Aoyama-dori (west to east), Gaienmae station
A very inexpensive izakaya-style menu, with the emphasis on fresh seafood. Good food for the price, and mostly private rooms.
A wide selection of freshly made dim sum is available all day long; there's also a big a la carte menu plus assorted dinners and all-you-can-eat specials. The room won't win any interior decorating awards, but the cooking is solid, the service pleasant and professional.
Minami-Aoyama 3-1-30, Sumitomo Seimei Bldg., B1F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
American-style ribs, casual atmosphere.
Minami-Aoyama 3-1-30, Sumitomo Seimei Bldg., B1F. Open noon to 10:30pm (LO) daily.
Modern French cuisine from Chef Daisuke Kaneko, a veteran of Alain Senderens in Paris and La Becasse in Osaka. The seven-course prix-fixe dinner or weekend lunch, the only menu choice, is just Y5250. Weekend lunch is served noon-1pm (last order).
Minami-Aoyama 4-16-3, Minami-Aoyama Kotori Bldg 1F. Open 5:30-10:30pm (LO). Closed Tues, some Wed.
This ambitious American-style diner serves one of the few lamb burgers in town, and they do a terrific job. With minimal dressing on the burger, it's all about the very flavorful meat, beautifully grilled and lightly seasoned. If you prefer something beefier, the shop's flagship Kobe beef burger is also very impressive, as are the regular wagyu burger and the Balentien burger, which turns out to be a spicy Cajun chicken patty. This ambitious American-style diner serves one of the few lamb burgers in town, and they do a terrific job. With minimal dressing on the burger, it's all about the very flavorful meat, beautifully grilled and lightly seasoned. If you prefer something beefier, the shop's flagship Kobe beef burger is also very impressive, as are the regular wagyu burger and the Balentien burger, which turns out to be a spicy Cajun chicken patty.
The menu is surprisingly extensive, with Tex Mex-style dishes (burritos, tacos, chili), spicy fare (Cajun roast chicken, jumbo shrimp with chile salsa), classic diner sandwiches (club house, NY steak), salads and soups. Most wines are priced Y2400-6000 per bottle, Y600 per glass, or you can opt for frozen margaritas or other cocktails. There's an English-language menu and take-out service. Budget around Y3000 for dinner with drinks, Y1200 for lunch. [Show more] [Show less]
Minami-Aoyama 2-27-18. Open 11:30am-5:30, 6-10pm (LO) daily.
This stylish design-centered cafe offers architecture magazines to browse through while you sip your coffee. They serve a small breakfast buffet (Y1200) from 7-10am.
A tofu and yuba specialty restaurant with branches throughout Japan. Full-course dinners range from Y3,600; lunch from Y1,900. This is definitely an old-school tofu shop - first you sip ume tea and listen to koto music in the waiting area, then you're led to a main dining room that might remind you of an upscale family restaurant. After the meal you can browse the "souvenir" section next to the cash register, which has packaged tofu items to take home. The customer demographic skews towards more mature Aoyama shoppers, and the menu notes the number of calories for each set meal. And the tofu is very good.
One of the specialties here is the "mineoka dofu" - sweet and very creamy, almost dessert-like in character. You can pick from a huge variety of set meals and side dishes, including seasonal specials, ranging upwards from Y3600 (Y1900 at lunchtime). Most sets have about a dozen dishes, and some highlights included tofu shumai dumplings, yuba (tofu-skin) soup, daikon-and-maguro sushi wrapped in yuba, and of course the soy-milk (tonyu) sherbet. There are a few premium sake choices - it's almost an afterthought - and they compete for your attention with offbeat plum-flavored drinks like the ume-champagne cocktail.
Ume no Hana is a nation-wide chain with 11 other Tokyo branches, including Harumi (03-5144-8235), Ginza (03-3538-2226), and Ueno (03-3834-7712). [Show more] [Show less]
Minami-Aoyama 2-27-18, Aoyama M's Tower Passage 2F. Open 11am-3, 5-9pm (LO) daily.
Good modern Chinese cooking - their clay-pot tofu, cashew chicken and fried pork belly are especially recommended. If you're in a celebratory mood, the menu offers some luxurious special dishes like Peking Duck and Abalone Steak in Oyster Sauce. Prix-fixe menus are priced from Y3675 at lunchtime, Y6300 at dinner, but you can also order a la carte (budget around Y5,000-10,000 for dinner and drinks; Y2000 at lunch).
