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Jan 28, 2009 10:56 PM

If not consider Michelin stars, where are your favorite restaurants?

If not consider Michelin Stars, where are your favorite restaurants?
Esp. for the following catagories :
- Franch
- Sushi
- Kaiseki
- Sweets

Also, in Tokyo do they held Wine Dinner a lot?
Usually in Hotels or which restaurants?

Thank you..

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  1. My non-Michelin favorites would be Nabura (a high end seafood izakaya place), followed by Ariona de Takazawa (French kaiseki), Seryna (shabu shabu), Jap Cho Ok (Korean), Toraji (yakiniku)......

    7 Replies
    1. re: FourSeasons

      Thank you, Four Seasons.
      You are a very nice person.

      And sorry that I made my Q. not very clear.
      If your favorite restaurants are a Michelin starred restaurant, please feel free to answer also.

      1. re: CPMK

        After going to Ryugin last night, I would have to say it ranks up there with some of the other "modern" global restaurant stars. The service is definitely the best I've ever had and almost all of the many courses was exquisite.

        I visited Toraji on this trip, I found it ok but I wouldn't rave about it. I found the heavy smoking in the restaurant (which I know is more socially acceptable in Japan) quite difficult to accept.

        1. re: shonky

          Hi shonky:

          I am a non-smoker too but did not feel the heavy smoking in Toraji like the way you did since the ventilation was quite ok. Which branch did you go? I only went to the one on the 4th or 5th floor at Roppongi Hill complex. I am a big fan of yakiniku (especially on charcoal); Toraji is certainly not a Michelin-style restaurant, service was just ok most likely by part-timers but I really like the premium set : beef and beef tongue at Toraji, and the kim chee soup and various small comfort dishes.

        2. re: CPMK

          Hi CPMK:

          Thank you for your complement. Sorry misunderstood your question but you probably noted I was not able to finish the sentence on my earlier reply since there are just too many favorites depending on the type of cuisine, whether Michelin or non-Michelin, in Tokyo, which happen to be my favorite culinary city as well.

          For Michelin on the specific category that you mentioned, again too many favorites on my list but these are just some of my new discoveries and comments:
          -French : Quintessence. Not classical French but with heavy influence of Japanese ingredients.
          -Sushi : many threads on sushi in CH. Sushi Mizutani seems to be the favorite here but I will just mention one hidden gem hardly mentioned here: Sawada at Ginza. The sashimi there is on its own class. Very expensive too. But you won't go wrong with Mizutani, Kanesaka, Saitou...
          -Kaiseki : too many favorites on my list here too. Favorite in CH seem to be Ryugin. I went there 1-2 years ago, very innovative/creative. My new discovery is Hirosaku in Shinbashi, served by very courteous elderly couple in a 2 storey house, the soba noodle with the light bonito booth was the best soba I ever had, and all the dishes are truly delicious too.

          1. re: FourSeasons

            Hi FourSeasons,

            Does Hirosaku make their own Soba, or do they have it brought in? Also, do you have an Address or URL for them? Thanks! :)

            1. re: exilekiss

              Hirosaku made their own soba. I read that it was made with a blend of buckwheat flour from Hokkaido and Nagano. But it is not just the soba itself, all the dishes were excellent. No English is spoken there though so beware of that. I don't think it has a website but you can get the general information and some available pictures on Tabelog:

      2. Momotarou for Sushi. Kozue and Ajisai for Kaiseki. For general value I would have to agree with FourSeasons on Seryna/Mon Cher Ton Ton.

        1. In Japan, I like to pick my restaurants using the "follow the oyaji" method: go to any JR station, wander around the warren of shops near the station, then eat at the most interesting looking place. My best find using this method was a place called Sa Sa No Han near Kitchijoji where they served whole grilled fish on tables made out of plastic milk crates and the locals drink sake long into the night.

