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Tempura restaurants in Tokyo

Hey guys,

I was wondering if anyone here has been to and can comment on their experiences at some of the tempura restaurants in Tokyo. I know there are three 2-star tempura restaurants in the Michelin guide, but the one I was most interested in, Raku-tei, will be closed during my visit.

Would it be worth trying the other starred tempura restaurants or are some of the other ones (I recall a chain in Roppongi HIlls) almost as good?

Thanks!

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  1. Kondo is excellent, especially for his vegetables. Really outstanding tempura. I think the chain you're referring to in Roppongi Hills is actually a branch of Mikawa. I haven't been to that one, but the honten was pretty damn good as well. I'd say Mikawa's seafood was probably about the same level as Kondo (more variety than Kondo iirc), but Kondo-san's vegetable tempuras set him apart.

    1. There's another discussion about tempura here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509094 . Most of the more well-known shops are discussed, so you may find the information you're looking for.

      2 Replies
      1. re: prasantrin

        Thanks Prasantin.
        To add : after have tried Yotaro and Mikawa in Monzen Nakacho, my inclination is for Mikawa for his ebi(shrimp) tempura grilled on the outside and just perfect medium rare on the inside. The master Saotome use the content of water of each one, calculates and gives a perfect moisture to tempura...

        1. re: Ninisix

          We went to Kondo last year and it was almost a life-changing experience (in my tempura world).

          It was truly wonderful and memorable.

      2. I would put Kondo at the top of your list, but it is expensive.

        For an affordable lunch, Tenmatsu, with branches at Nihonbashi and Shibuya, does a great set lunch. Diners sit at the counter and the tempura is brought to you piece by piece. One of the best tempura bargains in the city.

        For really cheap, but passable tempura, Tenya, with branches throughout the city, is a bargain. The basic tendon bowl goes for 600 JPY with shrimp and vegetables.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Yukari

          has anyone here been to both yokota and kondo? Yokota is the best I have been too, but maybe next time i'm in tokyo I will try kondo

        2. I haven't been to any, but I'm hoping someone here can give me some info on Rakutei. I live about a 1min walk away and I've never tried it.
          I can tell you, however, that it always smells amazing.
          I walk home at night and suck down huge whiffs of tempura-tinged air and smile. It always makes me hungry!

          3 Replies
          1. re: lost squirrel

            The food was good at Rakutei, but the atmosphere was rather funereal. I prefer to enjoy myself when I eat out. Also, the grim, unsmiling chef and his unhappy-looking assistant rather noisily washed up the grill and pans while we were finishing our meal.

            Maybe it's just me, but I think when we've just paid $600 for dinner you can wait until we leave before you start scrubbing your kitchen.

            1. re: Robb S

              Funereal is a good word to describe Rakutei. The master is there to dole out the goodies, and you are there to itadakemasu the goodies. No other relationship allowed between the High Priest and the humble eaters. But it is good. Very good.

              1. re: Uncle Yabai

                Excellent word choice Yabai-san, maybe I'll content myself with just sniffing around the backdoor from now on.

          2. There's also Tsunahachi chains around which, while not Kondo, are a passable, cheaper alternative.

            I had a great palate cleanser the last time I was there. A thin slice of cherry tomato in orange juice/sparkling grape juice. It was actually one of the things I most remember about Tsunahachi Rin. (not to take away from the tempura)