Minami-Aoyama 2-27-18, Passage Aoyama 1F. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
A convenient Gaienmae meeting spot, with music listening booths as well as a coffee and food menu.
Kita-Aoyama 2-7-18, Yamazaki Bldg. 1F. Open 11am-2am (LO) daily.
For those who hate leaving work, this popular DJ bar is decorated like an office, with file cabinets, bookshelves, and copier machine. Different DJs nightly, a young crowd, a full food menu, and a good nighttime view down Aoyama-dori.
First-rate grilled chicken and great home-made tofu. They have a small sake list, but their monthly sake picks are usually worth checking out, as are the daily specials on the food menu. Seating is at a comfortable counter or in semi-private nooks.
Kita-Aoyama 2-7-25. Open 5-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Modern Scandinavian cuisine and spiffy Swedish design from internationally renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson, known for his highly acclaimed Aquavit and Riingo restaurants in New York City. Lunches from Y1500 and dinners from Y6800; there's also a lounge area serving drinks and lighter food. Jackets are recommended for men in the dining room. [See FULL REVIEW
This very stylish Scandinavian-design lounge features immense Austin Powers-style chairs in which you can plot world domination while you sip on unusual aquavit-based cocktails. They also serve home-made aquavit (Scandinavian schnapps) in eye-opening flavors like coconut-espresso and mango-lime-chili. The small food menu includes Swedish nibbles like roast beets with goat cheese (Y1750); and duck confit with lamb ragout (Y2400).
Reasonably priced Chinese fare; dinner plans with open bar start at Y3500.
Minami-Aoyama 2-12-16, Ishizuka Shoji Building B1F. Open 11:30am-3, 6-11:30pm daily.
Well-prepared Cantonese standards are served here in a very ordinary-looking Chinese-restaurant dining room. The Y2100 weekend lunch features good-sized portions of shrimp in chili sauce, sweet and sour pork, stir-fried vegetables, smoked-meat starters, egg-drop soup, and almond jelly for dessert - no real surprises, but everything is nicely put together. Weekday lunches start at Y1050, with full-course dinners from Y4200.
Kita-Aoyama 2-3-1, C.I. Plaza. Open 11am-10pm (LO 9:30) daily.
The decor is minimalist industrial (all burnished steel counters and crisp metal blinds), the attitude is sophisticated without being snobbish, and the food is custom-designed izakaya fare based on the classics. [See FULL REVIEW
Kita-Aoyama 2-3-1, C.I. Plaza 2F. Open 11am-2, 5:30pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.
This spacious cafe offers typical cafe fare (pastas, sandwiches) during the day, along with fresh-baked breads and pastries from their in-store bakery. In the evening the menu widens to include grilled meats and fish and other Mediterranean-inspired fare. There's some outdoor terrace seating overlooking the Jingu Gaien promenade.
Kita-Aoyama 2-1-19. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Gaien-Nishi-dori (south to north)
Luxurious modern French cooking and warm service; the chef here was the former sous chef at the Michelin three-star restaurant Quintessence. Prix-fixe lunches are Y4,200, dinners are Y10,500 (+10% sc). Tables are in great demand, so you might need to book a month or two in advance.
Minami-Aoyama 4-9-9, Aoyama TMI 1F. Open noon-1:30, 6:30-9pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
(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.
Minami-Aoyama 3-2-3, Katorea Bldg 2F. Open 11am-2:30, 5:30-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Finding this place amid the tangle of bars and restaurants along the backstreets of Aoyama can be a challenge, but the deep-fried shrimp heads alone make it worth the effort. The young chef at this stylish tempura specialist pays particular attention to the quality of his seasonal ingredients. Seafood and vegetables are dipped briefly in batter - just enough to protect their modesty - and fried to perfection. Perfection, however, does not come cheap. Budget Y10,000 for dinner and drinks.
Minami-Aoyama 3-2-4, Central Aoyama No. 6-BA. Open 5:30-11pm (LO). Closed Sundays and holidays.
(Belgian rest/beer bar). 6804-5884
Belgian frites (fried potatoes) - prepared by a former chef at the Belgian embassy - are the specialty at this casual standing bar. Frites are priced at Y550 for a medium-size portion (actually fairly hefty) and Y650 for an even larger ration. They come with a choice of plain mayonnaise or several other dips (although some of the extra-special dips run an extra Y50). If you're very hungry you can add on small side dishes like meatballs in tomato sauce or Flemish carbonade, a delicious beef and onion stew made with brown beer. Belgian frites (fried potatoes) - prepared by a former chef at the Belgian embassy - are the specialty at this casual standing bar. Frites are priced at Y550 for a medium-size portion (actually fairly hefty) and Y650 for an even larger ration. They come with a choice of plain mayonnaise or several other dips (although some of the extra-special dips run an extra Y50). If you're very hungry you can add on small side dishes like meatballs in tomato sauce or Flemish carbonade, a delicious beef and onion stew made with brown beer.
