Middle Eastern and African restaurants

Turkish

Cappadocia (Ikebukuro - Turkish). 3987-6049
This friendly neighborhood spot offers a big menu of Turkish favorites, including numerous lamb dishes. Budget around Y2000 at dinnertime for food; multi-course prix-fixe dinners are priced Y2800-4500.
SunmapMinami-Ikebukuro 3-8-3. Open noon-10:30pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Bosphorus Hasan (Shinjuku 2-chome) (Shinjuku Gyoen-mae - Turkish). 6380-6412
One of Tokyo's better Turkish spots, offering a good selection of shish kebabs, Turkish pizzas, salads, and other authentic fare. Budget around Y3000 at dinnertime.
SunmapShinjuku 2-7-2. Open 11:30am-11:30pm daily.
Bosphoras Hasan (Shinjuku - Turkish). 3354-7947
One of the better Turkish restaurants in town, Bosphoras offers a wide selection of shish kebabs, Turkish pizzas, salads, and other authentic fare. There's a belly dance show at 8pm on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, so plan accordingly.
SunmapShinjuku 3-6-11, 2F. Open 5-11:30pm daily.
Istanbul (Shinjuku - Turkish). 3225-4080
Tasty and reasonably priced Turkish food in a comfortable, cozy room.
SunmapShinjuku 3-8-2. Open 5-11pm daily.
Kebab Box J (Harajuku - Turkish). 3470-0706
First-rate doner kebabs, substantial in size, ready to take home or just eat on the sidewalk outside the shop. Kebabs are chicken, beef, or mixed, served in toasted pita bread and topped with a sauce that's mild, medium or extra-spicy. Y500.
SunmapJingumae 1-8-8, Coxy 188 Bldg 1F. Open 10:30am-9pm daily.
Gelik (Gaienmae - Turkish). 3404-9177
There's a belly dancer Friday and Saturday nights, starting at 8pm.
mapMinami-Aoyama 4-9-30, 2F. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
!Ankara (Shibuya - Turkish). 3780-1366
A very appetizing selection of appetizers and an impressive assortment of kebabs and chef's specialties for such a small restaurant. The chef isn't afraid of spices, using more red pepper and garlic than is usual for Tokyo. The interior is spare, but the music adds to the atmosphere.
SunmapDogenzaka 1-14-9, B1F. Open 5:30-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Anatolia (Shibuya - Turkish). 3486-2995
Nicely prepared mezes and kebabs from an extensive menu. Open Mon-Sat for lunch and dinner, Sunday dinner only.
SunmapShibuya 2-19-20. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Burgaz Ada (Azabu-Juban - Turkish). 3769-0606
The recipes at Burgaz Ada are from Constantinople, not Istanbul, as the chef is ambitiously working to recreate historical dishes from the Ottoman Empire - the roots of modern Turkish cuisine. Full-course menus Y6,900-13,650, wines from Y4,500/bottle. An a la carte menu is available after 9pm.
lateSunmapAzabu-Juban 3-7-4, Azabu Rikudo 3F. Open 6pm-2am daily.
Istanbul (Akasaka - Turkish). 3501-4080
Good Turkish cooking from this Tokyo Turkish pioneer (the original Shinjuku restaurant has been in business since 1988). Belly dancing Wednesday through Saturday nights. Budget around Y4000 at dinnertime.
mapNagatacho 2-14-3, Akasaka Tokyu Plaza 2F. Open 11:30am-3, 5-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Istanbul (Ginza - Turkish). 6252-4080
Good Turkish cooking from this Tokyo Turkish pioneer. Budget around Y4000 at dinnertime. Lunch is served on weekends.
SunmapGinza 7-2-saki, Ginza Corridor 1F. Open 5-11pm daily.

