What to Eat in Tokyo Now


Tokyo summers are hot, humid, and in my opinion, horrible. I don’t know about you, but my appetite wanes and some days it can be hard to get motivated to eat. Here are some things that I look forward to eating this time of year. In this list I am including some dishes or restaurants I haven’t been to, but are on my radar for the summer. If you make it to any of these, please reply to this blogpost, I’d love to hear your impressions.

Dominique Ansel’s Sweet Corn Ice Cream http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/corn-ice-cream-grilled-corn-cob-tokyos-newest-dessert We love this shop so much it is where we came to celebrate my birthday. There is a second floor café with great savory dishes like avocado toast and chicken pot pie. This summer’s sweet corn ice cream looks amazing. (Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-7-14 渋谷区神宮前5-7-14)

Kakigori shaved ice brings me back to my first visits to Japan from Minnesota. My favorite was the miruku (milk) topping, which is actually sweetened condensed milk. Other great toppings include green tea and red bean paste.


Nihonbashi Sapporoya Chilled Ramen with Sesame Dressing

Chilled Ramen at Nihonbashi Sapporoya. This is my favorite bowl of ramen in the summer. If you’ve never had cold ramen, let this be your first.  https://foodsaketokyo.com/2013/10/13/nihonbashi-sapporoya/

Baird Beer Taproom in Takadanobaba. I haven’t been, but this is on my summer Go List. Nothing better to cool down with than cold beer. This is my favorite craft beer in Japan, and this new shop’s menu includes kushiage (meat and vegetables that are skewered, dusted with panko, and deep-fried). See you there. http://bairdbeer.com/en/tap/takadanobaba.html


Kintame Bubuchazuke

A meal of Japanese pickles is cooling and refreshing. My favorite pickle shop is Monzennakacho’s Kintame. https://foodsaketokyo.com/2011/06/30/kintame/


Tsukishima Monjayaki

One crazy food I crave in the summer is monjayaki, Tokyo’s version of a savory pancake that is cooked over a hot iron grill. Sitting at the table is hot, and a good excuse to drink ice cold beer. Tsukishima is a neighborhood that has a street lined with monjayaki shops. Best to go at night as the area comes to life. Most shops are closed at lunch, but a few are open, if this is your only time to come. https://foodsaketokyo.com/2011/07/06/monjayaki-okame-hyottoko-ten/


Summer Saké

Cooling down with saké in the summer is more interesting when drinking summer saké. Saké made for drinking in the summer tends to be a little lower in alcohol, sometimes frizzante, and often bottled in light blue or clear bottles. Ask for natsu sake at your retail shop or when dining out.


Kagurazaka Meisyan Tan Tan Men

Spicy and hot tan tan men noodles are also on my mind this time of year. Eating this dish I usually work up a sweat, which somehow seems to cool me down a bit. It’s also a good excuse to have a cold beer. This bowl is from Meisyan 梅香 in Kagurazaka, with a female chef in the kitchen (woo-hoo!). Shinjuku-ku, Yokoteramachi 37-39, Nakajima Daiichi Bldg. 新宿区横寺町37-39中島第一ビル

On this same theme, I also love having curry in the summer. Here is a list of some curries in Tokyo worth seeking out. https://foodsaketokyo.com/category/curry/


Tsurutontan Tomato Udon

Finally, cold noodles, soba, udon, or somen. Pop into any noodle shop and seek out the cold noodles. In particular, I am a huge fan of the seasonal udon menu at Tsurutontan, with branches throughout the city and at Haneda airport.  https://foodsaketokyo.com/2014/08/12/roppongi-tsurutontan-udon/




What and Where to Eat in Tokyo

Iron Chef Kimio Nonaga at Nihonbashi Yukari

Iron Chef Kimio Nonaga at Nihonbashi Yukari

Updated May, 2016

I often am asked for restaurant suggestions in Tokyo. Wow. Where does one begin? The food is amazing, from the high end kaiseki restaurants and sushi counters to the neighborhood ramen shop or izakaya. Even on a budget it is very easy to eat well in Tokyo.

Let me put here just some of my recommendations of restaurants based on the types of food one should try when visiting. Also, one should consider location as the city is so big and there are so many great restaurants, it may not be necessary to traverse the metropolis.

