Takadanobaba/ Okubo

Takadanobaba (west side)

Al's Cafe (British). 5937-1905
It's a Tudor-style English tearoom right in the Baba - one with a casual, neighborhood-oriented atmosphere. Traditional dishes like shepherd's pie, steak and Guinness pie, and bangers and mash are all priced comfortably under Y1000, and in the evenings bottled English beers run around Y700, while Bass Pale Ale is Y500/bottle and a small draft Heartland is Y400. A traditional English tea is served on Saturday afternoons.
mapTakadanobaba 3-13-1, Noak Bldg 1F. Open 11am-2, 6-11pm. Closed Sundays.
!Manaita (Izakaya). 3362-1198
Manaita is a small, friendly neighborhood izakaya with a very good sake selection. The decor is totally unpretentious, with seating at a slightly cramped counter that's occupied by local customers who seem to all know each other. The wide-ranging menu is hand-written (and can be rather difficult to decipher), offering everything from grilled meats and fish to inexpensive rice dishes and teishoku fare. [Show more]
mapTakadanobaba 3-33-3. Open 6pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
Dogen (Ramen). 3365-1378
This attractively appointed branch of a Tottori-based shop serves organic ramen in a beefy shio-style soup. The drinks menu features a house-brand organic junmaishu sake from Akita as well as beer and shochu.
SunmapTakadanobaba 4-10-14. Open 11am-3, 5-10:30pm daily.
!Himonoya (Izakaya). 3362-8081
This cozy izakaya specializes in himono (grilled dried fish), with a big menu of different varieties from around Japan. There's also plenty of good regional sake. Budget around Y2-3000 per person.
lateSunmapTakadanobaba 4-11-8, 2F. Open 5pm-4am daily.
!Onion (Curry). 3364-3662
Rich, hearty European-style Japanese curries, served in generous portions with assorted optional toppings. Popular items include the very meaty beef curry and the twin-ebi curry with two large fried prawns. There are also vegetable-heavy selections in season, such as asparagus and fresh-spinach. Fried garlic chips make a very tasty add-on at Y100.
SunmapTakadanobaba 4-13-9. Open 11am-midnight (-11pm Sat, Sun) daily.
Takaryu (Ramen). 3366-9488
The unusual chicken ramen here is topped with lettuce, tomato and olive oil.
SunmapTakadanobaba 4-17-17. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6pm-1am (Sun -8pm) daily.
Ringer Hut (Japanese regional). 5338-5934
A budget chain serving two kinds of Nagasaki-style noodles - sara-udon (crisp fried ramen noodles topped with vegetables, pork and seafood in a thick sauce), and Nagasaki champon (similar to the above but in a pork-based soup). Side dishes include gyoza dumplings (regular, cheese, and mentaiko-cheese) and fried rice.
lateSunmapTakadanobaba 4-11-9. Open 11am-3am (Sun -10pm) daily.
!Banh Mi Sandwich (Vietnamese). 5937-4547
This simply named shop sells freshly made Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches in several enticing varieties, including roast pork (our current favorite), grilled chicken with honey and lemongrass, ham and liver paste, shrimp avocado, and vegetable-cheese, all served on fresh-baked bread with crunchy, not-too-sour pickled vegetables. [Show more]
mapTakadanobaba 4-9-18. Open 11am-7pm (Sat -6pm). Closed Sundays, Mondays.
Ebisu (Izakaya). 3365-5875
A friendly izakaya offering a decent selection of reasonably priced craft sake to go with your food. The specialty of the house if Hakata-style motsu-nabe (organ-meat stew), but you'll also find tempting fried chicken wings, gyoza dumplings and spareribs. Budget around Y3000 for food and drink at dinnertime.
mapTakadanobaba 3-4-11, Babahatch Bldg 1F. Open 11:45am-2, 5pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
!Sakaeya (Izakaya). 3360-8200
Located in the middle of Takadanobaba's bustling "izakaya alley," Sakaeya is by far the fanciest drinking spot in this budget-conscious, student-filled neighborhood. It delivers excellent value for money, serving top-quality charcoal-grilled meats, creative seasonal dishes and decent sake for a very reasonable budget of around Y4000 per person. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunmapTakadanobaba 3-4-16, Dai-ni Futaba Bldg 1-2F. Open 5pm-11:30pm (LO; -12:30am Fri, Sat) daily.
