Tokyo and Kyoto Restaurant REVIEWS Summary: My Spring Japan Trip
Having recently returned from my first vacation to Japan, I wanted to document all the culinary experiences I encountered. This is because this Japan Trip has been the greatest vacation in my life, both from a relaxation and cultural appreciation point-of-view, but also from a culinary point-of-view.
It's because of Chowhound and all the great contributors on the Japan board that I was able to discover some of THE best restaurants I've ever encountered for various types of food. As a side note, I feel I'm a pretty discerning lover of food (^_~), and while Japanese cuisine is one of my Top 3 favorite cuisines in the world, it wasn't until this trip to Tokyo and Kyoto that I had discovered just how great the difference in quality is from all my favorite Japanese eateries in Southern California (USA) have been compared to what I experienced in Japan. I suppose it's not surprising, but at the same time it was mind-blowing and amazing!
During this Japan Trip, I've eaten The Best Takoyaki I've ever had in my life; The Best Sushi I've ever had; The Best Modern Kaiseki-style meal ever; The Best Traditional Kaiseki meal (although it was my first time (^_~)); The Best Ramen I've ever had (multiple times over (one ramen restaurant exceeding the next), and ALL of them blowing away the pitiful stuff we have in So Cal); The Best Soba I've ever had; The Best Sakura Mochi; The Best Tonkatsu ever (yum!); The Best Yuba; The Best Tsukune Kushiyaki (mouth-watering ridiculousness from a Tsukune specialist in the back streets of Kyoto); The Best Green Tea I've ever had; The Best Izakaya I've ever been to; and much, much more.
It may sound like hyperbole, but it's true. I brought a fellow Chowhounder with me (who's even more picky and discerning) and S was completely blown away as well. I'm so grateful to all the Chowhounders who helped me out and I wanted to give back, so I've been writing Reviews of all the places I've visited. My sincerest "THANK YOU!" to:
Silverjay, skylineR33, FourSeasons, Charles Yu, Asomaniac, kamiosaki, snaporaz, E Eto, I heart ramen, lost squirrel, Oonth, and so many others (if I've forgotten to list you, forgive me!). _(._.)_
Here's a summary of all the Reviews to all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) Restaurants I've experienced in Tokyo and Kyoto. Enjoy - (^_^)/
*** RAMEN ***
#1 - Menya Kissou (Koto-ku, Tokyo, Japan)
* Rokurinsha (Osaki, Tokyo, Japan)
* Ajisen (Kumamoto Ramen) (Kabuki-cho, Tokyo, Japan)
* Kyushuu Jangara Ramen (Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan)
*** SUSHI ***
#1 - Sushi Mizutani (Ginza, Tokyo, Japan)
*** KAISEKI (Modern / Traditional) ***
#1 (Tie) - Ryugin (Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan)
#1 (Tie) - Hyotei (Kyoto, Japan)
*** IZAKAYA ***
* Toki no Ma (Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan)
* inton (Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan)
*** YUBA ***
* Komameya (Kyoto, Japan)
All the above Reviews Formatted with All Pictures found here:
I'd like to thank you for your reviews. I'm in Tokyo now and went to a few of these places at your recommendation. I definitely didn't regret it. I went to Rygin,Toki no Ma, and Rokurinsha. I spent last night hopping cocktail bars in Ginza, it was sublime, best poured cocktails I've had just about anywhere (including London, NY, and San Fran).
exilekiss, I hope you had takoyaki in Osaka, not in Tokyo! (If not, you haven't had the best takoyaki just yet ;-)
I took my partner, who had never been to Asia, to Japan with me earlier this month and he too was blown away by the food--even by the food from a grocery store. (He also says the steak he had in Osaka was the best in his life). Now he knows what real Japanese food tastes like ;-) (He says the Japanese food here is a joke.) He wants to go back there next year.
You can probably understand now why I hardly went to Japanese restaurants in SoCal while I lived there for 15 yrs :-) Locals often asked me which was my favorite Japanese
restaurant (since I'm a Japan native), but I never had one. The quality of Japanese food in SoCal deteriorated, esp. the last 10 yrs because more authentic restaurants closed after Japanese corporate expats returned to Japan in droves.
I live in Dallas now and it's pretty sad what people think is Japanese food here :'-(
Thanks for your insight. Yah, I wasn't able to visit Osaka on this trip :(, but trust me, I've heard it from various friends in Japan and now you, that Osaka has the best Takoyaki. (^_~)
What's sad is that even a simple Takoyaki vendor on the street in Tokyo *blew away* all the Takoyaki I've had in the U.S. It's not even close. (O_o) I can't wait to go back to Japan, soon I hope!
According to my American companion who made that statement, "taste and texture. it didn't melt in your mouth, but close, and it just had a really nice taste." He was also having very nice wine with it :-)
I confirmed Ishizawa serves Miyazaki beef, not Kobe beef (there's a debate in Japan whether Miyazaki beef is better than Kobe and Matsuzaka beef.). And Ishizawa serves a special cut by the butt no one else serves.
Personally, I liked the cheap lunch version, which melt in my mouth, but I'm not really a steak person.
Here's one final review missing from my list above. (I had given up on writing the review because I never got their business card, and didn't remember the name of the restaurant (^_^; aaahhh...) But then looking at the pictures I took, I found the name, and finally found the details. :)
*** More RAMEN ***
* Chuka Soba no Ten Chiifu (Kyoto, Japan)