good eats in Shinjuku?
You might try this little bar that has cheap drinks and good food, if you can find it.
Beers only Y450 and cocktails Y600. Very good tonkatsu and chicken yakitori. The girls I met there had also ordered what they described as "fresh ham" that they liked a lot.
Only problem being the guy who owns the place doesn't seem to speak much English.
A good tempura spot is http://www.tsunahachi.com/, they have lots of locations throughout Tokyo, no English menu, but you can go on to bento.com and print out the English/Japanese tempura menu which could help you order there.
We just came back from Japan and while stumbling around Shinjuku, exhausted and hungry, we found Mihachi Primo. I'm going to post a similar review of this place and others in post shortly, but responding to your request directlly.
It's a sort of upscale izakaya with an English language menu. My expectations were low (again, we were hungry and tired), but were more than exceeded. Seemed to be a popular place for 20-30 something Tokyo-ites. Nice atmosphere. Good food - lots of small plates from the safe to the more adventurous (think horse sashimi among other things). I loved the shrimp tempura ceasar salad and the fried banana with adzuki beans and ice cream.
8000 yen for 10 small plates, a small bottle of sake, and two table charges (525 yen per person)
Located near the JR shinjuku entrace near Kabuki-cho. Street address is 3-27-1. I can't read all the kanji on the business card so I can't give you the name of the building it's in. It's in the basement of the building. We found it because there was a hostess standing on the street with a menu and the sign behind her said " English menu" Tel. number is 03-3354-0777
Takajin, for how many people does that ¥8,000 apply? 2? If so, thats not bad and I might have to check this place out. I'm in the same boat pretty much as the original poster, I'm headed over on Oct 19 and will be staying at the Keio Plaza. I've been trying to read up on the suggestions and stuff but there are so many different places listed on bento.com and here that I really have no idea how to choose where to go...
Two of us. We didn't drink alot though. One small (but delicious) bottle of sake between. I looked at my receipt again yesterday when posting and all the dishes (small plates) were between 500-800 yen. Most between 500 - 600 yen. We got a really nice variety of items. All were good; nice presenation, etc.
Also, I've stayed at the Keio plaza a few times and there's a soba/tempura place (if I remember the menu correctly) just "under" the building, but accessed from outside and around the corner. A small place, but reasonably priced if I remember correctly and ok. This was 3 years ago, so caveat emptor.
As far as ramen goes, the pickings are a bit better on the east side of the station (you're on the west side IIRC), but if you are game, here's a listing of places that are good:
From this list my personal recommendations would be Hirugao, Kohmen and Ramen Jiro. Hirugao and Ramen Jiro will definitely have lines in front around lunch time.
Check out Nabbie & Kamado, an Okinawan restaurant on the 7th Floor of the Lumine Est shopping centre. At lunchtime, try the umi budo don which is sea grapes (a type of regional Okinawan seaweed) and raw fish (seasonal) on a bed of rice. Delicious, different and good value.
Huge selection of awamori as well if that's your thing.
I'm told that the sushi ya next door is also worth eating at.
You might want to ride north 2 stops (about 3 minutes) on the JR Yamanote line and go to Shin Okubo where there is lots of great Korean food. That would be my first choice at that price range.
As for Ramen, there are two places in Takadanobaba (about 5 minutes or 4 stops north) the main one is Ganko Ramen. Exit at the Big Box go right past the plaza. Its about 4 minutes walk on the left hand side. (If all else fails, the police box at Takadanobaba station will be able to direct you there)
There is a Kyushu Ramen place across the street that is also great. You will know it by the two giant demons painted on the door outside.
Also a good bar in Takadanobaba is the Fiddler-a british pub. You can get all manners of beer there. Kirin Heartland is a decent local beer. But you cant go wrong with any of the brit stuff. Thats in Takadanobaba, same general direction. Not quite Shinjuku, but its about a $10 cab ride to your hotel if your out too late.
I didn't do much eating in Shinjuku when I was there, even when I lived in close by. I generally prefer. North (Shin Okubo) or South (Ebisu, Meguro) nearby there.
There are at least 10 or 15 good and reasonably priced places in Ebisu alone.