Michelin starred Narisawa, serves up traditional Japanese dishes in a beautifully artistic style, innovating on traditional ingredients and techniques to present a thoroughly modern take on Japanese cuisine. Interiors are contemporary and cool, sleek black decor highlighted by white tables and a huge glass doors allowing views directly into the kitchen. Dishes may seem a little usual, the bread ferments at the table, but the helpful staff are always on hand to offer an explanation. Book way ahead, this spot is popular.
It’s a classic, but it still deserves a mention as one of the most iconic sushi spots in the city. After winning 3 stars from the Michelin Guide, Sukiyabashi Jiro has become one of the most famous sushi restaurants in the world. The chef and owner, Jiro Ono, has been celebrated in David Gelb’s 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and Obama stopped off here with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2014. The restaurant is tiny and you’ll have to reserve ahead, but it’s worth the effort for some of the freshest and finest sushi in Tokyo. Don’t expect a menu, diners are presented with individual sushi portions, one after the other, dependent on what the kitchen has been preparing.
Although ramen has become a staple for college students, Rokurinsha Tokyo has elevated the standard of this Japanese soup to an art. Customers wait around a half an hour for the homemade noodle and broths, with lines forming early and stretching out the door. Most clients rave about the tsukemen ramen, made with pork broth and the signature noodles. Popular with both locals and tourists alike, get there by 11 to queue for lunch.
Only serving 20 dinners per month, with two to six guests per sitting, Takazawa is an exclusive restaurant tucked behind an unmarked door in Minato. In a room with only three tables, chief Yoshiaki Takazawa creates dishes inspired by both French and Japanese techniques. He prepares the meals in a kitchen in the centre of the room, putting him just a few feet from curious diners. Takazawa’s wife acts as waitress, dishing out delectable and innovative treats such as deep friend mushroom cap with leafy greens and curry ice cream.
Kozue At Park Hyatt
Located on the 40th floor of Park Hyatt Tokyo building, Kozue at Park Hyatt is seeking to elevate Japanese traditional cuisine to new heights (literally) of quality. They have already achieved three Michelin stars for their contemporary take on kaiseki (Japanese haute cuisine). Waitresses in kimonos serve customers beautiful and well thought out dishes such as puffer fish, matsutake mushrooms or shabbu shabbu beef. Book a window seat to enjoy the beautiful view of Mount Fuki from the wall-length windows.
Kaiseiki is a traditional Japanese style of dining, in which a number of courses are served individually on a tray. Nihonryori Ryugin offers a kaiseiki menu made up of 12 courses, all crafted from seasonal ingredients, but served in a western style. With only 18 seats in the restaurant, it’s an intimate experience, and perfect for enjoying Chef Seiji Yamato’s signature dishes, including candied fruit frozen with liquid nitrogen and filled with hot fruit juice, or a course that centers around each part of the wild blowfish.