(Takadanobaba - Italian). 3205-9182
Part of the Fealteria complex, this casual restaurant offers solid Italian fare, including pizzas, in an unpretentious, smoke-free dining room. Prix-fixe dinners are Y2100-5200. Weekday lunches run Y1000-3000, including several "salad lunches"; weekends are a bit fancier, from Y1500-3500.
(Wakamatsu-Kawada - Japanese). 6457-4145
Yakiton (charcoal-grilled pork on skewers) is the main dish here, but instead of a smoky izakaya the atmosphere is closer to a stylish wine bar, with a selection of wines by the glass (Y680-1000) to go with your skewers - a great combination.
(Shinjuku Gyoen-mae - Italian). 5366-2242
This spacious multi-level branch of the budget Italian chain is open all afternoon, and convenient when you're visiting Shinjuku Gyoen.
(Shinjuku - Thai). 3226-9991
Top-quality "Imperial" Thai cuisine, from a newish branch of this long-established Tokyo Thai restaurant. Budget around Y2500 for food at dinnertime.
Stylishly modern and surprisingly spacious, Meal Muji makes a pleasant retreat from the crowds of Shinjuku's shopping district. The decor is bright and cheerful, with ubiquitous sleek blond wood furnishings set off by clay-colored stucco walls and lots of greenery.
This branch of one of Tokyo's best kushiage chains has held up its quality level remarkably through the years, with good food, decent-quality sake and reasonable prices. Note that this is the non-smoking branch in this building, smoking is allowed on the eight floor.
Fantastic, authentic Taiwanese-style dumplings; including the hot-broth-filled shoronpo dumplings for which they're most famous. [Go to branch review]
Delicious Bretagne-style artisanal sweet crepes and savory buckwheat galettes are served along with hard cider and soft drinks imported from the region. When the weather permits, there's nice outdoor terrace seating next to the garden atop the Takashimaya/Times Square shopping complex.
Besides the usual tonkatsu they offer variations like deep-fried shrimp and scallops, yuba (tofu skin) croquettes, and nice side dishes like chawanmushi, tofu salad and kakuni stewed pork. The original shop is in Kyoto.
(Nishi-Shinjuku - French). 3342-5969
The setting here is bistro-style (closely spaced tables and a counter) and very casual, but the food is a cut above the usual bistro fare, with dishes like beef cheeks and anago eel stewed in red wine; sauteed fish in grapefruit sauce; game-meat pies; and well-prepared steak frites. Three-course prix-fixe dinners are Y3980, or you can order a la carte. Wines are fairly reasonable and not exclusively French.
MOF-award-winning chef Stephane Gaborieau presents a menu of modern French dishes popular at the Michelin-starred Parisian main branch of his restaurant - Basque-style anchovy-stuffed peppers with yogurt-chorizo sorbet; ris de veau with fondant-potato salad, and much more. Six-course dinners are Y11,500, or you can order a la carte.
The Hilton's Marble Lounge offers various special buffets throughout the day, including a breakfast buffet every day from 6:30 to 10:30am (to 11am on weekends).
(Nishi-Shinjuku - American). 3342-5814
They have one of Tokyo's best salad bars, but try to avoid the huge crowds and hour-long lines on weekends.
The first restaurant in Japan from Michelin three-star chef Michel Troisgros. Prix-fixe lunches are Y7,900-10,500; dinners are Y14,700-18,900.
Perhaps the best deli counter in town, with a huge selection of cold cuts, pates and salads. Lunches are priced from around Y1000, and breakfast is served on weekdays from 8 to 10:30am. The outdoor terrace seating is pleasant in warmer months.
This is the kind of unpretentious neighborhood trattoria that we love, serving good grilled meats and nice pastas, with some very reasonably priced wines in the Y3000-5000 range. Budget around Y2500-4000 for food at dinnertime.
This bistrot branch of the highly regarded L'Artemis restaurant in Jingumae offers a more casual experience and convenient late-night hours. The extensive wine list starts at around Y3000; budget Y4500-7500 for dinner.
Good panini and other Italian-style sandwiches, desserts, coffee, tea, and wine by the glass. There's a small counter area, but business is mostly take-out. No smoking.
Sendagaya 3-15-12. Open 8:30am-midnight. Closed Sundays.
While the decor is fairly ordinary for a neighborhood coffeeshop, the food, drinks and background music are all above average, and the whole room is non-smoking. Located next to Kita-Sando station on the Fukutoshin subway line.
Famous Kyushu ramen; kakuni (Chinese-style stewed pork) is one of their specialties, and helps explain the long lines at lunchtime.
(Harajuku - Australian). 5772-1133
Breakfast is served from 8:30am through the end of lunchtime, with signature dishes like sweetcorn fritters with roast tomato, spinach and bacon (Y1400), and ricotta hotcakes with fresh bananas and honeycomb butter (Y1400). Sitting atop the seven-story Tokyu Plaza shopping complex at the crossroads of Harajuku, the restaurant offers a nice view facing south towards Shibuya, with some outdoor terrace seating.
A very well-stocked sake shop, plus a small stand-up bar where you can try samples in small 50ml tasting sizes. Usually there are around ten sakes open for tasting, priced Y200-400. There's also a small snack menu - prosciutto, cheese, dried mentaiko. The retail side of the shop stocks over 100 premium brands of sake, and unlike many shops that seem to specialize in those humongous isshobin bottles that won't fit in your fridge, most of the sake here is in convenient 720ml bottles or in tiny single-serving mini-bottles.
There's great American-style barbecue and a nice collection of a dozen craft beers to wash it down at this cozy bar-restaurant located halfway along Cat Street. Weekday lunches start at Y1000, and during the evening you can snack on sandwiches (from Y1200) or indulge in mains like their voluminous four-meat platter with two side dishes (Y3800 for two people). In addition to beer, the bar carries well-chosen craft bourbons and other artisanal liquors. The soundtrack leans heavily towards the blues.
