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Tokyo’s dining scene is deliciously diverse. Obviously, you can’t go wrong with Japanese food, but in the last couple of decades, international cuisine has also flourished. World-class French haute cuisine? We’ve got it in spades. Tunisian brik? No problem. Nepalese curry? There’s a great place in every neighborhood. The only thing missing is real Mexican food (the city could also use more New-York-style delis and affordable, authentic Chinese food, but nobody’s perfect).
Although you can spend a fortune on eating here -- dinner for two at a top-tier kaiseki restaurant like Koju can cost about Y100,000 ($1000) -- it is in fact possible to eat well and inexpensively. One trick: hit the high-end places at lunchtime, on weekdays. Most regular restaurants offer simple lunch sets starting at Y1,000 or Y1,200. Sushi restaurant Matsue in Ebisu serves a fresh and satisfying chirashi-don (raw, sliced fish on rice) for around Y1,500 at lunch, while dinner will run you closer to Y15,000. If you’re willing to spend more, you can eat like a king, even at fine-dining temples like Quintessence. Sure, you’ll end up paying around Y8,900, but that’s a bargain when you consider the fact that dinner costs more than double that, not including the wine you will inevitably order (the menu boasts over 600 varieties).