This being Belgium of course there's beer, in this case a few unusual brands we haven't seen at Tokyo beer bars. Draft beers are Tongerlo brown beer, Primus lager and Seefbier, while the bottle list offers Tongerlo Blond, Affligem Blonde, and the tangy Lindemans Cassis lambic beer. Frites and side dishes are ready to take out. [Show more] [Show less]
Korean barbecue prepared over charcoal braziers. Dinner with drinks averages around Y8000.
Jingumae 3-41-8. (on Gaien-Nishi-dori) Open 5pm-12:30am (LO) daily.
Skillfully constructed fish dishes and pastas from an extensive menu that changes daily.
A small but well-chosen selection of sake and shochu, with lots of shochu available for tasting.
Jingumae 2-4-1. Open 9am-9pm. Closed Sundays.
Spicy winter stews and homestyle Korean cooking from this branch of the tiny but very authentic Halleluyah in Okubo. One of the specialties of the house is dakkalbi (grilled chicken, Korean mochi and vegetables simmered in a spicy red sauce). The building itself has a fun retro feel to it, subtly fashioned to resemble a grimy Korean roadhouse from the 1950s. [See FULL REVIEW
Jingumae 3-42-18. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Le Gaulois turns out impressively accomplished French cuisine, but despite the serious kitchen it maintains the warm, down-to-earth feel of a neighborhood restaurant. The food is creative but unpretentious, relying on impeccable ingredients and painstaking attention to detail. The four-course, Y6800 prix-fixe menu represents good value for money, and the wine list is well put together and reasonably priced. [See FULL REVIEW
Jingumae 2-3-18. Open noon-2:30, 6-9pm. Closed Mondays.
The pastas and pizzas are well-constructed and reasonably priced, although sometimes they use unusual ingredients (such as in their dessert pizzas). The dining room is spacious and attractive, and the hours convenient - open for both late-afternoon lunch and evening drinks.
Jingumae 2-6-1. Open 11:30am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
This stylish little izakaya offers excellent food, a good sake selection, and an entire menu page devoted to different varieties of salt - 12 of them in all. Charcoal-grilled seafood and vegetables are among the food highlights. Budget around Y2500 without drinks. [Go to branch review]
An Italian restaurant with a good craft-beer selection is a nice find, but if you're not hungry you can come just for the beer. The ten taps dispense an assortment of Japanese, US and European craft beers, with some unusual finds (a Swiss sour ale!) that we haven't seen elsewhere. An Italian restaurant with a good craft-beer selection is a nice find, but if you're not hungry you can come just for the beer. The ten taps dispense an assortment of Japanese, US and European craft beers, with some unusual finds (a Swiss sour ale!) that we haven't seen elsewhere.
In addition to table seating there's a comfortable five-seat bar on the ground floor, suitable for a casual quick drink. US pints are Y880, and there's a Y300 cover charge. Open from 11:30am weekends. [Show more] [Show less]
Jingumae 3-6-6. Open 6-11:30pm daily.
The menu here is French-influenced casual cafe fare - liver mousse, ratatouille, mussels and clams steamed in white wine, roast beets with Roquefort cheese. French wines start at around Y3000. Budget around Y2500 for food at dinnertime.
Jingumae 2-33-12, Villa Bianca 1F. Open 11:30am-midnight daily.
Having conquered the worlds of music and fashion, "A Bathing Ape" founder Nigo has turned his attention to curry rice. The small Curry Up shop on the northern edge of Harajuku was designed by Wonderwall and reportedly named by hiphop producer Pharrell Williams. Having conquered the worlds of music and fashion, "A Bathing Ape" founder Nigo has turned his attention to curry rice. The small Curry Up shop on the northern edge of Harajuku was designed by Wonderwall and reportedly named by hiphop producer Pharrell Williams. The look is simple but stylish - a white concrete storefront with a yellow neon sign, and lots of stainless steel and concrete on the interior. The modern style is tempered by subtly kitsch elements like the faux-wood-grained table and counter tops, old-fashioned white curtains in the window, and the gold-bordered shop logo with a smiling, mustachioed chef.
