Cuisine and menu-reading guide


Unagi in Japan

TIP: While unagi has a luxurious image and some top-end shops can charge high prices, you can also find less expensive, but still very good, unagi restaurants in department stores and shopping malls; often these are branches of more-expensive main shops.
This long-established unagi specialist (since 1894) serves excellent eel in a thick, somewhat spicy sauce. Prices are very reasonable: unaju (eel over rice) from Y2100, full-course menus Y4200-9450. Be prepared to wait awhile, as eels are prepared from scratch. They also have a branch in Matsuya Department Store in Ginza (03-3567-1378)..... [Continue reading]
This rather plain-looking counter shop has a 400-year history of selling high-quality eel, and one of the specialties is shirayaki ("white" eel without sauce). Unaju (unagi over rice) is Y2400-2800, while the deluxe version (without rice) is around Y4000-6000. It takes about twenty minutes to custom-grill your order..... [Continue reading]
This cozy little shop is piled high with decades worth of bric-a-brac, much of it sumo-themed. There's a small table for six built around a tiny central hearth, plus tight tatami seating for six more. A TV set plays in one corner. The eel is prepared the old-fashioned way, beginning once you've placed your order, and it's grilled quite thoroughly to complement the rich fattiness of the.... [Continue reading]
This long-running shop serves hitsumabushi, grilled unagi eel served in traditional Nagoya fasion. There are both traditional tatami-mat rooms and more Westernized dining rooms with tables and chairs; some of them offer a garden view. They also have a more centrally located branch in Matsuzakaya department store. .... [Continue reading]
Nagoya-style grilled unagi eel is served here, grilled over only the finest binchotan charcoal and served with their own special low-salt tamari sauce. Hitsumabushi (a traditional Nagoya serving style) menus are Y3150-7000 for both lunch and dinner. ... [Continue reading]
Accessible Kyoto-style grilled unagi, in a popular little shop just east of the Minamiza kabuki theater. Unagi seiro-mushi (steamed eel) is one of their specialties. Eel over rice starts at Y1785, and omakase dinners range from Y7500 to Y16,000. Take-out is available, from Y2000.... [Continue reading]
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