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'Jumbo' - Zagat's 2008 survey TOP TOKYO RESTAURANT - Anyone?! [Moved from Japan board]

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Jumbo, in Shinozakimachi, a Yakiniku restaurant was voted top Tokyo restaurant in the latest Zagat survey. Is the food really THAT good?! I also noticed Ryugin, our CH favourite was not even in the top 10!! Would be interesting to see the Tokyo Michelin guide next month and compare. The top 10 Zagat list is :
1. Jumbo
2. Restaurant Hiramatsu
3. Le Manoir d'Hastings
4. Fregoli
5. Araki
6. K. uK.
7. Shofuko-ro
8. La Bouef
9. La Tourelle
10. Casa Vinitalia

For my Tokyo trip early next year, any of the above I should try? Thx!!

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  1. Very odd ranking, I wouldn't expect Ryugin to be in the Zagat, as it is not well known. If you can read Japanese a more reliable book would be Tokyo ii mise, umai mise. 東京いい店、うまい店

    2 Replies
    1. re: steamer

      Good recommendation! I have the 03-04 version and use it pretty frequently. Am looking for the new version. Do you know where can one find it in Tokyo?

      1. re: HKTraveler

        Any large bookstore or from amazon.co.jp

    2. I find it odd too. There are so many good Japanese food, why would there be so many European restaurants on the survey? Who participate in the voting? Zagat is an American company so I would think the taste bud is biased towards western tasting.

      9 Replies
      1. re: FourSeasons

        Wherever I am whether it be US or anywhere for that matter, I take Zagat ratings with many grains of salt. It's ultra-conservative in that whatever scored high in the past gets votes, whatever is nominated gets votes. As a result, places that have long gone downhill are still ranked high, while newer places get ignored. In some cases the omissions are just shocking.
        I find I get much more reliable info for travel by using Chowhound or all the local food sites.

        1. re: FourSeasons

          From the Bloomberg.com article, it was said that the survey involved 1,243 eateries and feedback from 4,790 diners. A few years ago, I was asked to participate in the Toronto Zagat survey, so may be there were a few Chowhounds amongst the 4,790 Tokyo participants?!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            I may be wrong but I don't think the Tokyo Zagat has been published in English for a number of years, so I don't think it is slanted to Western tastes. Can't wait to see the Tokyo Michelin though, the foie gras is really going to hit the fan.

            1. re: steamer

              Good one steamer!! Only a real chowhound can think of a comment like that!! Being a Tokyo guide, may be one should add some Uni to the mix! Ha!

              1. re: steamer

                I just went to its website. It is completely in English. You just need to pay an annual subscription of US$24.95 to read the details in its rating.
                http://www.zagat.com/verticals/Vertic...

                1. re: FourSeasons

                  So no English Tokyo book, just a Japanese book and an English website. Wonder how many pony up 24.95 to find that the top restaurant in Tokyo is a chain yakiniku place?

                  1. re: steamer

                    No kidding!! Jumbo is a 'chain' restaurant?!!!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Quite frankly, for Japanese, Chinese or other Asian food, you can't rely on such an America-centric survey. There is an even bigger joke by the Euro-centric British magazine "Restaurant" that published "Top 100 restaurants in the world" and not even one restaurant from Japan is listed there. The only ones that are in the list is neo-Japan like Tetsuya's in Sydney and Nobu NY, both catered to western taste. Having tasted both myself, I can think of many many better restaurants in Tokyo alone.

                    2. re: steamer

                      Hi Steamer: there is Zagat Tokyo book in English. Will cost you US$12.95 if you are interested to buy one:
                      http://www.zagat.com/shop/product_det...

            2. I guess price is a big factor for any rankings. most restaurants in michelin are ridiculously expensive. But, if you look at www.bento.com or http://www.sunnypages.jp you can find other rankings for ordinary people.