(Omotesando - Mediterranean). 5468-0881
From French celeb chef Alain Ducasse, a Mediterranean restaurant covering the cuisines of Italy, Spain, North Africa and Greece. The dining room is comfortable and attractively laid out, with nice views of Aoyama-dori, Shibuya and Shinjuku. Service is professional without being stiff. The wine list has some nice choices for under Y9000, and wine by the glass is fairly reasonable. Prix-fixe dinners from Y8,000, lunches from Y4500.
Inexpensive bakery and deli items and salads from the famous no-brand design store Mujirushi.
(Omotesando - Vietnamese). 050-5518-7837
Good, basic Vietnamese fare in the basement of an old office building. The lunch menu, served until 5pm, is pretty good for the price, with five lunch sets averaging around Y1000. Budget around Y4000 in the evening.
Minami-Aoyama 5-7-17, Ohara Kaikan B1F. Open 11am-11pm. Closed Sundays.
Late-night pastas at budget prices.
Two separate natural-food restaurants: "Hiroba", serving Japanese food, and "Home", with French cuisine. "Hiroba" offers a buffet lunch for Y1,200. (walk down Omotesando towards Harajuku, turn left at the Hanae Mori Building and walk one block)
(Gaienmae - Italian). 3497-1586
Skillfully constructed fish dishes and pastas from an extensive menu that changes daily.
Kurkku's attractive and spacious dining room is tucked into the back of a trendy-looking design shop, and the main focus is on the wood-burning grill at the heart of the open kitchen. The menu is built around premium grilled meats but also includes hefty portions of vegetables and greens. Prix-fixe dinners of ample size start at Y5500, and they include a vegetable-centered chef's menu. A few decent wines can be found for under Y6000, but it's easy to spend more if you want to splurge. The Y2800 three-course lunch is an especially good deal.
(Jingumae 2-chome - Hungarian). 5913-8073
Well-prepared Hungarian food and an excellent selection of around 40-50 Hungarian wines, mostly under Y10,000 and mostly served by the glass. The dining space has an old-fashioned European air about it, with a big wide counter area, three tables and a tiny private room off to one side.
Jingumae 2-19-5, Azuma Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-2, 6-9:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Shibuya - Tex-Mex). 5489-3332
California-style Mexican food and drinks, served in one of Tokyo's noisiest restaurants.
Reliable pastas and other Italian dishes, with convenient late-night hours.
From the owners of the Zest Mexican chain, a lively, fun place serving Southeast Asian dishes. The food is tasty (but not extremely authentic).
This newest venture from the popular budget Italian chain promises to serve "an Italian mama's home-cooked meals."
(Shibuya - Cafe). 5428-3322
Organic coffee and tea, breads made with 100% natural yeast, and a completely smoke-free environment - Bio Cafe provides body and mind a bit of respite in junk-food-glutted Shibuya. With its soft-spoken staff and walls that fade from fuchsia to pearly pink, this quiet little cafe along Spain-zaka attracts a stylish, almost exclusively female crowd.
(Shibuya - Beer bar). 3462-2983
One of Shibuya's more serious microbrew bars, The Aldgate offers 21 very nice craft beers on tap, mostly from Japan, Britain and the US. The food is English pub fare - Toad in the Hole, Cornish pasties, Daal Masala, Fish and Chips.
(Shibuya - Japanese). 5784-2011
Japanese cuisine and a late-night sushi bar.
(Shibuya - Italian). 3464-8511
Very good Sardinian cuisine and wines; budget around Y7000-8000 for dinner.
Dogenzaka 1-5-2, Sede Bldg 1F. Open 11:30am-2, 6pm-midnight (LO). Closed Sundays.
Fancy French food with a skyscraper view; prix-fixe dinners from Y8000, with lots of good wines in the Y10,000-15,000 range.
Occupying the second floor of a newish office building, Nakamura is a very tastefully appointed modern izakaya, with sophisticated lighting and sleek furnishings. A full crew of chefs work in the open kitchen area behind the massive central counter, which is the most entertaining place to sit. There's also a big shared table off to one side and several private dining rooms. The food is the sort of original seasonal cuisine that's popular in upscale dining bars, and there's a good sake list to match.
Deluxe-level cooking and service in an elaborate castle-like setting. At dinnertime there's a rather extravagant 18-course tasting menu for Y35,000 per person (plus 12% service charge). The wine list covers some 1200 different varieties.
Located on the first floor of the Robuchon castle in Ebisu, this is a much more casual version of the main dining room upstairs, with inventive modern cuisine and a very reasonable wine list; prix-fixe lunch from Y2950 and dinner from Y7800.
One of the most highly rated teppanyaki restaurants in town, Yebisu also boasts a nice 22nd-floor view and convenient English menus. Full-course dinners with premium domestic beef, seasonal seafood and vegetables run Y15,000-25,000 and lunch is Y4,000-10,000. The menu often includes seafood-only dinners as well as beef-centered ones.
Smart, cutting-edge California-influenced cuisine, with an emphasis on grilled items and sashimi. The mostly California wine list is well assembled and comfortably priced. Tables are adequately separated, and the large two-story space, which is reached by crossing the entrance moat, is unusually luxurious for Tokyo. Dinner with drinks will probably start at around Y6000 per person.
(Daikanyama - International). 5489-2201
Under the same management as Zest and La Boheme, this is one of their two high-ticket California-style restaurants (along with Stellato). There's also a separate bar and cigar-smoking room (with a very effective ventilation system, fortunately).
(Daikanyama - International). 6415-3232
Breakfast at Ivy Place is served from 7-11am in the cafe at the front of the restaurant. Choices include classic buttermilk pancakes; scrambled eggs with herbs and mascarpone; smoked salmon on rye bread with baby greens; and fried eggs with Jambon de Bayonne, romesco and rucula. There are also "make your own breakfast" add-ons such as avocado, bacon, tomato and smoked salmon.