Sushi – Ginza Harutaka or Kyubey for high end. Both are in Ginza.

Tonkatsu – Maisen (Omotesando) or Katsukura (Shinjuku)

Soba – Yabu Soba (Kanda) or Kanda Matsuya (Kanda)

Tempura – Kondo (Ginza), Zezankyo (Monzennakacho), or Tenko (Kagurazaka)

Value-priced tempura – Tenmatsu (Nihonbashi)

Tofu – Tofuya Ukai (Shiba Koen)

Pickles – Kintame (Tokyo Station or Monzennakacho)

Meat – New York Grill and Bar (Shinjuku) is on the top of my list as there is an Argentine chef, Federico Heinzmann, who knows what he’s doing when it comes to steak. If you want to eat Kobe Beef, come here. Alternatively Ukaitei teppanyaki (Ginza or Omotesando)

Izakaya – Yamariki (Morishita) or Saiseisakaba (Shinjuku or Monzennakacho)

Kaiseki – Nihonbashi Yukari  (Nihonbashi), Waketokuyama (Hiroo), Kikunoi (Akasaka)


Ramen – Ginza Kagari is my favorite at the moment. Afuri for the yuzu shio is also excellent. Alternatively,  Ippudo (Ueno) or Kyushu Jangara (Nihonbashi or Harajuku)

Unagi – Nodaiwa (Higashi Azabu)

Monjayaki – Okame Hyottoko Ten (Tsukishima)

Yakitori – Birdland (Ginza) or Isehiro (Kyobashi)

Oden – Otafuku (Asakusa) or Ogura (Ginza)

My short list of where to drink in Tokyo.

A similar list of culinary highlights in Tokyo from Indagare.

I have also contributed to these great food guides for:

Saveur Tokyo City Guide

Punch Tokyo City Guide

Monjayaki – Okame Hyottoko Ten

Okame Hyottoko Ten

Okame Hyottoko Ten

Mentai Mochi Cheese

Mentai Mochi Cheese

Mentai Mochi Cheese 2

Mentai Mochi Cheese 2

Tsukishima and Tsukuda are on an island in the Sumidagawa River just as it flows into Tokyo Bay. It is very close to Tsukiji Market and offers two local foods of Tokyo, monjayaki  at Tsukishima and Tsukudani at Tsukuda.

Monjayaki is just one of those foods that everyone should try once in their life if they are wanting to experience different types of Japanese cuisine. I love coming here with my girlfriends, drinking cold beers over the hot stove.

The “Monjayaki Association” has a stand near the exit of the subway station and they will give you maps. If you know where you want to go they can show you where it is on the map and how to get there. They are not very good at answering your question about which place is the best.

Tsukishima near Tsukiji is ground zero for monjyayaki. Similar to the more famous okonomiyaki of the Kansai region, monjayaki is made from a thinner base. Instead of a thick, savory pancake, diners eat thin, crispy bits right off of the teppan (iron) grill, using a small, tiny metal spatula. The environment lends itself to drinking beer or other chilled drinks to keep cooled down while eating off of the hot grill. It’s good to try while you are in Tokyo as you won’t see it much outside of the city.

If you like being in the kitchen, then monjayaki is great fun as you cook your own meals on a hot iron grill that diners sit around. Best to have the wait staff make the first one for you, which they will. The base monja mix has many variations. A popular combination is mentaiko (spicy cod roe), mochi (sticky rice taffy), and cheese. An Italian version would be tomatoes, cheese, and pesto, or a Korean version may include kimchi and thin sliced pork. Ask at the shop if they have any original specialties and try them.

The best time to come is in the evening as the main street, Nishi Naka Dori Shoutengai, is closed off to cars making it easy to carefully peruse the shops before deciding on one. Most of the shops have low tables at tatami mats so if you are not flexible, look for a shop with tables and chairs. In selecting a shop, go with the one that gives you a warm welcome.

Okame Hyottoko Ten おかめひょっとこ店

Chuo-ku, Tsukishima 3-8-10


11:00 – 22:00, no holidays

http://www.monja.gr.jp/monja/hyottoko/hyottoko.htm (Japanese)

Okame Hyottoko is open for lunch if you come during the day. The friendly staff can help you navigate over 100 options. Okame has two other shops in the area if this one is full ask them to direct you to the other ones.