Kushitetsu (Izakaya). 3371-3764
Yakitori and yakiton (grilled pork on skewers) are the specialities at this inexpensive izakaya. Budget around Y2000-2500 for food and drink.
SunmapTakadanobaba 3-4-4, YS Plaza 1F. Open 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Swe Myanmar (Burmese). 5937-0127
Good, authentic home-style Burmese cuisine is served at this very casual restaurant on Takadanobaba's lively shotengai. Lunches start from Y650, and at dinnertime curries start at Y600, with rice an extra Y200.
SunmapTakadanobaba 3-5-7. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.

Takadanobaba (east side)

Yasube (Ramen). 3203-5011
Tsukemen is the specialty here; it comes in three different sizes, but they're all the same price - Y720.
SunmapTakadanobaba 1-22-7. Open 11am-9pm daily.
Garlic Chips (Bar). 3232-1490
Late-night cocktails, jazz, light meals, and garlic chips in a relaxed neighborhood bar. Some outdoor seating.
latemapTakadanobaba 1-31-8. Open 5pm-3am. Closed Sundays.
Milestone (Bar). 3200-4513
A neighborhood hangout with jazz on the sound system, dim sum, Chimay beer and cocktails.
SunmapTakadanobaba 1-23-9. Open 1pm-midnight daily.
Mo Mo Paradise (Shabu-shabu). 5292-2941
That's "mo mo" as in the sound a cow makes. The all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu and sukiyaki specials for Y1890 (90-minute limit) make this one of the best beef deals in town. There's also an all-you-can-eat-and-drink deal for around Y3500.
SunmapTakadanobaba 1-33-13, Sennen Bldg B1F. Open 5-10:30pm (Sat, Sun 11:30am-) daily.
Bunryu (Italian). 3208-5447
Nicely prepared food in a modest basement coffee-shop setting.
SunmapTakadanobaba 1-26-5, FI Bldg, B1F. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Flattoria (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.
no smokingSunmapTakadanobaba 1-25-30. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Malihka (Burmese). 3207-8114
The only restaurant in Japan serving Kachin-style cooking from northern Myanmar, Malihka has home-style dishes like fish steamed in banana leaves, tripe stew, and chicken and bean curry. Open to 5am Saturday and Sunday.
SunmapTakedanobaba 1-25-29, Sankoru Bldg 3F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5pm-midnight. Closed Mondays.
Cotton Club (Bar). 3207-3369
Late-night cocktails and snacks, with jazz in the background. Terrace seating is available on the first and second-floor cafe areas.
lateSunmapTakadanobaba 1-17-14. Open 11:30am-4am (LO) daily.
Nong Inlay (Burmese). 5273-5774
A hole-in-the-wall bar serving Shan-style cuisine, which draws on influences from neighboring Yunnan and Sichuan in China. The adventurous may want to try the Shan-Iei (Y400) - a reddish-brown-colored Shan-style liquor that's about 25% alcohol, with a sweet flavor reminiscent of some kind of herbal remedy. [Show more]
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-19-7. Open noon-midnight daily.
Toriyoshi (Yakitori). 3205-3394
Spicy chicken wings, yakitori and Nagoya miso specialties.
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-18-6. Open 5-11pm (LO) daily.
10 Degree Cafe (Cafe). 6912-6109
A steady stream of students and local residents flip open their laptops and settle in for an afternoon of work or study at this well-populated three-story cafe. There's free wifi, with some window seats overlooking the Kanda River. Food is typical coffeeshop fare, although they do serve some interesting varieties of tea.
mapTakada 3-12-8. Open 11am-midnight daily.
