Tokyo dinner and lunch before I leave...
I am in Tokyo now, bound for Kyoto tomorrow. My question is for when I return to Tokyo, though. I will be back on Tuesday afternoon and I am leaving Japan Wednesday evening. I will be by myself so I will have a chance to be a foodie without having to convince other non-foodies to trek somewhere with me for the food :)
I would love to eat at one of the Michelin restaurants. At the moment, I am thinking of going to Joel Robuchon's La Table for either lunch or dinner on Tuesday - most likely lunch. From what I gather, there are multiple locations? Does it matter which one I go to? And do I need to make a reservation for lunch? (If it's not too late...) I guess I should say that the reason that I am thinking La Table is because it seems like it has a fairly reasonably priced lunch. I would ideally like to keep the total under or around 5k yen.
Then my next question is where should I go for my other two meals? I am staying at the Metropolitan Marunouchi right at Tokyo station. I took a look at Bento.com (wonderful site!) and have some ideas but I would love to get some input from all of the experts.
Thank you so much in advance!
I am getting the impression that curry is pretty popular? Is this correct? If so, is there anywhere that you would all suggest for some good curry?
I've also heard of a noodle place where you sit by yourself in a small little "booth" and get served your noodles from behind a sort of wall. I forget the name... does anyone know what I'm talking about? Is it worth going?
And finally, I think I am going to pass on La Table - from a little more research it looks like it might not be worth it. So, for my dinner I am looking for something a bit more special, perhaps with some nice/interesting decor, with a price range of 3k to 6k... Any suggestions?
Oh and I want to go to Fuku but it looks like that's only open for dinner. Is there anywhere else I can get good yakitori for lunch?
Thanks again for all of your help!
At the Club of Famous Curry Diners in Yurakucho (underneath the Marui in front of Yurakucho station) you can try curries from five famous shops at one time (Y2500). It's an interesting introduction to the genre. I'd also highly recommend Bondy (two branches in Jimbocho, one in Mita) for excellent "European-style" curry. (http://www.bento.com/rev/curry.html and scroll down.)
I've discovered that yakitori places are usually much better in the evening. If they do lunch at all, it's usually some donburi set rather than the full yakitori experience.
The noodle place you're referring to sounds like Ichiran. It's a ramen chain. There are various branches around Tokyo. The closest ones to Marunouchi would be either in Ueno or Suidobashi. The two places Exilekiss recommended are both more highly regarded.
For curry, check out- http://www.chowhound.com/topics/265209 .
Most yakitori places, especially good ones, don't do lunch. It's a drinking food.
Tokyo's really just too vast to mention one particular restaurant as "shouldn't miss". But if I were recommending a particular genre, it would be "seafood izakaya" or "seafood small dish restaurant." Besides being focused on seasonal, fresh food, the offer the ability to eat several small dishes and sit at a counter, which makes them perfect for solo dining. They usually have a good atmosphere as well.
Shimo-Kitazawa, is a buzzing student neighborhood not far from Shinjuku and Shibuya, which we've covered lately on the board. There's a fun, lively seafood restaurant there called "Uoshin" (http://www.uoshins.com/shimokitazawa_top.htm) which is very well known for fresh, inexpensive seafood. There is also a branch in Nogizaka/Roppongi area, a little more toward the Marunouchi side of town. Back to Shimokitazawa- a fairly large izakaya called "Shirube". (http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a056509/) has a kitchen that is a sunken island, with a counter almost all the way around it. They staff is college-aged and really nice and the food is great....In Shibuya, "Kaikaya" gets a lot of mentions on CH as a good place and it seems to be popular with foreigners. From Bento.com, I recommend the "Regional Japanese" page which lists many good specialty places.
Ramen is great, but you finish eating in about 10 minutes. So if you're looking to milk out the experience, you should probably only consider it for lunch. Tonkatsu is another good lunch option. Or you might want to track down one of the better Youshoku restaurants. When I'm goofing around by myself, I often like to take my time working my way through a depachika and just nosh on things I pick up there along the way.
To help narrow down the choices I would ask a few questions:
1. Are you looking for the "other two meals" to be Michelin-starred restaurants as well?
Or if not, then what criteria? Just good food, or a nice setting, etc.?
2. Is there a specific cuisine you want to try for these meals? Italian, French, Kaiseki, Sushi, Tempura, Ramen, etc.
3. What types of cuisine have you already tried while there and don't want to repeat?
Thank you for your response. Here are some answers to your questions:
1. I am just looking for the other two meals to be something that probably shouldn't be missed. They don't have to Michelin starred as well - in fact I probably wouldn't be able to afford it!
2. I guess the criteria are a little of both, good food and good setting. And somewhere that I shouldn't miss.
3. I've already had Tempura (delicious), a "beef stew" with noodles, rice, and potatoes, too, and some sort of ginger pork with rice. They have all been delicious. As a note, I unfortunately am not a huge fan of sushi (I wish I was!)
Not to be missed?
I know I recommend this a lot, but I absolutely love Fuku in Yoyogi-uehara. It's a rather upscale yakitori place, and you can sit at the bar alone and watch the master work his magic.
It's well reviewed on Bento, check it out. Even though you don't like sushi, I highly recommend the tori-wasa, sashimi style raw chicken!
Edited: I was about to recommend shabu shabu, but i'd feel weird eating that alone. Have you had good ramen yet?
Ah, hm, I'd recommend you trying some nice Ramen - real Ramen - before you leave Japan. :) Here's a link for all the places I tried during my Japan Trip, including a link to the Ramen-ya's I tried. Menya Kissou was wonderful as was Rokurinsha.