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It’s said that Tokyo has more restaurants and cafés per capita than any city in the world; even if this isn’t quite true, you’ll find the city a mecca for foodies. There’s great food on every corner, from convenience stores (called conbinis) to bento-ya in train stations to internationally acclaimed restaurants in upscale neighborhoods. Here are Forbes Travel Guide editors’ favorite places to dine while in Tokyo:
1. Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten. Set in Ginza, Sukiyabashi Jiro is run by a chef who’s considered a living national treasure; in fact Jiro Ono was featured in the recent documentary, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi.” Sushi here is an art form and everything is served omakase, meaning, you leave it up to the chef’s whim. Ono uses only the freshest seafood served in a simple but utterly refined way. Reservations are a must and this sushi-ya, which seats only 10, is booked months in advance.
2. Kondo. Imagine a sushi-style omakase menu built around different kinds of tempura and you’ll understand the concept behind Kondo, a 15-seat bôite in the Ginza. Chef Fumio Kondo delivers ethereal morsels of shrimp, lotus root and asparagus tips, he directs diners whether to eat course with salt, soy or on its own.
3. Ume no Hana. Tofu is king at Ume no Hana in Mintato, a restaurant that specializes in the soybean curd, prepared in a variety of ways that elevate it into a gourmet experience. Order vegetarian or meat dishes, à la carte or a ryori menu, that brings a succession of courses.
4. Tapas Molecular Bar. Set in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Nihonbashi, Tapas Molecular Bar is the place where chef Jeff Ramsey who worked with a disciple of Ferran Adrià creates modernist and playful tasting menus that meld Japanese cuisine and international ideas. Dishes are gorgeously presented and unexpected, like foie gras lollipops, miso soup spheres or king crab and uni in a tomato gelée.
5. L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Robuchon is considered the greatest living chef in France, and a visit to his Tokyo restaurant in the Roppongi Hills offers a glimpse into his culinary artistry. From the to Japanese inspired dishes like uni pasta, chestnut soup with foie gras or a pig trotters and truffle tartine. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest the chocolate dessert for a magical end to your repast.