favorite Asakusa restaurants
I'm going on my first trip to Tokyo at the end of this month. It's a solo trip, for pleasure, and I speak and read no Japanese.
I'll be staying at Sadachiyo ryokan in Asakusa. I've got a long list of must-trys narrowed down for once I'm settled, but wondered what everyone thought about that first, jet-lagged 24 hrs.
Assuming that once I finally find the ryokan I won't want to venture out too far my first night in Tokyo. Are there any restaurants in Asakusa that are favorites of fellow hounds? I jotted down Namiki Yabusoba, which appears to be in Asakusa somewhere...I'm open to anything (teppanyaki, yakitori, ramen, soba, etc) except for the insanely expensive. I'm sure I won't be feeling lucid enough to really appreciate a wildly expensive meal.
And then, the following morning...do you think that would be a good time to do sushi at the fish market? I mean, I assume I'll be up at 3 or 4AM anyway.
Many, many thanks...
While never having been myself, I watched an interesting feature on Sushi Isshin in Asakusa. It's definitely on my wish list of places to visit. Hashimoto San seems like an interesting, and very knowledgeable guy, the space looks great, and the sushi looks amazing but what intrigues me the most is his preparation of Tako. He wraps the best arm in special tea leaves, then tosses it in an aged marinade of Azuki Beans. I really need to try this.
If you, or anyone else on the board, end up going maybe you can weigh in?
4-11-3 Asakusa, Taito-Ku
re: Notorious P.I.G.
Try Miyako Zushi (about a block from Sensoji). Miyako san is a 3rd generation sushi chef. This is a small place, simply decorated but is one of the best anywhere.
There is also a good shabu shabu place in an arcade a few streets behind Sensoji but I forgot its name sorry.
For the markets, I think about 5.30 is ok but allow some time to find the place you are looking for. You will have to queue anyway, particularly if you are going to Daiwa. Remember there are other places than the ones that get all the fuss on Chow. Try a few if you have time.
re: Notorious P.I.G.
I went to Isshin after 2 friends mentioned it, and I'm pleased to save someone else the trouble of going. It was okay, but the price-value ratio is off the charts.
I DO think the neighborhood around there must have a lot of hidden treasures, but I bow to the wisdom of anyone who calls themself 'Edozanmai' - that looks like a good list.
For the fish market, I'd like to propose a revolutionary strategy that's worked well for some recent visitors: Get up and go there at a normal hour, like 7 or 8. Missing the auctions isn't the end of the world - the real fun for visitors is walking around, seeing what's for sale, watching guys carry fish in forklifts, carving tuna with bandsaws and swords, dodging turret trucks. The outer market is prefectly good too, with kitchen stores, knives, plenty of seafood-bowl shops, and other things that will seem amazing if you haven't been to many Asian markets (and they're open until 2 PM or so).
Asakusa is great for reasonably priced Edomae style Japanese food. Since you can't speak or read Japanese, I recommend checking out the Asakusa Umai-mono Kai's home page (http://www.asakusa-umai.ne.jp/) for some restaurants that most likely have English menus. Of those, a couple you might want to try are Daikokuya for Edomae style tempura, meaning cooked in sesame oil. For dojo try Komagata Dojo. It's an experience you won't find many other places in Tokyo. And if you want fugu, one of the better places that is not too expensive is Sankaku. The master is the top person for his stream of fugu and it is just around the corner from your ryokan. For soba I like Namiki Yabu as well as a couple of other places not too far away, Yabushige (no relation to Yabu stream), located just west of your inn (Nishi Asakusa 3-21-13), and a bit to the south, Terasawa Soba (Kotobuki 2-10 or 2-11). No English at these shops, but if you have an idea of what you want to eat you should do just fine. Asakusa doesn't really have many ramen places under that name, but there are a few Chuuka soba shops, that being what ramen used to be called. For yakitori, there is a street lined with small pubs and restaurants, most of which have English menus. It's fun on weekends when locals hang out to drink and wager on OTB horse racing. For good yakitori take the Asakusa line subway down to Ningyocho and see what you can find. For sushi agree with Miyako. It's one of the best. For inexpensive sushi I like Uogashi (魚がし寿司), a small shop located towards the river near Miyako. No English, but you can either point at fish in the case or ask for things you like. I usually stuff myself for about 2,500 yen, including a beer.
There is a cool, open-late place in Asakusa that does wine/yakitori/charcuterie -- it's a combo that works!...i can't remember the name, and a quick search didn't help...but it's findable...i'll search more for the name...a nice place to unwind and is open later than most Asakusa places, which tend to close early in my experience...
I always bring visitors to Imahan for shabu shabu or sukiyaki and Daikokuya for a different take on tempura. Both places are institutions.