Taverna (Italian). 3232-1997
Well-prepared Roman-style food at budget-friendly prices. Start off dinner with three selections from the extensive tapas case, then explore the pastas and main entrees, which include several good veal dishes. There's an above-average dessert menu with several tasty homemade sherbets. Seating is mostly at the large wrap-around counter.
mapTakadanobaba 2-15-10. Open 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Big Land's Tree (Singaporean). 5272-8819
Inexpensive Chinese-Singaporean cuisine in a brightly lit noodle-shop setting. Dumplings seem to be the specialty here, with especially good sui-gyoza. Interesting original dishes include a flavorful and crunchy Singapore lemon chicken and fantastic ebi-yuba harumaki (shrimp and tofu-skin spring rolls). And the Coca-cola-stewed chicken has its own special charm.
mapTakadanobaba 2-14-16. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm. Closed Sundays.
Mingalaba (Burmese). 3200-6961
A very casual, home-style restaurant with many Burmese customers. You can assemble a hearty meal or a light snack from the extensive menu of small dishes - some 50 appetizers, salads, meat dishes, noodle items and desserts, most priced in the Y500-900 range. The food is nicely seasoned without being too fiery, with very distinctive flavors - coconut cream sauces, lots of garlic, northern Burmese pickles, and plenty of spices. Lunch is Y750, dinner in the Y1,700-3,000 range. [Show more]
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-14-8, NT Bldg. 3F. Open 11:30am-3, 5-11pm (LO) daily.
Intro (Jazz kissaten). 3200-4396
An old-fashioned "jazz kissa" where you can nurse your drink and nod your head to the music for hours on end.
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-14-8, NT Bldg. B1F. Open noon-midnight daily.
Kao Tai (Thai). 3204-5806
Although sometimes good, the food quality varies remarkably from visit to visit.
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-14-6. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
L'Amitie (French). 5272-5010
Perfect for a dignified yet unpretentious lunch or dinner date, this tiny dining room serves the best traditional French cuisine in the neighborhood, a bit of Paris's Latin Quarter in Takadanobaba. Service is prompt and cheerful, and there is an affordable prix fixe lunch (Y1200) and dinner (Y2000) with over a dozen appetizers and main courses to choose from. [See FULL REVIEW.]
SunmapTakadanobaba 2-9-12. Open noon-1:30, 6-10pm (LO). Closed Mondays, some Tues.
Dekoboko Kitchen (Cafe). 6233-9009
A charming little backstreet cafe, Dekoboko serves well-executed, up-to-date versions of coffeeshop standards like chicken cutlet, ginger pork and hayashi rice at lunchtime, with an eclectic world-music soundtrack in the background. In the evenings there's a wider food menu and Italian wines starting at Y2000 per bottle. [Show more]
mapTakadanobaba 2-7-13. Open 11:30am-3, 5:30-9pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
!Wasshoi (Izakaya). 5273-0267
This cheap and cheerful late-night izakaya serves decent yakitori and izakaya fare and very cheap beer. The sprawling dining areas are usually crowded with Waseda students.
lateSunmapTakadanobaba 1-3-13. Open 4pm-5am daily.
!Ezogiku (Waseda-dori-ten) (Ramen). 3202-9157
Slightly less crowded than the main shop, this branch is just around the corner on Waseda-dori, just east of Meiji-dori.
lateSunmapNishi-Waseda 3-21-18. Open 11-4am daily.
Ippudo (Ramen). 5272-0039
A branch of the famous Hakata ramen chain, featuring thin, slightly chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), with or without extra chashu. You can add your own freshly grated garlic.
lateSunmapNishi-Waseda 2-15-7. Open 11am-2am (Fri, Sat -4am) daily.
Tinun Taikoku Ramen (Thai). 3202-1865
Great, cheap noodles and crowds of Waseda students. Noodles are served in several different thicknesses and styles.
