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kura (Salmon Roe) | © City Foodsters/ Flickr

The 7 Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Tokyo

Picture of Lucy Dayman
Updated: 7 February 2018
What’s so great about eating well here in Tokyo, home to the most Michelin starred restaurants in the world, is the fact that to get the highest-grade dishes you don’t have to break the bank. In fact, if you know where to look, it’s easy to get a Michelin-level lunch for the price of a café sandwich. Here’s a guide to seven very affordable Michelin-starred places you can visit in Tokyo right now.
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Japan’s ultimate comfort food, tonkatsu is a an unlikely dish for Michelin attention, but it’s a national favourite. For those uninitiated, tonkatsu is in its most classic form a deep-fried pork cutlet usually often served with cabbage. Katsuzen is the only Michelin-starred tonkatsu restaurant and with good reason. Their succulent pork covered in a layer of crispy breadcrumbs makes it world class. The restaurant’s owner, Etsuo Nagai, has worked as a tonkatsu chef for around 50 years, so he knows what he’s doing.

A lunch set here will cost you around US$40, which includes appetizers and sides. If you visit for dinner expect to fork out around US$75.

kurobuta pork #tonkatsu

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Tue - Fri:
11:30 am - 2:30 pm 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Sat - Sun:
11:30 am - 3:00 pm 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Though it’s typically a soba restaurant, the slightly hidden Kyourakutei has a lot more to offer than noodles, even though its noodles are some of the best in the world. Tokyo is home to around eight Michelin-starred soba restaurants, so competition is tight. Using grain-like seeds found in Aizu located in Fukushima prefecture, these distinct handmade soba noodles are milled fresh on the day they’re served. Many dishes also come with a side of tempura vegetables and seafood, depending on what you’re after.

Expect to pay around US$30-35 for a Ten Zaru or Kisetsu Ten Zaru set, which is the safest bet for those feeling overwhelmed by the choices on offer.

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Tue - Sat:
11:30 am - 3:00 pm
Mon - Sat:
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
You can’t visit Tokyo without trying sushi. However, be warned the high-end stuff comes with a high-end price. Saito in Roppongi was actually the first sushi restaurant to be awarded the three-star rating from Michelin. Taking meticulous care in the creation of every single grain of rice that enters this restaurant, chef Takashi Saito is one of the ultimate sushi masters of the world.

What’s surprising, though, is the restaurant is actually rather affordable, if you go during lunch. Lunch offerings vary between around US$54–162 depending on what you want.

sushi saito

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Mon - Sat:
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
The original Michelin-starred ramen shop on the scene, eating at Tsuta ramen is potentially going to ruin you for all future ramen experiences, but it’s worth it. Overflowing with complex flavours and noodles cooked to absolute perfection, this dish is the epitome of umami. The noodles in this bowl are made with buckwheat, which is typically used in soba noodles, giving the dish a unique little twist.

Believe it or not, a bowl of this high-end ramen will set you back a very friendly US$13 or so.

米其林ㄧ星拉麵 嗯吃過就好😆 #tsutaramen

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Thu - Tue:
11:00 am - 4:00 pm 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Tucked away in the basement of a very unidentifiable Shinjuku building sits one of Tokyo’s more unlikely culinary stars, Nakajima. Specialising in iwashi (sardines) sourced freshly from the boat by way of Tsukiji market, the dishes here are set to convert any seafood naysayer. The store offers sardines cooked in one of five ways of your choosing.

During lunch follow the fast-moving line that snakes out the front of the store to grab a Michelin-starred meal for only US$8. Dinner prices are a little steeper but still worth the US$50 price tag.


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Mon - Sat:
11:30 am - 2:00 pm 5:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
The other ramen shop on the list is the new kid on the Michelin block, but no less deserving than any other name on this list. This noodle kingdom has been serving up world-class ramen for a long time now, and it’s fair to say they’ve perfected the art. Using only high-grade kelp, dried scallops and the best ago (fish) in their shio (broth) it’s their unique soup that makes them so well loved. They’re also gaining a reputation for creating some of the best dandan noodles in Tokyo, so be prepared to wait in line to get your hands on a bowl.

Lunch here will cost a very wallet-friendly US$8, which is really cheap for lunch prices no matter where in the world you are.

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Soba Sasuga
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
Situated just five minutes from Ginza Station, this high-end soba restaurant has done away with the high-end prices. The shop specialises in Juwari soba, which is 100 percent buckwheat soba and water, meaning that the quality of the noodles here are as pure as they come. Even if you’re no noodle expert this place is friendly and simple enough for you to at least pretend you are for an hour or so.

There are a number of soba options including kakesoba, which is soba in a bowl of hot soup, zaru soba chilled noodles with a dipping soup, both of which cost US$10. If you want something a little fancier, go for the kamonegi soba, which is soba with hot dipping sauce, duck and welsh onion, that still only costs around US$17.

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Mon - Sat:
11:30 am - 2:00 pm
Mon - Fri:
5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
5:30 pm - 9:00 pm