Middle Eastern

Palmyra (Ikebukuro - Middle Eastern). 3981-8293
Syrian cuisine; prix-fixe dinner menus from Y2800, or a la carte.
SunmapIkebukuro 2-58-8, TO Bldg 2F. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Mondays.
Bistro Hitsujiya (Yoyogi - Middle Eastern). 3320-3651
Everyone's favorite Yoyogi-area all-lamb restaurant. They do kebabs from all over, cous cous and lamb steaks. There's also a big menu of Cajun specialties, including some serious gumbo.
mapYoyogi 1-59-1. (located midway between Nishi-Shinjuku and Yoyogi) Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Tajinya (Gaienmae - Middle Eastern). 3405-6018
As the name implies, tagine stews are the specialty here, but the kitchen also serves up a good selection of kebabs, cous cous dishes, salads and soups. The spacious dining room offers a nice view out over Gaien-Nishi-dori. There are nightly performances of traditional Moroccan music at 9:30pm, and belly dance performances on weekends - call for details. Prix-fixe dinners are Y2500-5500, or budget around Y3500 for dinner with a few drinks if you order a la carte.
SunmapMinami-Aoyama 3-2-3, Katorea Bldg 2F. Open 11am-2:30, 5:30-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Kuumba du Falafel (Shibuya - Middle Eastern). 6416-8396
Falafel sandwiches and platters, hummus and lentil soup are served at this tiny eight-seat cafe, and everything is available to take out.
SunmapShinsencho 23-1. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-8:30pm (LO; Sun -6). Closed Mondays.
Aladdin (Nishi-Azabu - Middle Eastern). 3401-8851
Nicely done kebabs and other authentic Persian dishes, from the management of the former Ali Baba. They offer a Y1200 buffet at lunchtime, every day but Sunday.
SunmapNishi-Azabu 3-2-6. Open 11:30-2, 5:30-10:30pm daily.
Hitsujiya (Yotsuya 3-chome - Middle Eastern). 5357-7920
Lamb dishes from the Middle East, Asia and Europe are the mainstay this rather specialized bistro, along with Cajun dishes. There's also an interesting selection of budget wines. Dinner with drinks runs around Y3000-4000, while lunch starts at Y850.
SunmapYotsuya 3-13-24, Mizuki Bldg 2F. Open 11:30am-2, 6:30-10:30pm (LO) daily.
!Al Mina (Kanda - Middle Eastern). 5297-3789
Al Mina, Tokyo's only Palestinian restaurant, serves great Middle-Eastern cuisine and some decent Lebanese and Palestinian wines. The warm, inviting space includes a comfortable sofa area where hookahs can be enjoyed, a slightly fancier gold-themed dining area with a wall of mirrors, and a small stage where a Friday-night belly dance performance takes place. [Show more]
mapKanda Tacho 2-2-3, Genki Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
!Pao (Higashi-Nakano - Middle Eastern). 3371-3750
We love it when restaurants improve with age, and the food at Pao has gotten noticeably better over time. It was always a fun destination - you sit on thick carpets at tiny tables while listening to great music from Afghanistan and environs - and it attracts a young and hip crowd. The menu focuses on the cuisines of northern Pakistan and Afghanistan - the area around Peshawar to be exact - and native chefs prepare excellent kebabs, lamb dishes, and a variety of spicy stews (called karahi). The grilled haloumi, garlicky stir-fried lettuce and grilled tomatoes make nice starters.
SunmapHigashi-Nakano 2-25-6. Open 6pm-midnight (LO 10:45). Closed Mondays.
!Carthago (Nakano - Middle Eastern). 3384-9324
Terrific Turkish, Tunisian, and Lebanese specialties, great music, and a very comfortable atmosphere. The wine list covers the Mediterranean from Spain to Algeria to Morocco, with some nice Spanish choices. The couscous and tajine dishes are especially good, as are the lamb kebabs and the mixed appetizer platters.
SunmapNakano 3-34-3. Open 6-10pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
!Whale (Koenji - Middle Eastern). 5327-8682
Well-selected and reasonably priced craft beers and wines are complemented by simple Middle Eastern fare (tajines, dips, falafel) at this tiny drinking spot. Located next to a sister shop called Kujira Curry Bar and across from a Vietnamese BBQ stall, Whale is one of more than a dozen bars and mini-restaurants making up the Dai-ichi Ichiba restaurant arcade, a retro-style, indoor "food alley" just north of Koenji station. [Show more]
lateSunmapKoenji-Kita 3-22-8, Dai-ichi Ichiba. Open 5pm-2am daily.
Enrique Maruesco (Higashi-Kitazawa - Middle Eastern). 3467-1106
Moroccan cuisine.
no smokingmapKitazawa 3-1-15, Coop Inage. Open 6-9:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Uchimura Egyptian Deli Shop (Higashi-Kitazawa - Middle Eastern). 3468-2715
The Egyptian fare at this tiny deli-style shop is tasty and impressively inexpensive. Well-seasoned mutton and chicken-spinach curries run Y500-600, and come with rice or pita bread. Chicken and lamb shawarma sandwiches (Y500) make a nice take-out snack along with simple but delectable side dishes like tabouli salad and fuul (mashed fava beans with peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic). [Show more]
mapKitazawa 3-2-11. Open 11am-8:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Roiseau (Sangenjaya - Middle Eastern). 3418-8603
With just twelve seats Dar Roiseau may be the smallest Moroccan restaurant in town, but the kitchen manages to turn out an impressive variety of Middle Eastern dishes. There's also a nice selection of French and Moroccan wines by the glass or bottle. [Show more]
mapSangenjaya 2-13-17. Open 11:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Le Maghreb (Futago-tamagawa - Middle Eastern). 3709-2664
A casual cafe serving real Moroccan cuisine - lamb and dried fruit tajine, grilled snapper flavored with garlic, and spicy meat kebabs. Prix-fixe dinner is Y3900. Open till 2am Fri/Sat; lunch served on weekends.
SunmapTamagawa 3-10-11. Open 5-11:30pm. Closed Mondays.
Sabalan (Jiyugaoka - Middle Eastern). 5701-0012
A charming little shop serving Persian and Turkish cuisine, including various kebabs, at reasonable prices. Open all afternoon.
SunmapJiyugaoka 1-28-8, Jiyugaoka Depaato 2F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
!Al Ain (Yokohama Kannai - Middle Eastern). 045-251-6199
Arabic, Lebanese and Moroccan food (set dinners for each, or a la carte) prepared by Lebanese owner/chef Ziad, formerly a chef at the Kuwaiti embassy. From the superb mezze and pita bread to delicious grilled meats and perfect cous cous to the sweet baklava and other desserts, you're assured of a complete Middle Eastern experience. If that isn't enough, order a hookah with a bowl of apple-flavored tobacco to share with everyone else at your table while you watch the belly dancing (Friday and Saturday nights from 8:30).
SunmapYayoicho 2-17, Stalk Tower Ohdori-Koen Bldg. B1F. (along Ohdori Koen, about 3 min. west of Isezaki Chojamachi subway station exit 6, at Yayoicho 2-chome crossing, underneath a Family Mart) Open 5:30-11pm. Closed Mondays.