A branch of the Nishi-Azabu and Shibuya Monsoon Cafes, with eclectic Asian cuisine.
A convenient late-night Italian standby.
(Nishi-Azabu - Sushi). 5774-4372
It's unusual to find high-quality sushi like this outside Ginza, but here it's presented in a modern dining room with late-night hours. They also serve French wines as an alternative to sake; wines from Y1000/ glass or Y10,000-Y150,000/ bottle. Budget around Y18,000 for dinner.
(Nishi-Azabu - Tex-Mex). 3400-2235
Well-prepared, casual California-Mexican dishes and a variety of ever-popular frozen margaritas.
(Nishi-Azabu - Japanese). 5771-0170
Good sushi and other straight-ahead Japanese fare from the late-night Global Dining group (La Boheme, Zest, etc.). The massive, multi-story space is always buzzing with activity, and sometimes seems to be the center of an international social scene in Tokyo.
Run-of-the-mill "Mexican"-flavored American food. Often crowded, and popular with American families. No smoking.
(Hiroo - Sandwiches/burgers). 3444-4560
Some of the best burgers in town, along with terrific salads and sandwiches.
(Shirokanedai - Italian). 3442-4060
One of the few late-night spots in the neighborhood; pizzas and pastas in a multi-level, palatial setting.
(Shirokanedai - International). 3442-5588
Upscale California dining in a fun, thirties-movie-palace setting, from the owners of the Zest-La Boheme chain. Dinner with wine generally runs in the Y7,000-Y10,000 range. Bar open to 2am.
Although they're not our favorite oyster bar in Tokyo, Grand Central does offer an impressively big selection of oysters from all over. There's also a large, varied wine list (heavy on the whites, naturally), with lots of choices by the glass, in case you feel like just dropping in for a drink at the bar.
"Since 1930 Ginza" claims the sign, and they still offer the same nostalgic faux-Western yoshoku specialties like hamburg steaks, cabbage rolls and scallop cream croquettes, for an inexpensive trip down memory lane. Lunch is served 11am-4pm.
This small but stylish bar specializes in koshu (vintage sake), and they offer several different tasting sets to guide your explorations. The Y1260 set features three different types of koshu, and changes weekly. There's also a set comparing three different mature koshu (Y1890), and a set comparing 5-, 10-, and 32-year-old vintages from the same brewery (Y3150). The food menu is very simple - assorted cheeses and smoked dishes. There's a Y450 cover charge; budget around Y4000.
The eagerly anticipated second branch of one of Tokyo's best craft beer bars, DevilCraft Hamamatsucho serves thirsty visitors from a nicely chosen roster of over twenty brews on tap, from both Japanese and American breweries. They're also known for their overstuffed deep-dish Chicago-style pizzas, and the Buffalo chicken wings and spinach-artichoke dip with tortilla chips make excellent starters.
(Roppongi - Kaiseki). 3423-8006
Chef Seiji Yamamoto does a very impressive take on experimental cuisine from a Japanese perspective, with eye-openers like edamame foam with pulverized ice cream and foie gras with figs. Eleven-course prix-fixe menus run Y15,750, Y21,000 and Y26,250, and there's a seven-sake selection paired with the food for an extra Y5000.
"New-style French dining" in a very stylish dining room. The food is first-rate and the ambience is casual, with all counter seating. The focus of attention is the open kitchen space on the other side of the counter - a performance space really - where the chefs go about their work.
This popular international chain restaurant serves New York-style Italian fare, with a focus on Roman cuisine. The menu features ten veal dishes (ranging Y5000-8000), scampi, and a good selection of daily specials.
Superb, inventive American cuisine from noted Tokyo chef Ian Tozer, built around a deceptively casual menu. The dining room is pleasantly smoke-free, and there's outdoor patio seating when the weather permits.
(Roppongi - Japanese). 5413-0335
This small Nagoya-based shop served excellent broiled fish that has been marinated in sake lees. Set meals are priced around Y1000-2000.
(Roppongi - Grill). 3478-0222
A reasonably priced, very casual wine bar and grill. The eclectic wine list starts from Y2500/bottle, with 11 wines by the glass or decanter. There are also microbrew beers from Baird Brewery and artisanal cocktails. The food menu features dishes like grilled loin of pork and lamb chops, assorted hams, and shellfish steamed in wine.
(Azabu-Juban - Sandwiches/burgers). 3405-9884
They grill up some of the best burgers in town, and also assemble great sandwiches (including an inspirational shrimp and avocado combination) and voluminous baskets of French fries.
Eclectic Asian cuisine and a lively atmosphere.
Filling a gap in the Tokyo dining scene, The Chef's Table offers upscale Latin American cuisine paired with good, affordable wines. Owner Sohan Ahluwalia brings the same imagination and flair to the cuisines of South America as he did to Cajun cooking at the popular Bourbon Street in Nogizaka.
(Azabu-Juban - Tex-Mex). 6459-4095
Decent fast-food-style burritos, tacos, and fajitas, all made from premium organic ingredients. Choose from grilled chicken, carnitas (braised pork), steak or vegetarian filling; prices range from Y800-1100. There's a small but tastefully appointed dining area, or you can take out.
Inexpensive pastas and Italian wines by the glass, with convenient late-night hours.
(Azabu-Juban - Steak house). 3568-3466
Run by a New Zealand meat company, Wakanui was set up to introduce Tokyo gourmets to premium beef, lamb and wines from New Zealand, and they succeed quite admirably at that mission. The dining room is attractive but not overly fussy, with an open kitchen and a glass-enclosed aging room at one end to literally showcase the beef. The off-the-beaten-track location was chosen for its proximity to Nissin, an international market where patrons can pick up the same meats and wines that are served here and bring them home.
(Akabanebashi - Steak house). 4588-0675
Decanter is an international steakhouse with a distinctively modern sensibility. Chef David Ueno's menu is smart and engaging, with entertaining appetizers and first-rate steaks and chops. The gorgeous setting feels more like a stylish lounge or club than a tradtional stuffy dining room - there's sophisticated lighting, cool music on a professional sound system, and a very impressive city view.