SunmapNishi-Waseda 2-18-25. Open 11am-1am daily.
Ganko (Ramen). unlisted
Ramen noodles in a classic shio-based soup, topped with pork. The decor is sparse, there are only five seats, and if the soup is less than perfect they don't bother opening for business that day. There's no real sign, just a large bone hung up outside the shop when they're open.
mapNishi-Waseda 3-15-7. Open noon-2, 5-9pm. Closed weekends.
!Yamituki Curry (Curry). 3205-0036
Original recipes, unique flavors and ample use of fresh seasonal vegetables help Yamituki stand out in the highly competitive Japanese curry landscape. Umami-rich ingredients like ripe tomatoes, cheese and coconut milk add depth and bring out the individual flavors of the curries' vegetable and meat ingredients. [Show more]
SunmapNishi-Waseda 3-15-7. Open 11:30am-11:45pm daily.
Tsubame (Cafe). 5292-3515
Retro-chic furnishings and a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere are the attractions at this cute neighborhood cafe. The soundtrack ranges from bossa nova to sixties rock, and the drinks list features simple cocktails, nice herbal teas and interesting coffee variations.
SunmapNishi-Waseda 3-15-1. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.

Waseda

Mae Yao (Misc. Southeast Asian). 5273-3770
This popular Waseda student hangout serves various Thai and Indian-style curries. The two-curry set includes a yogurt drink and runs about Y1000.
mapBabashitacho 18-9, Akiyama Bldg 2F. Open 11-3:30, 4:30-9 (Sat. to 8). Closed Sundays.

Okubo

Asia Super Store (Retail). 3208-9199
This Okubo shop has one of the best selections of Thai herbs and spices, imported vegetables and other ingredients; they also carry Thai kitchenware.
SunmapOkubo 1-1-11, Contowaru Shinjuku Bldg #212.
Zanmai (Sushi). 5155-6655
This 24-hour branch of the popular Tsukiji-based budget sushi chain offers good value for money.
lateSunmapOkubo 1-1-13. Open 24 hours a day.
Ozakkyo (Korean). 5155-7294
In addition to their regular yakiniku menu, Ozakkyo offers three varieties of tasty barbecued pork to be grilled at your table and served in do-it-yourself lettuce wrappers. Portion sizes seem to be geared towards big groups - our platter of sundae sausage (Y1300) for example was easily big enough for 4-5 people. The kimchi gyoza - very garlicky but not especially hot - is another flavorful and voluminous side dish. [Show more]
SunmapOkubo 1-12-27. Open 11am-midnight daily.
Kankoku Hiroba (Retail). 3232-9330
Meats and sausages, frozen goods, pouches of samgetan (chicken-ginseng soup) and spicy chige stews, and several different varieties of makkoli (Korean milky sake) are among the many imported foods and drinks you'll find at this large 24-hour Korean supermarket.
SunmapKabukicho 2-31-11. Open 24 hours a day.
Myondon Norimaki (Korean). 5292-4499
The unusual specialty of the house is Korean futomaki - fat sushi rolls filled with vegetables, bulgogi, cheese, kimchee, glutinous black rice - some ten variations in all, including a sampler set if you can't decide. [Show more]
lateSunmapOkubo 1-12-3. Open 24 hours a day.
Tainan Tamii (Taiwanese). 3209-5488
A branch of Tokyo's best budget Taiwanese chain.
SunmapKabukicho 2-41-5. Open 11am-3, 5pm-midnight daily.
Casa Bella (Spanish). 3209-6984
Seafood-heavy paellas, Spanish omelettes and other typical Spanish fare in extremely unpretentious surroundings; full-course dinners from around Y4000.