          My cousin's best find is a little sushi bar near Nishi-Ogikubo called Nigi Nigi where they are so small that you have to stand up (or lean). On the other hand, the food is great and they stock esoteric stuff like Hokkaido uni and whale sashimi. Pics and review here

          10 Replies
            1. re: Uncle Yabai

              Hi Uncle Yabai:

              I know you are a gourmand, so I am curious to know about your favorite restaurants, beside Dai San Harumi, in Tokyo?

              1. re: FourSeasons

                Ooh that's a tough question. I have many favorite restaurants in Tokyo, the place is littered (is that the right word?) with them, can't swing a dead vulture without hitting one.

                I think the answer is "depends what we're talking about". For example, I just had lunch at the Yoshihashi sukiyaki, which is truly excellent, best sukiyaki ever. Cost for lunch is a very reasonable 2,100 yen for nice portions with a number of side dishes. Dinner is much more expensive, but that's the way it is. Now, I will also eat at the Yoshinoya, 400 yen gives you a pretty decent bowl of grub.

                If you ask me about french, my favorite is Benoit. And so on...

                1. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Thanks for sharing your favorites. Yoshihashi is now on my radar screen. The best sukiyaki I had was in Seryna, but its lunch price is twice as expensive as Yoshihashi. Time to try Y for a change.

                  1. re: Uncle Yabai

                    Hi Uncle Yabai:

                    I am taking a look at Yoshihashi sukiyaki. The budget for dinner (Yen 10-20k per person) is 4 times more expensive than the lunch (Yen 2-4k per person). Do you know what is the difference that account for such a big premium for dinner? Do they serve the premium beef for the lunch menu? I mean I know dinner is usually more expensive but it is usually just 2 times more with perhaps 2 extra courses. The gap here is big!!!

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      The beef is the same, but the dinner menus have many other dishes to go along with it, plus you get the "special" egg beating experience where the waitress will beat the egg white without touching the yolk. You also get more beef at dinner. But I don't think it is worth 4x as much, the lunch is quite plenty, and the quality is the same.

                      1. re: Uncle Yabai

                        Thanks for the info. I think I will settle for the lunch then when I have the opportunity.

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          Just found out Yoshihashi only accept reservation for Japanese speakers. (at least one on the party need to speak Japanese)

                          1. re: FourSeasons

                            Don't bother making reservations if you are going for lunch. If you make a reservation they'll stick you in one of their nice private rooms and require you buy one of the bigger set lunches. If you just show up, they will put you in their main dining room or the counter, which is quite fine. I doubt they would turn you away. If they do, you can really have a field day with the media!

                2. re: Uncle Yabai

                  Good point; that's my North America-centricity showing...
                  But it was good stuff anyway.

              2. >Also, in Tokyo do they held Wine Dinner a lot?

                There are quite a few wine dinners in February. Jeroboam is holding at least 4 next month. Information can be seen here:


                The Vine, a distributor of mainly Rhone wines, will have a tasting dinner at Legato in Shibuya on February 17. Here are some details:

                Date: 02/17 (Tuesday
                )Time: 19h30
                Place: Legato
                Address: 15Floor, E-Space Tower, 3-6 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
                Phone: 03 5784 2121

                Cost: 12,000 JPY (includes 4 course dinner)
                Number of persons: 12 only

                Coursodon, Murinais and Les Clos Perdus
                Please join us for a very special wine dinner attended by 3 highly acclaimed and talented winemakers:
                Jerome Coursodon of Domaine Coursodon in St Joseph
                Luc Tardy of Domaine du Murinais in Crozes-Hermitage
                Hugo Stewart of Les Clos Perdus in Corbieres
                Jerome, Luc and Hugo will be on hand to present and talk about their wines.
                These three Domaines represent some of the finest wines of their respective appellations. Domaine Coursodon is one of the oldest producers of St Joseph and under the management of young Jerome is producing stunning, hugely praised, reds from Syrah and whites from Marsanne. Murinais makes some of the juiciest and purest red and white Crozes-Hermitage also from Syrah and Marsanne and also much praised. Les Clos Perdus is a new star in the Languedoc with a very limited and terroir specific production of wines from low yielding, old vines of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan and Cinsault. See our website for further details of these great wines.