Azabudai 2-1-2. Open 6-10pm. Closed Sundays.
(Kamiyacho - Indian). 3433-1217
The cooking here is a level above the usual Tokyo Indian restaurant - sophisticated dishes with distinctive flavors and top-quality ingredients. The emphasis is on southern Indian specialties (the owner is from Kerala), with lots of curries of mutton, fish and chicken and some great starters. The popular lunchtime buffet is bigger than average, with fifteen different dishes. Budget around Y3000-4500 at dinnertime.
Toranomon 3-19-7. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10:30pm. Closed Sundays.
This stunning venture from the Hiramatsu group and the famous French chef Paul Bocuse occupies one of the most spectacular public spaces in Tokyo, inside the new national art gallery. Three-course prix-fixe lunch is Y1800; in the evening a la carte mains average around Y2700.
From the former management of the legendary Fujimamas in Harajuku, this intimate (twenty-seat) bar-restaurant offers a nice selection of US wines by the glass or bottle. The eclectic fusion food menu features items like Confit of Pork Belly with Couscous Salad; Grilled Duck with Mandarin Mojo Sauce; and Grilled Salmon with a Maple Bourbon Glaze on a Sweet Onion Cake, and a very good BBQ platter. Sunday brunch is served 10am-4pm; no dinner service on Sundays.
Minami-Aoyama 1-15-28. Open 6-11:30pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays.
After Sunday mass at The Franciscan Center Roman Catholic Church, Italian nationals flock to Pizzeria 1830 for wonderfully prepared Napolitan pizzas and home-style pastas. The pizzas come with or without tomato sauce, topped with tantalizing combinations like mushrooms and Italian sausage; or ham, mixed mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and olives. Wines are reasonably priced, with a selection of five by the glass and more by the bottle. Budget around Y5000 for dinner.
This cozy backstreet diner serves a menu of American-style gourmet burgers and sandwiches, to stay or to go. The unusual broccoli cheeseburger (Y1270) is one of our favorites - the slightly crunchy broccoli florets slathered with melted Monterey Jack cheese sitting atop the burger yield a pleasing combination of textures and flavors. Another novel offering is the peach burger (Y1200), made with yellow cling peaches in syrup.
(Akasaka - Kaiseki). 3568-6055
Third-generation kaiseki chef (and sometime TV celeb) Yoshihiro Murata is known for his innovative approach to kaiseki cuisine, drawing on French cooking techniques and ingredients. He has two branches in Kyoto, but this is his first Tokyo venture. Full-blown kaiseki service starts at Y15,750, with lunch priced at Y10,500. No lunch on Mondays.
Akasaka 6-13-8. Open noon-1, 5-9pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Akasaka - Tempura). 3585-3743
The decor is austere and the mood is subdued at this exclusive twelve-seat tempura counter. All the energy is focused on the tempura, which is world class. The chef and his assistant stick to basics, with top-quality seasonal ingredients lightly fried and served with either lemon, plain salt or a simple dipping sauce. Prix-fixe menus are Y10,500 or Y12,600, with optional sashimi starter course for Y4,200. The drinks list offers a choice of several good sakes (Kubota Manju is Y2000/1-go) or French wines. Some English spoken.
Craft Beer Market offers thirty different brews on draft, including a good number of seasonal specials. Prices are noticeably less expensive than the average Tokyo microbrew bar, with pints priced at just Y780 and glasses at Y480. (There's also a Y300 table charge.)
Nishi-Shimbashi 1-23-3, SA Grace 1F. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11:30pm. Closed weekends.
(Shimbashi - Izakaya). 3593-0141
If you're a sake afficianado you'll be delighted by the stellar selection at this unpretentious little izakaya. Chances are you'll make some interesting discoveries, and perhaps even meet a brewer who's dropped in for a drink while visiting Tokyo. The sake list changes weekly, and features many limited-edition, seasonal bottles from small craft breweries - the kind of selections that are seldom sold in retail stores.
Shimbashi 2-15-10, Ishibashi Bldg 1F. Open 6-11pm (LO). Closed weekends.
(Shimbashi - Bar). 3438-3375
Run by the Moto-Azabu liquor shop Kurihara, this is a larger branch of the original Kuri in Ginza, specializing in sake and shochu. For your tasting cnovenience, sake comes in small (60ml) glasses as an option. Their list of posted rules includes a prohibition on strong perfumes and smoking. [Go to branch review]
Shinbashi 3-19-4, Sakurai Bldg 2F. Open 4-11:30pm (drink LO). Closed Sundays.
People don't come to Shinshu Osake Mura for the atmosphere, or the music (there isn't any). There aren't even any chairs. The reason to visit this hole-in-the-wall, standing-only sake bar, located on the ground floor of one of Shimbashi's most ancient office buildings, is the great sake list.
Shimbashi 2-20-15, Shimbashi Ekimae Bldg #1 1F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO). Closed weekends.
(Shimbashi - Beer bar). 5777-4755
Perhaps this isn't the narrowest bar in Tokyo, but it's certainly the narrowest bar offering such an impressive class of craft beers, both domestic and imported. Cleverly, the tiny space is fashioned to resemble a yacht, with porthole windows and nautical decor throughout. Three small tables fill the upper deck, while the lower deck is standing-room only, with space for maybe seven or eight along the port-side bar.
Shimbashi 3-25-10. Open 5pm-12:30am. Closed Sundays.
Modern French cuisine from chef Tateru Yoshino, formerly of the Michelin-starred Stella Maris in Paris. The menu includes dishes like risotto of watercress with frogs legs; carpaccio of Canadian shrimp with corn ice cream; duck foie gras with crystalized eggplant in cacao sauce; and roast lamb with pumpkin puree. The attached wine bar offers cheaper a la carte options and very late hours for this office neighborhood.