The music is old-school, mainstream reggae - we enjoyed both "You Don't Love Me (No No No)" by Dawn Penn and "One Love" by Bob Marley during our first ten minutes in the shop. The high point of our meal (from a design point of view) was the little dish of pickles that came with our curry. They've taken the vivid pink, green and white curry-shop standard pickle assortment, diced everything up very fine and mixed it all together in a pretty, bright swirl of colors. [Show more] [Show less]
Jingumae 2-35-9-105. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-8:30pm (LO) daily.
Inexpensive sashimi and other fish dishes, offering good quality for the price. There's an assortment of premium sake brands as well as shochu to drink. (Formerly called Higashi-no-17.) Cash only.
Jingumae 2-19-16. Open 4-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
This tiny, funky ten-seat bar run by Guam native Jamie Skye attracts a mostly local crowd, both Japanese and foreign. Music ranges from String Cheese Incident to Style Council to Scandinavian jazz.
Jingumae 2-20-12. Open 8pm-2am. Closed Sundays.
This comfortable sofa-furnished lounge attracts a Japanese hipster crowd and features jazzy DJs and occasional live performances; there's also a tiny art gallery and chill space upstairs. The hidden entrance is at the back of another bar.
Jingumae 2-23-4. Open 8pm-1am. Closed Sundays.
Skillful Italian cooking in a casual but comfortable trattoria setting. Main courses include game in season, and the finest small-farm-raised meats and regional seafood year-round. There's a good selection of wines under Y7000, with at least a half dozen by the glass. [See FULL REVIEW
Jingumae 2-25-4. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10:30pm (LO). Closed Thursdays.
(Liquor shop). 3401-1991
This small neighborhood shop stocks a good selection of wines from around the world, sold at very reasonable prices.
Jingumae 2-25-5. Open 3-9:30pm. Closed Sundays.
More suited to chilling out than carousing, this quiet neighborhood bar plays prog-rock and is furnished with bookcases overflowing with poetry books, with an emphasis on the Beat era. Decorated in a vivid red-and-black color scheme, it's perched in a tiny fourth-floor garret that's reachable only via a narrow outdoor spiral staircase.
Jingumae 2-3-26, La Boite Noir 4F. Open 6pm-1am (Sun 3-10pm). Closed Mondays.
An entertaining cave-like space with tiny doors, miniature rooms and lots of nooks and crannies. The menu features tasty and reasonably priced Okinawan, Thai and other Asian dishes along with assorted cocktails.
Jingumae 2-31-8. Open noon-2, 6pm-midnight (LO). Closed Sundays.
The decor of this cute little cafe is a mix of early-sixties batchelor-pad modern with African and Asian knick-knacks, while the soundtrack covers the range of Afro-pop and world music. There are plenty of cozy seating areas, including a couple of chairs perched in the tiny back garden. The menu features flavored teas, original cocktails, Singaporean chicken rice and Thai curries.
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. 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.
Lunches are Y1200 (main course) and Y2500 (three courses), and feature dishes like sauteed sea bass, stuffed cabbage and chicken stew. There's a wider menu at dinner, with starters like foie gras, Hungarian salami, stuffed mushrooms and beef tartar, plus assorted soups. Budget around Y6000 for food and a few glasses of wine. [Show more] [Show less]
Jingumae 2-19-5, Azuma Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-2, 6-9:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Bepocah serves upscale Peruvian fare, with an impressive selection of cebiches, tiraditos and other marinated fresh-seafood dishes. Prix-fixe menus are Y4500 and Y5000, or you can order a la carte. The convenient late-night hours - open until 5am on weekend nights - are an added bonus.
Jingumae 2-17-6. Open 5pm-2am (Fr, Sa -5am). Closed Sundays.
Espresso beverages, teas, salads and other light cafe fare. Prices are a bit higher than average, but the dining area is stylish and spacious. Located inside the Ron Herman store.
Sendagaya 2-11-1. Open 9am-9pm daily.
Pancakes for breakfast, burgers, and simple dishes like pork chops and Moroccan chicken with rice. Eat in or take out.
Sendagaya 2-28-4. Open 10am-11pm daily.
This branch of Galali offers a big selection of shochu, mostly the kokuto (sugarcane) variety, and excellent food to go with it. The rustic interior is intimate and comfortable, although the building can be a bit shaky when large trucks rumble past. [See FULL REVIEW
Sendagaya 2-6-4. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm (LO) daily.
A neighborhood curry shop.