                12 Wines
                Les Clos Perdus Corbieres Cuvee 51 2007
                Les Clos Perdus Corbieres Prioundo 2006
                Les Clos Perdus Corbieres Mire la Mer 2006
                Les Clos Perdus Corbieres Extreme 2005
                Murinais Crozes-Hermitage Marine Blanc 2007
                Murinais Crozes-Hermitage Les Amandiers 2006
                Murinais Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes 2006
                Murinais Crozes-Hermitage Vieilles Vignes 2005
                Coursodon St Joseph Silice Rouge 2006
                Coursodon St Joseph Paradis St Pierre Rouge 2006
                Coursodon St Joseph Paradis St Pierre Blanc 2006
                Coursodon St Joseph l’Olivaie 2003

                Send an email to The Vine at to reserve a space.

                Also, there is a wine dinner at Salt in Marunouchi on February 16. Here are the details:

                <Shaw & Smith Wine Dinner>
                Sauvignon Blanc 2007
                Riesling 2007
                M3 Chardonnay 2007
                Pinot Noir 2005
                Shiraz 2006
                Shiraz 2005

                Time: Monday 16th February, 2009. Reception from 7:00 PM
                Dinner from 7:30PM
                Place Salt Tokyo, 6th Floor Shin-Marunouchi Building
                Marunouchi 1-5-1, Chiyoda Ku, Tokyo
                Price: \16,000 per person including Consumption Tax and Service Charge
                Seating: Maximum of 60 people
                Food and wine: 5 course dinner with wines matched to each course
                Bookings: Salt Tokyo ℡03-5288-7828  Email:

                5 Replies
                1. re: ruprecht25

                  Thank you all for your valuable answers..
                  I will only have 4 days on my own in Tokyo..
                  Still a challenge for me how can I fit all restaurants in. -_-'

                  ruprecht25, thank you so much for the Wine Dinner info. but too bad, from Feb 14-23 I'll be running around in Northern Honshu and Izu area..

                  1. re: CPMK

                    Please feel free to give more suggestion..
                    Love to have more challenge in my life.. eiei

                    1. re: CPMK

                      Where in northern Honshu will you be? I live in Iwate and have traveled around Akita a fair amount, if you're looking for recs in either of those places.

                      1. re: Xochitl10

                        I`ll go to Sendai and Yamagaya.
                        Looking for a place with nice Yonesawa Gyu.
                        But so far what I can found for a real nice Yonesawa Gyu is in Tokyo -_-..

                        1. re: CPMK

                          By coincidence, I went to a Yonezawa beef specialist called Yuboku on Friday for lunch, but it seemed good for dinner too. There are 5 or 6 branches in Tokyo, in the major centers (I went to the Shin Marunouchi Building one). It's yakiniku, not teppan. Of course if you want to eat Yonezawa beef IN Yonezawa...


                  2. Trying to avoid things that show up on most lists, I'd propose:
                    French: Merveille in Nihonbashi. I also love Viron in Marunouchi, but it's just a (very good) bistro, so you can get that in other places.
                    Kaiseki: Onodera in in Kagurazaka.
                    Sweets: Here's a good one - Giotto, in B1 of Mitsukoshi Ginza (near the station exit). Best department store cakes and sweets I've seen in Tokyo, and that's saying a lot!
                    Yakiniku: I think the Toraji in Roppongi Hillz closed last year in the refit, but there are other branches. My rec would be Matagi in Roppongi (3 mins from Hillz), where you can eat deer, boar, and bear in a cool, rustic environment.
                    Lots more at

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jem589

                      Dear all, thanks again.Very appreciated all of your valuable answers.

                      1. re: jem589

                        Hey jem,

                        do you have a link or directions for matagi?
                        i like the sound of eating all the different game meats.