The Imperial's French restaurant is a prime spot for business-meeting breakfasts in Ginza, and the food is traditional but top-notch. Breakfast is served from 7-10am, starting from Y3780.
(Hibiya - International). 6270-2763
The flashy main dining room of the Peninsula Hotel offers gorgeous views and an entertaining menu of modern international cuisine. Have fun putting together your own meal of three, four, or five courses (from Y8500, or Y4800 at lunchtime), with down-to-earth dishes like their "Roasted Duck Foie Gras, Ginger Bread-Citrus Marmalade Mille Feuille, Foie Gras Ice Cream, Balsamic Yogurt". The wine cellar is made up mostly of half-bottles, starting at around Y3700; wine by the glass from Y1600.
Five famous Japanese curry shops have gotten together to create this tiny 15-seat counter. Try them all - for Y2500 you can get a set of curries from all five shops, or you can order individual curries for around Y1000 each. (The collaborating shops are Ethiopia, Delhi, Topca, Dom Pierre, and Hongo Petit Feu.)
Simple, well-prepared Japanese standards, including grilled chicken, in a lively atmosphere.
(Ginza - Tex-Mex). 5524-3621
Good solid food from the Tex side of the Tex-Mex border, with colorful frozen and non-frozen margaritas.
The third Tokyo restaurant from Lyon-based celeb-chef Paul Bocuse offers prix-fixe dinners from Y5500-9500. Wines are Y5000-250,000, with less scarily priced options by the glass or carafe. The impressively large dining room has a curved wall of windows overlooking Ginza to the south.
This outpost of the popular Miravile restaurant in Komaba specializes in desserts - with an Y1890 three-course menu (starter dessert with tea, main platter of two desserts with tea, final dessert plus tea or coffee) and a Y2980 version that includes drinks. The decor is elegant and casual - boldly colored graphics on the walls, burnt-orange stools at a wide counter plus a few small tables along the wall.
Refined Vietnamese classics from the chef behind the upscale Queen Alice restaurants. Try the desserts recommended by their "vegetable sommelier"! Budget around Y4000 for dinner.
(Ginza - Unagi). 5159-0231
This first Tokyo branch of a famous Nagoya shop prepares eel that's grilled over binchotan charcoal and served with their own special Nagoya-style tamari sauce. Lunch and dinner sets are Y2380-5900; there are also other eel and side dish options and a better-than-average sake selection.
Top-notch, creative Italian fare, beautifullly presented, from the very talented chef Luca Fantin. The main dining room is modern and stylish; there's also a popular bar-lounge area one level up (open noon-midnight), and a rooftop lounge with a great Tokyo view. Prix-fixed lunches are priced Y5,000-10,000; dinners are Y13,000-22,000. On Sundays they're open only for lunch.
Ginza 2-7-12, Ginza Tower 8F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Ginza - International). 5159-0991
The immodestly named Dazzle is one of Tokyo's flashiest restaurants, with futuristic lighting and a theatrical entrance - the elevator deposits you in the middle of the kitchen, after which you take a second ride to the glitzy dining room. The food is entertainingly fusionesque, and is accompanied by wines from France, Italy, Spain, Australia, America and Japan, starting in the Y5000 range. Budget around Y6,000-9,000 per person before drinks.
(Ginza - French). 5159-5500
Master chef Alain Ducasse's joint venture with Chanel provides excellent modern French cuisine in a lovely setting. The food isn't quite as spectacular as the prices though - mains average Y8000-9000, with prix-fixe dinner menus from Y17,000. Lunches start at Y6000 (for a three-course vegetarian menu), and there are a few wines under Y10,000. There's also a popular afternoon tea set (Y2600) served from 2:30-4pm.
With 450 varieties of world teas from 32 countries, Mariage Freres in Ginza offers the tea aficionado a rare combination of elegance, atmosphere and quality. Only the "finest harvests" are offered to complement an excellent selection of light meals and sinful desserts. Non-smoking.
Ginza 5-6-6. Open noon-8pm.
Anago eel and warm sake are the specialties at this popular spot. Budget around Y6000-8000 for food and drink. No lunch on Saturdays.
Inexpensive pastas and Italian wines by the glass, with convenient late-night service.
(Ginza - Sushi). 3571-6523
Yes you can pay a lot more for sushi at Michelin multi-starred counters if you want to, but Kyubei offers excellent quality fish at somewhat more affordable prices, especially at lunchtime, in a much more relaxed setting. (Some of the chefs even speak a bit of English.) Kyubei were the inventors of gunkan-maki (the wrap-around technique for fish roe and similar sushi). Lunches start at Y4000 for a nigiri set menu, or Y8000 for omakase. Dinners from Y10,000, with a Y30,000 kaiseki sushi course that's quite a spectacle.
Ginza 8-7-6. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm. Closed Sundays.
Popular with Indian customers, Dharmasagara serves great South Indian cuisine, with especially good dosa and other breads and plenty of interesting vegetarian options. Lunch from Y1200, prix-fixe dinner from Y3150 or a la carte.
Mother Leaf brews aromatic teas from five varieties of Sri Lankan tea leaves in a peaceful, smoke-free atmosphere.
All their set menus are Y600, and the atmosphere is just like dropping into some night stall in Bangkok - loud pop music, fantastic cooking aromas, and minimal decor.
This first Tokyo branch of one of Kyoto's best Italian restaurants occupies a small, minimal but elegant dining room facing the street. Dinner is either Y7500 or Y10,000 - chef's omakase menu only - with reasonably priced bottles and half-bottles of Italian wines. Lunch from Y2000.
(Marunouchi - Sandwiches/burgers). 5220-2400
Hawaiian-style burgers and sandwiches. The atrium deck is very airy and pleasant, but seating there is limited.
Michelin-starred traditional French dining overlooking Tokyo Station. Prix-fixe lunches are Y3,500-6,000, dinners Y7,000-12,000.
