Ichiran has been called the best ramen in the world, so it’s no wonder that among Tokyo tourists, it’s also one of the most popular ramen restaurants. Ichiran became famous for their delicious pork bone (tonkotsu) broth ramen and the super-private dining concept that caters to single diners. Restaurants feature multi-lingual ticket vending machines to make ordering easy.
Yoshinoya is one of Tokyo’s most well-known fast-food chains. They are a gyudon (beef bowl) restaurant that opened their first shop over 100 years ago, in 1899. Today, you will find them almost anywhere, especially around train stations, recognizable by their bright orange signage. Yoshinoya’s biggest fans are salarymen in a hurry to get back to work after a quick lunch or those looking for a late-night meal.
MOS Burger is a popular burger chain with multiple overseas locations as well. While it is a fast-food joint, the food is good quality, which is one of the reasons why this place has been so successful. Their specialty is transforming an American favorite, the hamburger, into something that appeals to the Japanese palate.
Coco Ichibanya is a popular curry chain. They serve inexpensive Japanese-style curry rice sets along with other local comfort foods such as omelette rice and tonkatsu (breaded and fried pork cutlet). They have locations all over Japan and have even opened up a few overseas.
Sukiya claims to be Japan’s leading gyudon (beef bowl) restaurant chain, with thousands of locations throughout the country. Compared to Yoshinoya, the menu is quite small, but they do come out with some unique combinations, such as their mustard leaf, cod caviar, and mayo gyudon.
Matsuya is yet another gyudon shop, gyudon being the quintessential “fast food” of Japan; however, at Matsuya, they prefer to call it gyumeshi (beef rice/meal). In addition to beef bowls (thinly sliced beef and onions simmered in seasoning tossed over rice), the restaurant also serves curry sets, Japanese-style breakfast, and other set meals.
Freshness Burger opened in 1992 as one of Tokyo’s newest fast-food chains. They try to set themselves apart from competing chains by making meals fresh when ordered and choosing organic ingredients when possible. Freshness Burger is the best fast-food choice for vegetarians in Tokyo since they do have a meatless option.
Check out Sushiro for super cheap but tasty kaitenzushi. Sushiro is a 100-yen per plate, conveyor belt sushi restaurant where diners can select plates off the conveyor or order their favorites via a touchscreen. You can’t get it to go, but even dining in, it’ll be one heck of a fast lunch.
Pepper Lunch is a unique take on a steak dinner. This restaurant allows the meat, veggies and other odds and ends to cook on a hot plate in front of the customer according to their own preference, no chef required. Pepper Lunch’s main meals are the grilled steak, steak rice, and Hamburg steak.