North Asian

!!Shilingol (Sugamo - Mongolian). 5978-3837
A charming, unassuming converted coffee shop where every surface is covered by bric-a-brac - spice jars, tea-making equipment, musical instruments, wooden carvings of horses, and the like. The food menu here is dominated by lamb dishes, such as nicely seasoned, spicy kebabs (Y1000 for 3); a richly flavored lamb and vegetable stew; garlicky lamb dumplings; and a shabu-shabu hotpot dish. There's a live performance of traditional Mongolian music every night at 8pm. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunmapSengoku 4-11-9. Open 6-9:45pm (LO) daily.
Ulaan Baatar (Ryogoku - Mongolian). 6411-4298
The lamb-heavy menu at Ulaan Baatar attracts a good portion of the local Mongolian community, including the occasional sumo wrestler. (One of the chefs here is in fact the mother of a Mongolian sumo wrestler.) Recommended dishes include banshtai tsai (Mongolian milk soup with meat dumplings) and buuz dumplings (ground lamb, onions and garlic in a flour shell).
SunmapRyogoku 3-22-11. Open 4pm-midnight. Closed Tuesdays.
Silkroad Tarim (Hatsudai - Uygur). 6276-7799
Mutton-focused Uyghur cuisine from Western China is the unusual specialty at this neighborhood noodle shop. Handmade leghmen noodles, long thick noodles topped with stir-fried meats and vegetables, are perhaps the most famous dish of the region, but the real standouts here are the beautifully spiced lamb and other kebabs. [Show more]
SunmapNishi-Shinjuku 3-15-8. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Mondays.