This relatively quiet branch of the popular Hasegawa sake retail specialist is furnished with a small counter area where you can try out a tasting set of three sake of the month, along with a tiny snack, for Y1260.
Mostly an all-day cafe/restaurant, although they also have a small deli counter and grocery section with coffees and teas, spices, baked goods, cold cuts, four kinds of smoked salmon, and real dill pickles. Groceries cover the luxury end of the spectrum, with Y1800 jars of pasta sauce and exotic pates.
(Yaesu - Dim sum). 6256-0377
Chinese dumplings - to eat in or take out - are the specialty of this Kamakura-based shop inside the new Gran Roof complex next to Tokyo Station. The take-out menu includes three types of gyoza (shrimp, shrimp-shiso and pork-shrimp), three types of shumai, pork buns and a few rice dishes. Dumplings start at around Y100 per dumpling, and there's a Y1500 deluxe bento if you want to splurge.
(Yaesu - Tonkatsu). 3212-8810
One of Nagoya's most famous tonkatsu shops, Yabaton is known for their tasty miso-slathered cutlets and their cute pig-sumo wrestler mascot. The teppan tonkatsu (Y1365) is their best-selling dish - a hefty portion of fatty pork cutlet covered in a sweetish miso sauce, laid over a bed of cabbage and served on a metal platter that steams and sizzles at it arrives in front of you. The large and very meaty pork soup is highly recommended as a side dish.
(Kyobashi - Beer bar). 3272-8488
This tiny standup bar always has a number of good Japanese microbrews and international beers on tap. Food is limited to snacks.
Yaesu 2-8-10. Open 5:30-11pm. Closed weekends.
(Otemachi - Curry). 6273-4635
The healthy and quite tasty Japanese curries here are heavy on the vegetables - in fact the special of the house promises a full day's ration of vegetables. The shop itself is decorated in a whimsical camping-equipment theme - portable lanterns, backpacks, thermos bottles - and most dishes are served on miniature iron skillets.
Otemachi 1-5-5, Otemachi Tower Ootemori B2F. Open 11am-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Otemachi - Belgian rest/beer bar). 6273-4662
The seventh (and smallest) Tokyo venue from the Belgian Beer Cafe group, Gent (with a hard "g") is located in the basement of a new Otemachi office complex called Ootemori. They offer the the usual selection of several dozen Belgian beers, with four or five on tap, and unusually for this neighborhood, they are open on Sundays (at least for now). Note that there is a Y500 table charge.
Lunch and dinner buffets of modern Italian cuisine in a beautiful open-atrium dining space. The weekday lunch buffet is Y2900; weekend lunch is Y4200, dinner is Y5000, and the weekend dessert buffet (3-5pm) is Y2700. They also offer a wine buffet to go with dinner.
(Nihonbashi - International). 3270-8188
The Mandarin Oriental's casual-dining spot offers creative contemporary cuisine with an Asian twist, plus a great view of Ginza and Marunouchi. In the morning you'll find good Japanese and international breakfasts (Y2800-3800).
(Nihonbashi - Chinese). 3270-8188
The Mandarin Oriental's Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant offers an excellent weekend dim sum lunch from 11:30am-4pm. Choose from twenty varieties, all you can eat, for Y5000 (+10%). Weekday lunches start at Y3800, dinners from Y14,000.
Here inside the Mandarin Hotel's 38th-floor lounge, the eight-seat Tapas Molecular Bar serves cutting-edge modern cuisine. Twenty-one plates of highly inventive, deconstructivist, very tasty morsels are presented over the course of two hours (Y14,000+13%sc).
(Nihonbashi - Japanese). 3241-4841
Shabu-shabu, sukiyaki and other Japanese beef dishes; they also offer pork shabu-shabu. Prix-fixe dinners are priced Y5,000-15,000; lunch from around Y2000.
Excellent traditional French cooking in a comfortable, smoke-free dining space reminiscent of a provincial French inn.
Wakaba 2-7, Video Focus Bldg 1F. Open noon-2, 6-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Akebonobashi - Tempura). 3353-2990
Good tempura at reasonable prices at this unpretentious neighborhood shop. The tempura teishoku is Y1890, full-course dinners are Y2940, and fancy kaiseki menus start at Y5250. Lunch starts at Y680, with a deluxe tempura teishoku going for Y1260.
Sakamachi 15. Open 11:30am-1:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
(Akebonobashi - Tempura). 5379-3557
One of the specialties of the house at this first-rate tempura counter is anago, served with a tasty golden-brown coating that's thicker than average and satisfyingly crunchy. Prix-fixe dinners are Y5,000, Y7,000 and Y10,000, with reasonably priced sake and wines to accompany your meal. Voluminous deluxe donburi lunches are a bargain at Y1700-2000.
Sumiyoshicho 2-18, Win Yotsuya 2F. Open 11:30am-1, 6-8:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
The sake selection at this Michelin-starred izakaya is pretty impressive, and the food is above average, but not quite good enough to justify the prices. Prix-fixe menus are the only option, and they start at Y5000. Seating is cramped, but service is friendly and the non-smoking policy improves things a bit.
Yotsuya 2-10, Matsumotokan B1F. Open 6-10:15pm (LO). Closed Sundays, Mondays.
(Ichigaya - Japanese/health food). 3263-4023
A tasty assortment of healthy Japanese dishes and excellent Belgian beer.
Rokubancho 4, Asahi Rokubancho Mansion 2F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 4:30-9pm. Closed Sundays.
Excellent-quality modern French cuisine at this elegant bistrot-restaurant. Chef Olivier was a veteran of La Tour d'Argent in Paris and the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Tokyo before opening his namesake restaurant. Prix-fixe dinners are Y5800 and Y8000 (or order a la carte), and the wine list offers some reasonably priced options under Y6000. Budget around Y10,000-12,000 with drinks. Lunches start at Y1575; no lunch on Saturday.
Kudan-Minami 4-1-10. Open 11:30am-2, 6:30-10pm. Closed Sundays.
