5 days in Tokyo - first time to Japan
My wife and I are going to Tokyo for the first time April 8-14. We've spent a lot of time reading posts on chowhound and other sites, but frankly it's overwhelming! Everything from the neighborhoods to the styles of cuisine are new to us...So I thought I'd ask for your advice.
We're staying at the New Otani. We are adventurous eaters and appreciate good food and learning about culture through food. The food is definitely more important than flash. We plan on doing a lot of walking around and exploring, so some neighborhood lunch recommendations would be great. Also, we'd like to have one "special" meal (not going for the most expensive necessarily, but a great experience) while we're there. We have a tour set up at the Tsukiji Market one morning, but other than that we're wide open to any and all suggestions! Thank you!
The New Otani is in Akasaka, so you are near some great areas for food - here are some of my favorites (I currently live in Tokyo and am a food writer for the Weekender, as well as their food blogger):)
Ramen - Ippudo in Roppongi
Sushi - Sushi Dai, inside Tsukiji market (about a 2-3 hour wait) (http://epicurious-deb.blogspot.com/2010/03/sushi-dai-tsukiji-market.html
)Udon - Tsurutontan in Roppongi (http://epicurious-deb.blogspot.com/search/label/udon
If you want an amazing Japanese-influenced molecular gastronomy experience, dinner at Tapas Molecular Bar is highly recommended (http://weekenderjapan.com/?p=14568) - make sure to make reservations as soon as possible!
Hope you enjoy your visit to Tokyo!
I wouldn't recommend Tapas Molecular Bar as an "amazing" experience. It was fun, but I've had more fun at Ryugin and Aronia de Takazawa (which are also more amazingly expensive, as well).
If you can afford it, I'd go with either Ryugin or Aronia over TMG if you're more interested in food. Both are more influenced by Japanese cuisine, but both have really fun elements thrown in. TMG, I thought, was fun but I can't remember any dish that wowed me. The food wasn't spectacular; it was just the experience that was fun. But at Ryugin or Aronia, you'll get really good food AND some fun.
I respectfully stand by my enthusiastic support for Tapas Molecular Bar. I've also been to Ryugin and thought it was one of the most overpriced meals I'd ever had, and was slightly underwhelmed (I had high expectations of both Tapas and Ryugin to start with). Ryugin will set you back about 30,000 yen per person whereas Tapas will set you back only 16,000 - bang for buck, as well as overall experience, Tapas is my choice!