Ningyocho: Izakaya
Rakuan (Ningyocho: Izakaya)
Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Sundays.

With its well-assembled sake list, solid food menu and comfortable setting, Rakuan is a great evening destination for both sake lovers and sake novices. Around thirty craft sake breweries are represented, with multiple labels per brewery and a good number of limited-edition seasonal specials. The reasonably priced half-size 90ml glasses make it easy to put together your own tasting flights while you explore the list.

Most of the food menu is devoted to simple dishes built around fresh, high-quality ingredients. Our assorted sashimi platter and grilled chicken were both first-rate, and our Edo-style anago (eel) tempura was crisp and plump and not a bit oily, perfect with just a sprinkling of salt. Grilled seasonal vegetables are an attractive alternative to the usual izakaya salad, and are served with an intriguing miso-herb dipping sauce.

Other menu specialties here include suppon (soft-shell turtle) cuisine, horsemeat dishes, and an elaborate steamed seafood dish called Kaisen Hoseki-mushi that's based on traditional recipes of the Ningyocho neighborhood.

The restaurant is divided into a small, comfortable dining room in back and a relatively spacious counter area up front, with 27 seats in all. Budget around Y5000-7000 for food and drink. Reservations are recommended.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-24-4.

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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended