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Aronia vs. Ryugin

Hello!

I am going to Tokyo in mid-October for about a week. Ive done quite a lot of research on Chowhound and other sites so I can maximize my time there in regards to the amazing food that is available in Japan. For me, research only brings on more questions... I wanted to try Aronia and Ryugin, but I cannot decide which one. I want to eat at both, but my budget is a little tight and I've decided that it is better for me if I only dine at one. So, I won't ask which is better.. but, I will ask which is more memorable dinner experience and if you had to pick ONE of the two, which one would you dine at and why?

Does anyone know if Ryugin is open during lunch and if their prices are the same?

Any info and advice would be greatly appreciated!

Oh, the reservations would be for a party of two (I know Aronia only has 2 people).

Thanks!

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    1. At the end of February I dined at Ryugin, and at the end of March I dined at Aronia. Just thinking about food, I prefered Aronia as the dishes were more creative. My dining partner, however, prefered Ryugin. It was more traditional, and she felt it was more like eating "food" (she enjoyed Aronia, but thought it was like "playing").

      For atmosphere, I prefer Ryugin. Aronia is a smaller, more personal dining experience since there are only two tables, but I actually prefer Ryugin for service. Although the waitstaff at Ryugin deals with more tables, the staff is just as friendly and personable. I also like the style of the restaurant and I love the dishes, etc. Aronia also takes care with presentation, but I just prefer Ryugin's (it's just personal taste).

      If you're interested in seeing some differences between the two, the pictures from my Ryugin dinner start here http://www.flickr.com/photos/27022368... and Aronia picture start here http://www.flickr.com/photos/27022368... . The pictures will give you an idea of what to expect at each place, and which you might prefer.

      10 Replies
      1. re: prasantrin

        thank you so much! the pictures look wonderful! but, sadly, now i want to eat at BOTH!

        does ryugin serve lunch? and regarding price wise, are they about similar? I believe Ryugin has 3 different course options, but I do not know the details (how many courses for how much).

        Also, I know that for Aronia they take reservations up to 3 months ahead due to it's small space. What about Ryugin? How many weeks or months in advance do you recommend making a rsvp?

        THANK YOU AGAIN FOR YOUR HELP!!

        1. re: nelehelen

          Hopefully this post will hang around long enough for you to get the pertinent information:

          Aronia de Takazawa: 24 000 yen dinner

          Ruugin: 23 100 yen dinner

          1. re: BaronDestructo

            But Ryugin cost us 45000 each if memory serves, suspect alcohol and tea did that. Do remember a great sake tasting.

            1. re: BaronDestructo

              Though to be fair the 16,000 yen menu at Aronia is more than sufficient and the 20,000 yen menu is almost too much, no need to got for the full monty 11 course meal for 24,000. In contrast, Ryugin only offers one 23,100 yen menu.

              Ryugin always ends up costing around 50K each because of the (truly truly fantastic) sake (or the occasional bottle of wine). It's worth sparing no expense on the sake front though.

              1. re: Asomaniac

                I've asked this same question in another post to another reviewer, but I will ask you the same... Is the 11 course really THAT much food? My BF and I don't really eat a lot in one sitting. We are more snackers, eating 5 times throughout the day. Although I've done my share of tasting menus, raning from 5 - 16 courses, I don't want to be sooo uncomfortably full. I want to be full, but I want to be able to eat every last bite! Your thoughts?

                1. re: nelehelen

                  I am a very big eater, and while I can finish the elevent courses, I am really full at the end. I used to go for the 11 courses anyway to have the variety, but it was always too much.

                  I now usually go for the 7 courses, 9 at most. It starts off slowly (the first course 'ratatouille' is essentially a big bite-full of vegetables), but gradually gets bigger. You might end up with quite a bit of meat, and a fish dish with a full-bodied sauce (obviously I don't know what exactly they will be serving you, but that is something that often happens).

                  If you subscribe to the 'eat often but little' school of eating, 7 courses will be more than enough. They are not tiny tasting portions that will leave you hungry at the end of the evening.