SunmapKabukicho 2-42-11, Casa Shinjuku Bldg. Open 6-11pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Halleluyah (Korean). 3200-0112
Far less fancy than some of its newer neighbors, this long-running shop serves Korean home-style cooking, including a lot of hearty winter stews. [Go to branch review]
SunmapHyakunincho 1-5-6. Open noon-2pm, 5-midnight (LO; -1am Sundays). Open every day.
Seoul Ichiba (Retail). 3208-1072
Not quite as large as the nearby Kankoku Hiroba, this popular Korean grocery store offers housewares as well as a big selection of imported food and drink, including fresh produce.
SunmapOkubo 1-16-15. Open 10am-11pm daily.
Festina Lente (Bar). 6233-9846
A change of pace from the down-home Korean restaurants and boisterous makkoli bars surrounding it, Festina Lente has ambitions to be a proper cocktail bar. The barman operates his shaker with just the right degree of vigor, and he understands the importance of pre-icing your glass before the pour. On the downside, a very simple drink might take five minutes to arrive even when it's not busy. [Show more]
lateSunmapOkubo 1-16-21 3F. Open 1pm-4am daily.
Toriyoshi (Yakitori). 5925-3266
Spicy chicken wings, yakitori and Nagoya miso specialties.
lateSunmapHyakunincho 2-4-1, Sun Bldg B1F. Open 5pm-3am (LO) daily.
Somuo (Misc. Southeast Asian). 3366-8686
This festively decorated restaurant has a Southeast Asian resort theme and a menu offering Vietnamese, Thai and other nearby cuisines. Budget around Y2500 for food and drink.
SunmapHyakunincho 1-11-24, Shirakawa Bldg 1F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Khun Mae 1 (Thai). 3227-9588
The main branch of this popular Thai restaurant is simply called Khun Mae and is located a few doors down the road; the confusingly named Khun Mae 1 handles some of the overflow. (Apparently they start their numbering at zero.) Whichever number you choose, the food is reliable, fairly authentic, and reasonably priced. [Show more]
SunmapHyakunincho 1-10-11. Open 11:30am-11pm (LO) daily.
Khun Mae (Thai). 3368-1166
One of Okubo's better Thai restaurants; budget around Y3000-4000 at dinnertime.
SunmapHyakunincho 1-10-7, Omori Bldg 1F. Open 11:30am-3, 3-11pm (LO) daily.
!HaruKor (Ainu). 3368-4677
Ezo venison, salmon, scallops, potatoes and mountain vegetables - all freshly imported from Hokkaido - are prepared in simple fashion to bring out their wholesome, natural flavors here at Tokyo's only Ainu restaurant. Similar to Hokkaido country-style cooking, Ainu cuisine uses a bit more garlic, ginger and spices while focusing on seasonal local vegetables and other ingredients. [Show more]
SunmapHyakunincho 1-10-1. Open 5pm-midnight daily.
Green Nasco (Retail). 5332-5194
Spices from Pakistan and India plus Halal meats, ready-to-eat pouches of curry, and bulk chickpeas and lentils are sold in this small ethnic grocery.
SunmapHyakunincho 2-10-8.
Fuji Store (Retail). 3366-8480
Imported ingredients from Myanmar are the specialty here - lahpet (fermented tea), deep-fried nuts and Burmese tobacco. They also stock some Thai ingredients.
SunmapHyakunincho 2-9-15, Lion's Mansion 202. Open 11:30am-midnight daily.
Great India (Indian). 3365-8250
While they many not win any awards for their rather basic decor, this late-night shop offers decent curries, friendly service and good value for money. And everything on the menu is available for take-out. If you somehow miss their 5am closing hour, they also have a 24-hour branch nearby (03-5272-6336).
lateSunmapHyakunincho 2-27-5. Open 11am-5am daily.
Mochimochinoki (Ramen). 3368-1751
Nicely textured noodles in a tasty fish-based broth are topped off with excellent home-made menma (pickled bamboo shoots). They also offer a rather novel ramen pizza.
SunmapKita-Shinjuku 1-4-1, Arma Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-11pm daily.
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