An artsy little neighborhood cafe serving espresso beverages, drip coffee of the day, and matcha. Lunches run Y500-1000, and they also roast their own beans, on sale from Y450/100g.
A New Zealand coffee specialist, Mojo roasts their beans onsite and serves espresso drinks in down-under variations like Flat White and Long Black. The small neighborhood shop has a minimalist modern decor and a soundtrack veering towards alt-rock.
(Kagurazaka - Bakery). 6280-7723
Good pastries and sandwiches, to eat in or take out, at this French-based bakery-cafe.
Kagurazaka 5-1-4, Kagurazaka Terrace 1F. Open 10am-10pm. Closed Sundays.
Tucked away in the rather institutional-looking basement of the Athenee Francaise, this branch of the French-based cafe serves a range of good, made-to-order French-style sandwiches.
Kanda Surugadai 2-11, Athenee Francais B1F. Open 11am-7:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Somewhat less expensive than the average Tokyo microbrew bar, US pints here are priced at just Y780 and glasses at Y480. (There's also a Y300 table charge.) You can choose from thirty different mostly local brews on draft, including an exclusive beer from Baird Brewery. The food is also quite good, with well-prepared dishes like rotisserie chicken and roast duck a l'orange.
Kanda Jimbocho 2-11-15. Open 11:30am-1:30, 5-11pm (LO). Closed weekends.
The original Japanese curries here incorporate umami-rich coconut milk, ripe tomatoes and cheese as well as fresh seasonal vegetables. Some popular options (from Y730) are oysters and spinach with baked cheese; ripe tomato, eggplant and chicken; and pork-cabbage, while extra toppings (mostly Y100) include corn, bamboo shoots, coriander, garlic shoots and tofu.
The off-the shelf snack-bar decor here is perked up by a cozy counter bar with five seats and twelve taps dispensing some of Japan's best microbrew beers. The small menu includes a few good chicken dishes, including raw chicken with pungent wasabi, plus the usual sausages, potatoes, etc. One of the oldest Japanese microbrew bars, Kura Kura was located in Shimo-Kitazawa for ten years before their move to Kanda. No smoking.
Kajicho 1-4-6, Tokyo Kanda Bldg. 3F. Open 5-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Excellent Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is served here, and the fifteen taps in the cozy ground-floor bar area dispense a good selection of craft beers from Japan and the US.
Nihonbashi Muromachi 4-2-3. Open 5-11:30pm. Closed Sundays.
(Akihabara - Brazilian). 5295-2611
This very informal counter bar is billed as a galetteria - a Brazilian-style charcoal-grilled chicken specialist - but the one-pound beef rump steak and the 600g "gigasteak" seem to be just as popular with the seriously carnivorous customer base here.
(Akihabara - Sushi). 5298-4792
This 24-hour branch of the popular Tsukiji-based budget sushi chain offers good value for money.
This tiny counter shop inside Akihabara Atre has assembled five famous Japanese curry shops from this curry-strong neighborhood - mini-branches of Kyoeido, Ethiopia, Delhi, Topca and Hongo Petit Feu. For Y2500 you can try a sampling of curries from all five shops, or you can order individual curries for around Y1000 each; other combination sets are also available.
(Asakusa - Curry). 3841-1681
This rather unpretentious shop may not win any awards for their decor, but they serve up very good Indo-style Japanese curries and credible naans. A curry set with rice or naan (and Japanese curry-shop pickles) will run around Y1100; Y200 extra to super-size your curry portion.
(Asakusa - Sushi). 5826-1375
Good value for money and a wide selection of fish at this convenient 24-hour branch of the famous Tsukiji-based sushi shop.
Five of the most popular Japanese curry shops in Tokyo's Kanda area have gotten together to create this casual shop where you can try their curries individually or in various combinations. A set of all five curries is priced at Y2600.
This gorgeous cafe, created by Tokyo design studio Wonderwall, has an open kitchen where you can watch chocolates being made. Hot chocolates are served in the cafe section, and the take-out counter serves up chocolate pastries to go.
This very popular shop is known for their tsukemen, served with a thick, richly flavored dipping sauce made with pork, seafood and vegetables. Prepare to wait on line during busy times.
A tourist-friendly outlet of the popular upscale French wine-bar chain. Prix-fixe lunches are priced Y2,800-Y9,800, dinners Y6,500-Y11,000.
Inside Glien Passage, the theme-park-extravaganza restaurant complex in Aquacity, Gompachi offers a straight-ahead robatayaki menu - yakitori, grilled fish, assorted side dishes and a handful of soba variations to round things out.
Late-night pastas and Italian wines.
Assorted southeast Asian dishes and a large bar.
(Daiba - Tex-Mex). 3599-4803
Dependable late-night Tex-Mex food and fun decor.
(Daiba - American). 3599-4534
The all-you-can-eat salad bar is surprisingly varied, and still one of the better ones in town.
This popular Osaka-based shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes, and a big variety of skewered tidbits. The dessert section features a chocolate fountain. Y2500 per person, with a 90-minute limit, or Y1500 at lunchtime (served until 3:30pm).
Charcoal-grilled heirloom-breed chicken and game birds are the specialty here, along with oyako-donburi and chicken-based ramen. There's also a good selection of sake and shochu to wash it down. Lunch is served until 4pm.
The pizza makers here trained in Naples, and they use a wood-burning pizza oven. Some thirty varieties of fantastic thin-crusted pizzas are ready to eat in or take out.
The very artsy cafe includes a gallery space in back where you can catch the latest exhibit while enjoying coffee or cocktails; there's also window seating up front, a few outdoor tables, and a movie theater in the basement. Drinks include Chinese teas, hot cocktails (rum and apple, coffee and cointreau), and eight Belgian beers by the bottle. The food menu is limited to curry rice and a smattering of small deli items.
First-class soba -- they also had a very popular branch in New York City's Soho neighborhood.