Jingumae 2-13-2. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-11pm. Closed Sundays.
This spacious basement dining room offers a very popular Japanese natural-foods lunch service; last order is 3pm. It's set up cafeteria-style, so you can mix and match your pick of half a dozen mains (mostly grilled fish and meats) priced at around Y400 each, along with vegetable side dishes, soup and rice as you like - a full meal comes to about Y1000. In the evenings there's a full menu of Japanese and Asian-influenced dishes with biodynamic wines and organic-herb cocktails; budget around Y3500. Tea and cakes are served during the afternoon.
Sendagaya 1-13-11. Open 11:30am-3, 6-9pm (LO) daily.
Convenient to nearby baseball, soccer and rugby stadia, this unpretentious neighborhood counter-shop serves good, old-fashioned European-style Japanese curries in meat and seafood variations. Options include various cheese toppings.
Sendagaya 2-33-1. Open 11:30am-7pm (Sat, Sun -6pm). Closed Mondays.
Shanghai-style dim sum and other dishes.
Sendagaya 1-7-11. (past Sendagaya pool and Mos Burger) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-10pm (LO) daily.
(Steak house). 3402-6066
A friendly Japanese-style steakhouse. The decor and menu are pretty old-school (they've been here since 1979), but the steaks are good, and fairly reasonable in price.
Sendagaya 1-7-12. Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm. Closed Mondays.
At night Jamaica Udon turns into a casual cafe-bar, with inexpensive cocktails and relatively late hours (for the neighborhood).
Sendagaya 1-7-12, 2F. Open 11am-1am (LO 10:30pm) daily.
Although the restaurant occupies a corner of the architecturally ambitious Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (Fumihiko Maki 1991), it seems to be a corner that the architects forgot - the bleak functionality of the space is only partially disguised by the tropical-resort motif. Still though, it's a decent spot to grab a reasonably priced French lunch if you happen to be in the neighborhood, and the outdoor seating is especially nice when the weather permits. Although the restaurant occupies a corner of the architecturally ambitious Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium (Fumihiko Maki 1991), it seems to be a corner that the architects forgot - the bleak functionality of the space is only partially disguised by the tropical-resort motif. Still though, it's a decent spot to grab a reasonably priced French lunch if you happen to be in the neighborhood, and the outdoor seating is especially nice when the weather permits.
Lunches start from Y1000, and prix-fixe dinners are Y3,600-15,000. The all-French wine list includes some reasonably priced bottles in the Y4000 range. [Show more] [Show less]
Sendagaya 1-17-1. Open 11am-2, 5:30-9pm (LO). Closed 3rd Monday.
Occupying a tiny building on the edge of Hatomori Shrine, this shop sells around a dozen varieties of gourmet coffee beans, all at very reasonable prices.
Sendagaya 1-1-23. Open 11:30am-6pm. Closed Sundays.
Fresh seafood from Hakodate (Hokkaido) and a nice sake selection in this large, modern izakaya.
Sendagaya 1-30-8, B1F. Open 11:30am-2, 5-11pm daily.
Great yakitori at this small neighborhood counter bar. The prix-fixe dinner is Y3500.
Sendagaya 4-10-5, 2F. Open 6-11pm. Closed Saturdays, Sundays.
Good-quality neighborhood Italian.
Sendagaya 4-20-2. Open 11:30am-2, 6-10pm (LO; 9 on Sundays). Open every day.
This casually hip bar and sometime music performance space is often open many hours later than the official midnight closing time. No cover charge.
The specialty of the house is dragon ramen, made with large chunks of kakuni (stewed pork), tomatoes and octopus. They also offer garlicky gyoza and simple stir-fry dishes, all of very high quality.
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.
A very pleasant garden-style cafe with decent food and drink.
Lots of good curries, great momo dumplings and "special nan" - potato, keema, coconut, etc. - at very affordable prices. The tiny basement dining space is enlivened by Nepalese music videos. Open all day long, with lunch served to 4pm.
Sendagaya 3-3-3, Executive Harajuku B1F. Open 11:30am-midnight daily.
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.
A luxury-level Italian trattoria, with lunch from Y1500, dinner from Y6500.
Sendagaya 3-50-11. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Serious espresso is served at this tiny neighborhood kiosk, and the friendly staff are happy to talk coffee all day long. A single espresso is Y150 while a large cafe latte is Y420; they also do drip coffee and sell beans (Y1050 for 150g). Open 11:30am-5pm weekends.
Sendagaya 3-51-6. Open 8:30am-6pm daily.