                  1. re: nelehelen

                    I'm not a very big eater (I have IBS), and the 11-course meal was difficult for me (and we didn't even have any wine, just water). I think the 7-course meal would have been the perfect size. That being said, I'm glad I had the 11-course meal because we had a broader range of dishes, and could fully experience the chef's cooking-style. Since it was my first time dining at AdT, I really wanted to have that full experience. But now that I have, if I were to return, I'd probably get the 7-course meal. Still, no regrets on the 11-course.

                    If you do decide to stick with the 11-course meal, then just remember that you have your table for the night, so you can take as long as you need to eat each course.

              2. re: nelehelen

                Ryugin used to serve lunch, but I don't believe they do anymore. At least they didn't when I was there last February.

                Aronia doesn't take reservations that early anymore, or at least that's what they told me when I reserved. They do a lot of travelling and industry conferences, so it's difficult for them to schedule that far in advance. What you can do is e-mail them with when you want to dine, and they'll get back to you as to when they'll start taking reservations for that period. I was very fortunate in that I had tried to dine there so many times, they took pity on me and held a space for me as soon as they knew they would be open when I'd be in Tokyo. :-)

                For some reason, Ryugin's website isn't opening right now, but their homepage is http://nihonryori-ryugin.com/index_en... . You should be able to get all the information about opening times and reservations there. I think they take reservations 2 or 3 months in advance, but I'm not sure. You used to be able to make reservations online, too, but I think they discontinued that service.

                If you do reserve at Ryugin, make sure you go, or if you can't, then cancel within the allotted period. They will bill you if you don't show.

                1. re: nelehelen

                  Forgot to answer another question. . . I think Ryugin only has one course now. They used to have three, but I think they got rid of the two smaller courses. I may be wrong, but that's the impression I got.

                  They do have a la carte available but only later in the evening (after 9 or 9:30, I think), and it's same-day reservation for that.

                  Aronia has three courses according to their website. They're priced at 16000円 20000円 24000円. Their website is only in Japanese (Ryugin's has English and Japanese), but it's http://www.aroniadetakazawa.com/index... if you want to take a look. Great pictures..

                  1. re: prasantrin

                    wow.. thanks for ALL the info! I emailed Aronia and Akiko asked me to email her back staring early August. I'm still torn between Ryugin and Aronia, but I guess I'll have to try to squeeze in both!

                    Thank you everyone for your input!!!

              3. I give a slight edge to Ryugin. Both are closed for lunch.

                6 Replies
                1. re: FourSeasons

                  I didn't go for lunch, but I know they open at 11:30am as I had to go back and pick up something I left at the restaurant.

                  1. re: Peech

                    They are in the restaurant from 11:30am, but do not serve food or receive customers. Food is served from 6pm to 1am. No lunch.

                    1. re: Asomaniac

                      We are booked for Ryugin next week, initially for 6.30pm. Then they change it to 5.30pm.
                      Kinda early, but what the heck!

                      1. re: towkay

                        Let me know how your dinner goes! I ending up just getting reservations for Aronia and decided to skip Ryugin until my next visit.

                        1. re: nelehelen

                          You will like it ! If I have to choose between the two for one meal. I will go for Aronia. Both restaurants are amazing. Aronia wins me over with the innovative, hospitality and atmosphere factor. I think it is a more memorable dinner.

                          1. re: nelehelen

                            Had a great 'Autumn Menu' in Ryugin last night. 10 course incl. 2 x amazing dessert at Y23,100.
                            Total for two incl a bottle (180ml) of fantastic sake came to Y53,570.
                            2-3 dishes were regular relatively, the rest were excusite and Chef Yamamoto's Specialite (2) par excellence.
                            Presentation and service were part of a wonderful evening.
                            Reservation booking available through your hotel.

                            ps:love your site

                  2. Any thoughts also on a comparison between these two places and Quintessence? Same league?

                    I don't like corporate restaurants. What I am after are great tastes. Going in two weeks. To say that I'm experiencing excitement is an understatement.

                    1. Ryugin was fine but I wouldn't repeat. There were some beautiful touches but at that price I would go to a bunch of different places that left me with more to contemplate.

                      The crazy apple dessert, however, is something beyond beautiful.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: epop

                        I agree totally only because a) had to check Ryugin out with all the buzz about it and b) there are so many other great restaurants in Tokyo to check out.

                        1. re: towkay

                          Important (and well chosen) word, buzz.