Answers from Our Experts (2)
Tokyo takes food very seriously. It goes without saying that the Japanese food is some of the best you'll find anywhere, but the city also has some of the best of every type of cuisine you can imagine. If it's an Italian restaurant, the chef probably apprenticed for years in Italy, and so on. Emilia near Harajuku is one of the many wonderful Italian restaurants where the pasta and bread are made fresh onsite every day.
Sukibayashi Jiro in Ginza is widely considered the best sushi bar in Tokyo. For a quick and simple bite that doesn't require (or take) reservations, you can't beat the ease and freshness of a standing sushi bar like Uogashi Nihon Ichi, which has over a dozen locations in popular drinking areas.
When the occasion calls for something fancier, make a reservation to be dazzled by the molecular magic of Flatiron inside the Tokyo American Club. Or, stick with a more subtle kind of culinary artistry with traditional vegetarian shojin ryori at Itosho, where course after course of painstakingly prepared seasonal food is served at individual tables in elegant tatami rooms.
Gastronomes love to argue about whether Nihonryori Ryugin is better than Narisawa, or vice versa. Make your own mind up by visiting both.
Then perhaps go to the Ginza, where three great gourmet destinations share a tiny basement. Sukiyabashi Jiro is often hailed as Tokyo’s greatest sushi restaurant, Birdland is the capital’s top yakitori spot, and Nodaiwa is a celebrated for its charcoal-grilled wild eels.
Weekend brunch at the Park Hyatt’s New York Grill is a culinary institution. It includes an appetizer and dessert buffet, and comes with a 52-story-high view of the city.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to eat well in Tokyo. Ramen fans should head to Ivan Ramen or Bassanova for modern twists, or Ramen Jiro for a greasy old-school classic.
You’ll find a street of atmospheric olde-worlde eateries in Omoide Yokocho, beside Shinjuku Station. The food is simple, unpretentious, and in some cases will challenge your idea of what should be on a plate (pig’s testicles, anyone?), but it’s a great place to get talking to locals.
You shouldn’t visit Tokyo without trying an izakaya. One of the jolliest is Shirube in Shibuya... it’s tough to find, and booked solid days in advance, but it’s well worth the effort. A decent standby is Shin Hinomoto in Yurakucho. It’s lively and foreigner friendly, though it’s still a good idea to reserve a table.
Vegetarians should try the multi-course Zen cuisine of Itosho or Sanko-in, or the photogenic veggie sushi of Potagier, where vegetables are crafted to mimic seafood.