Israeli

!Ta-im (Ebisu - Israeli). 5424-2990
Great Middle-Eastern fare - falafel, hummus, Israeli-style salads - and various Israeli wines by the bottle, all at reasonable prices. The Y1300 Ta-im lunch plate offers a good sampling of the menu, with portions of Israeli salad, falafel, hummus, babaganoush and other vegetable spreads, along with lentils and rice, toasted pita bread, pumpkin soup, dessert and a drink. [Show more]
SunmapEbisu 1-29-16. Open 11am-3:30, 5:30-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Shamaim (Ekoda - Israeli). 3948-5333
An Israeli restaurant and pub, one minute from Ekoda south exit. They serve falafel, humus, salads, stuffed pastries and soups, plus shish kebab and one or two other meat dishes. 50 seats; reservations recommended. The all-you-can-eat special is Y2,000. Open noon-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.
SunmapSakaecho 4-11, Art Bldg 2F. Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Mondays.

African

Esogie (Shinjuku - African). 3353-3334
Esogie's owner Lucky Isiwe has recreated a little slice of Lagos in Shinjuku 3-Chome. Nigerian funk plays on the bar's powerful sound system, and there's always something good cooking on the stove. [Show more]
SunmapShinjuku 3-11-2, Muraki Bldg 3F. Open 6pm-midnight (Fri, Sat -4am). Closed Wednesdays.
Teranga (Ebisu - African). 3461-7475
This African bar-restaurant serves Senegalese dishes like mufe peanut stew and thiebou yapp (marinated beef with onions, olives and garlic), plus original fare like egg pizza and bar snacks.
SunmapEbisu-Nishi 1-8-10, Takahashi Bldg 3F. Open 5pm-12:30am. Closed Tuesdays.
Calabash (Hamamatsucho - African). 3433-0884
Malian and Senegalese cuisine is served here, along with South African wines.
mapHamamatsucho 2-10-1. Open 6-11pm. Closed Sundays.
Safari (Akasaka - African). 5571-5854
Home-style African dishes from across the continent and a great soundtrack of African music are the draws at this festive little bar-restaurant. The menu covers the range from simple kebabs, pilafs and stews to more exotic items like ostrich steak, fried crocodile and kangaroo. [Show more]
SunmapAkasaka 3-13-1, Bells Akasaka 2F. Open 11am-3, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Tribes (Yotsuya 3-chome - African). 070-5366-0092
Formerly located in Kagurazaka, this small neighborhood bar serves a menu of African and African-inspired dishes like cous cous, peanut-chicken stew, and tasty boerewors sausage. Thrill seekers can sample sauteed camel, crocodile steaks and fried beef lung. [Show more]
mapArakicho 7-14-101, Axas Yotsuya Sanchome 1F. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Africa Tairiku (Kichijoji - African). 0422-49-7302
Popular with members of the African expat community, African Continent serves West African food and hosts regular concert nights. Menu suggestions include yam and fish soup, moimoi (tofu made from black eyed peas) and suiya (grilled mutton).
SunmapKichijoji Minamicho 2-13-4, Unius Office One B103. Open 7pm-2am. Closed Mondays.
Queen Sheba (Naka-Meguro - Ethiopian). 3794-1801
It's hard to describe Ethiopian food as bland, but many of the dishes here taste very similar, and aren't as exciting as they ought to be. They also have live entertainment, including magic shows.
SunmapHigashiyama 1-3-1. Open 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.