(Nishi-Ogikubo - Singaporean). 3394-9191
A comfortable smoke-free cafe that serves good Singapore-style chicken rice, although unfortunately they only serve it with fragrant jasmine rice on the 10th, 20th and 30th of each month; you get regular rice the rest of the time. Other dishes include very good Malaysian curries with excellent fried roti (bread), and other Malaysian/Singaporean specialties. There's a tiny art gallery located right next door.
Good breads, cakes and vegetable salads at this cute, plant-filled bakery-cafe inside the Atre shopping mall. Lunch options include a "plate of vegetables" and vegetable tarts with salad as well as burgers. They also have branches in London and Paris. Open from 9am on weekends.
(Nakano-Sakaue - Bar). 050-1141-6227
Located above Nakano-Sakaue subway station, Lodi serves both domestic microbrew beers (with a rotating selection of five on tap), and American wines (with six by the glass). At lunchtime (weekdays only) they serve gourmet coffee.
Nakano-ku, Chuo 1-38-1. Open 11:45am-2:30, 6pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
(Nakano-Sakaue - Beer bar). 090-3721-6982
"Craft beer, craft food" is the raison d'etre of this ambitious beer bar, and they do an excellent job on both counts. There's a well-chosen selection of craft beers from the US and Japan on tap, and they also stock a good number of bottles from breweries like Lagunitas, Coronado and Southern Tier.
A tiny cafe with a limited menu of four Bhutanese stews with rice, including a fiery version of ema datshi, a cheese and chili stew that's Bhutan's national dish. The other stews (pork and daikon, chicken, potato-cheese) are milder, and you can opt for a two-stew combo plate for Y900. There are also a few salads, fried tofu, and a tasty "Indian snack mix" with chopped vegetables and Masala spice. The drinks menu offers Edelpils beer on tap, German and Chilean wines, and Bhutanese rum, whisky, and teas. Classical music plays in the background, and the cafe is entirely non-smoking, just like Bhutan itself.
(Ikejiri-Ohashi - Italian). 5486-3700
Inexpensive, competently prepared pastas and other dishes that are very popular with a young, local crowd.
(Futago-tamagawa - Vietnamese). 3700-2475
A gem of a restaurant, run by a Vietnamese family, with authentic food and reasonable prices. There's also a good stock of Vietnamese beer and French wines.
(Naka-Meguro - Mediterranean). 3760-1001
Fresh organic produce is the pride of this casual, stylish dining bar. The simple menu complements the nice selection of organic and biodynamic wines. Bruschetta, baby shrimp and tomatoes sauteed in garlic oil, and other tapas-style dishes are available on the first floor, while more substantial fare such as Australian lamb and veal can be ordered upstairs, with full-course dinners from Y2800. The smoke-free environment is a plus.
While its office-building setting and generic wood-paneled-den decor aren't especially inviting, this branch of the Taproom attracts an audience of foreign and Japanese beer lovers with its excellent microbrews. There are usually around twenty varieties on tap from parent company's Baird Brewery in Shizuoka, along with two or three guest beers from US breweries. The food menu features "New Haven-style pizzas" and salads. Open from noon on weekends.
An interesting assortment of Asian dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China are served all day and night (until 5am) at this branch of the casual "ethnic-style" izakaya chain.
Located a bit off the beaten track, this intimate 28-seat restaurant is a serious gourmet destination, serving high-level cuisine at down-to-earth prices. Owner-chef George Sumura is a veteran of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore and a two-star restaurant in Brussels, and his menu is especially strong in game dishes.
(Minami-Funabashi - Misc. Southeast Asian). 047-421-7311
This ethnic-style izakaya chain serves Asian-inspired dishes from Thailand, China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
(Kawasaki - Tonkatsu). 044-874-8413
Besides the usual tonkatsu, Katsukura offers variations like deep-fried shrimp and scallops, yuba (tofu skin) croquettes), and nice side dishes like chawanmushi, tofu salad and kakuni stewed pork. The original shop is in Kyoto. Budget around Y1600 for food.
(Kawasaki - Ramen). 044-230-1139
This well-regarded shop in the Ramen Symphony complex is known for their shrimp ramen.
The prix-fixe menus here (Y4000, Y5800) let you mix and match from a big list of pastas, starters and main dishes while you enjoy the impressive nighttime view. Set lunches are Y2500 to Y7000.
Yet another cafe where you can bring your pet; this one also carries a full line of canine fashion and grooming items. The dog menu includes items like pate, pork and beans, and bean risotto.
(Yokohama Minato-mirai - Shabu-shabu). 045-222-5522
Shabu-shabu and kaiseki (from Y8000 at night).
Authentic American-style barbecue is the ambitious specialty at Bashamichi Taproom, along with a great selection of craft beers. The manager and pitmaster here has decades of experience cooking in the most barbecue-conscious areas of the American South, and his recipes capture the best of Texas, Carolina and Kansas City traditions. He slow-cooks his meats over a low-temperature cherrywood fire for several hours, to produce tender and very flavorful results.
(Yokohama Kannai - British pub). 045-334-8787
Serving seventeen different ciders, this rather authentic British pub must have the best selection in town, if not in all of Japan. They also serve beer of course - on a recent visit the pub's eight taps included such varied fare as Caldera Vanilla Wheat and Rogue Yellow Snow IPA (both from Oregon); Brimmer Porter (from Kawasaki); Greene King Abbot Ale and Fuller's London Pride, with pints averaging Y1000.
(Yokohama Kannai - Greek). 045-253-1645
This Greek landmark has been serving hearty, home-style food since 1953 (although they moved to a new location in 2010). The bright, spacious dining area includes lots of counter seating as well as tables.
Good made-to-order sandwiches from the French sandwich chain. Lunch specials are served until 2pm.
(Yokohama Motomachi - Italian). 045-227-7123
Inexpensive pastas and Italian wines by the glass, with convenient late-night hours.
Eclectic Asian cuisine, a lively atmosphere and late-night hours, from the Global Dining Group (Zest, La Boheme).