Asian food without the extra frills of tablecloths and lacquerware. All department stores and most skyscrapers have at least one floor of restaurants that are accessible, affordable, and reputable.

Asakusa is known for its tempura, and Tsukiji prides itself on its fresh sashimi, which is available in excellent quality throughout the city. Ramen is a passion for many locals, who travel across town or stand in line for an hour in order to sit at the counter of a shop rumored to have the perfect balance of noodles and broth. Even the neighborhood convenience stores will offer colorful salads, sandwiches, and a selection of beer and sake. There have been good and affordable Indian and Chinese restaurants in the city for decades. As a result of increased travel by the Japanese to more exotic locations, Thai, Vietnamese, and Turkish restaurants have popped up around the city. When in doubt, note that Tokyo's top-rated international hotels also have some of the city's best places to eat and drink.

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  • 1. Baird Taproom Harajuku

    $$ | Shibuya-ku | Japanese

    Founded by American Bryan Baird in 2000, Baird Brewing has become one of the leaders in Japan's now booming craft-beer movement, with a range...Read More

  • 2. Enju

    $$$$ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    The grand exterior and pristine banquet rooms are somewhat uninviting and overly formal at this upscale restaurant in the quiet surroundings...Read More

  • 3. Inakaya East

    $$$$ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    The style here is robatayaki, a dining experience that segues into pure theater. Inside a large U-shape counter, two cooks in traditional...Read More

  • 4. Kushiyaki Ganchan

    $$$ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    Smoky, noisy, and cluttered, Ganchan is exactly what the Japanese expect of their yakitori joints—restaurants that specialize in bits of charcoal...Read More

  • 5. Nihonbashi Yukari

    $$$$ | Nihombashi | Japanese

    Anyone looking to experience Japanese haute cuisine in a more relaxed atmosphere should look to this kappo -style restaurant, where diners...Read More

  • 6. Robata Honten

    $$$ | Marunouchi | Japanese

    Old, funky, and more than a little cramped, Robata is a bit daunting at first, but fourth-generation chef-owner Takao Inoue holds forth here...Read More

  • 7. Shin Hinomoto

    $$ | Marunouchi | Japanese

    Also known as "Andy's," this izakaya is located directly under the tracks of the Yamanote Line, making the wooden interior shudder each time...Read More

  • 8. Ume no Hana

    $$$$ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    The exclusive specialty here is tofu, prepared in more ways than you can imagine—boiled, steamed, stir-fried with minced crabmeat, served in...Read More

  • 9. Afuri

    $ | Shibuya-ku | Japanese

    Ramen is the quintessential Japanese fast food: thick Chinese noodles in a bowl of savory broth topped with sliced grilled chashu (pork loin...Read More

  • 10. Afuri Ramen

    Shinjuku-ku | Japanese

    Just south of the Shinjuku station, this chain ramen house serves up ramen with hints of citrus in the broth, turning this often heavy dish...Read More

  • 11. Crayon House Hiroba

    $ | Shibuya-ku | Japanese

    Connected to a natural-foods store, and with natural airy wooden interiors to match, Crayon House serves Japanese and Western dishes with a...Read More

  • 12. Daikokuya Tempura

    $$ | Asakusa | Japanese

    Daikokuya, in the center of Asakusa's historic district, is a point of pilgrimage for both locals and tourists. The specialty here is shrimp...Read More

  • 13. Darumaya

    $ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    The classic bowl of ramen is topped with slices of pork, but Darumaya, in the fashion district of Omotesando, has a slightly different take...Read More

  • 14. Fukumori

    $ | Akihabara | Japanese

    Located in the historic former Manseibashi Train Station, Fukumori features light meals from Yamagata Prefecture in the north of Japan. The...Read More

  • 15. Heiroku Sushi

    $$ | Shibuya-ku | Japanese

    Often, a meal of sushi is a costly indulgence. The rock-bottom alternative is a kaiten-zushi, where it is literally served assembly line–style...Read More

  • 16. Ippudo

    $ | Minato-ku | Japanese

    Open from 11 am to 4 am most days (it closes at 1 am Sunday), this ever-busy ramen joint, now an international chain with 10 stores in Tokyo...Read More

  • 17. Kanda Matsuya

    $ | Akihabara | Japanese

    Soba, thin buckwheat noodles often served chilled in summer and hot in winter, are available everywhere, even convenience stores. The family...Read More

  • 18. Kanda Yabu Soba

    $ | Chiyoda-ku | Japanese

    The ever-popular Kanda Yabu Soba, located in a recently built but traditional building that replaced the original 130-year-old restaurant after...Read More

  • 19. Kappo Ajioka

    $$$$ | Chuo-ku | Japanese

    The appeal of Ajioka's seasonal specialties like fugu (puffer fish) and suppon (Japanese turtle) lies as much in the unique texture and experience...Read More

  • 20. Kawara Cafe & Dining

    $ | Shinjuku-ku | Japanese

    For a quick lunch, Kawara Cafe and Dining offers ¥1,000 set meals—think healthy curries and deli plates mixing Japanese and Western ingredients...Read More

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