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Oct 1, 2010 10:53 AM

Help another returnee with good Tokyo eating!

I bit the bullet and purchased my ticket to Japan--will be attending a wedding in Kobe, but am arriving in and departing from Tokyo. I changed my original dates to avoid spending Monday in Tokyo (when most restaurants seem to be closed), and will be in Tokyo Thursday evening till Sunday evening. Then I will return early Sunday morning and depart Sunday afternoon. I am on a much more limited budget this time around, I'm trying not to spend more than Y2000/meal, but am willing to make a couple of exceptions (right now one of those exceptions will probably be Ristorante Aso). I'm looking for a mix of Japanese and well-done Italian or French. I am on a tighter budget, though, so I don't know how easy it will be to find well-done Italian or French for dinner at Y2000 or Y3000. . .

Here's my tentative plan:

Thursday evening: I don't want to make definite plans since my flight arrives around 17:30, and I don't know when I'll get into town. Any suggestions for the Shinjuku area? I'm not really sure what I want. . . something Japanese, but not ramen. Maybe Tsunahachi for tempura? Or is there good donburi in the area?

Friday morning--Finally going to Tsukiji, and eating at Ooedo for kaisendon. I prefer Kaisendon to sushi, so I think it's the better choice for me. And then maybe I'll have a little room leftover for the chashu plate at that other place in Tsukiji (can't remember the name). That's actually more up my alley.

Friday Lunch--Menya Kissou? Or is there anyplace near Jiyu Gakuen (in Ikebukuro) that might be worth a visit? I'll probably be visiting Jiyu Gakuen on this day, and then heading to Aigre Douce for treats! :-)

Friday dinner--torn between Fuku and Bird Land. Do either accept parties of 1? And I'm guessing Fuku is probably cheaper than Bird Land? Or are they about the same price point?


Saturday morning--pastries and macaron from Isetan!

Saturday lunch--Butagumi

Saturday dinner--Baggio or Savoy for neapolitan-style pizza


Sunday morning--pastries and macaron from Isetan again!

Sunday lunch--Ristorante Aso. I'm debating between RA and L'Osier, but I know L'Osier closes on Sundays, so I'd have to shift things around if I do L'Osier. I think RA accepts parties of 1, though, and I can make reservations my e-mail, so it'll be easier to get in there.

Sunday dinner--???? Any suggestions?

Upon my return:

Sunday morning--pastries and macaron from Isetan! I am nothing if not predicable.

Sunday lunch-- Any suggestions? Maybe a place that does moderately priced unagi?

I will definitely be visiting Viron for kouign aman. And my usual sweets shops for cookies, financier, etc. Suggestions for outstanding basic karinto (standard types--regular, kokuto, or peanut, but not those new fangled types that they sell at Tokyo Station) would be appreciated.

Feel free to make other suggestions as you see fit!

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  1. Tonkatsu, tempura, yakitori, chashu, ramen, pastries, and pizza. Wow. You've certainly carved out a dynamic feed plan.

    Suggest seasonal seafood and vegetables, winter hot pot or other winter standards, small plates restaurants, and/or regional specialties. Basically real Japanese food that you can't get overseas.

    Obana in Minami Senju is supposed to be one of the best unagi shops. I think it's the oldest in the city. Anyway, most consider unagi mid to late summer eating.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Silverjay

      Small plates (izakaya?) and nabe-type restaurants are great, too, but I'll be solo most of the time in Tokyo, and those types of restaurants don't usually give solo-diners the best experience. I'll be in Kansai for 6 full days, so I'm saving those types of restaurants for then.

      I'm also currently living in a city that doesn't really do any Japanese food well. Well, there are a couple of acceptable places, but they don't match the quality of what you can get in Japan for any of the foods I mentioned--not even the Western foods like pastries. It's tough living in the Canadian prairies!

      I forgot about the unagi-summer relationship. I do remember there's a particular day in July or August that you're supposed to eat unagi (the hottest day of the year). Unagi is one of the foods I miss most, though! The only unagi here is the ready-packaged unagi kabayaki that has been frozen for who knows how long!

      Do you have any reasonably-priced suggestions for restaurants (that accept solo diners) that do seasonal seafood and vegetables? I'm always willing to adjust my plans!

      With curiousgeo and E Eto providing the name of the chasiu place, I now realize if I want that chasiu plate, I'll have to go to Tsukiji on Saturday. Or go twice. What to do, what to do. . .

      1. re: prasantrin

        Tobu Sakana in Shimo-kitazawa is an excellent mid-range seafood restaurant--> . I've never been, but Nanakusa in the same neighborhood, is also supposed to be a good koryouri-ya with a focus on seasonal vegetables--> Shimo-kita is close to Shinjuku.

        In Shinjuku, there are some well-aclaimed places in Golden-Gai/ Kabukicho. Tokyo has got to be one of the best cities in the world for solo dining. Nearly every place has a counter. I suggest using Tabelog/AskU for part of your research since you can set parameters like cuisine, price range, location, number of diners, etc. There is even a counter dining option.

        1. re: Silverjay

          Those look great, and are definitely do-able from Shinjuku! Nanakusa is open on Sundays, too, so maybe that could be my dinner Sunday night before I leave for Kansai.

          I've always been a little wary of Kabukicho, but I may as well give it a try! I can just wander around my first night and see what strikes my fancy. I wonder if I can get yakiniku for one. . . There are a lot of Korean places in Kabukicho, aren't there?

          1. re: prasantrin

            I would research Kabukicho/Golden Gai on Tabelog to get a target destination in mind. There's A LOT of places there of every ilk and those websites can give an idea of which are better in quality. Chinese and Wafu-chuka seem to be prevelant in Kabukicho proper, but the Golden Gai area has many interesting looking Japanese koryouri-ya. The areas closer to the shiyakusho and Isetan are less sketchy. Shinjuku 3-chome also has some good restaurants. As a fallback, all the buildings on Yasukuni dori each have a ridiculous amount of standard cheap izakaya.

            The Shin-Okubo neighborhood, which is kind of walkable from Kabukicho, is known for Korean food- including street stalls.

            1. re: Silverjay

              Thanks again. I found a yakitori place in Shinjuku 3-chome that looks OK. Still browsing. There are so many options, it's difficult to narrow things down! But I have plenty of time. It's a good thing, because my Japanese reading comprehension has declined somewhat!

    2. Chashu plate in Tsukiji? Was it Yachiyo?

      3 Replies
        1. re: E Eto

          Yep, Yachiyo only serves the chashu egg teishoku on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I went there for breakfast this morning and it wasn't available. Makes for a convenient excuse to return tomorrow... :)

          1. re: graceface

            Thanks for that important bit of information graceface. Good to know the chashu egg teishoku is not served everyday as that will save time on a visit. Have a great breakfast!

      1. Re Shinjuku: Try Katsukura on the 14th floor of the Takashimaya Department Store. I actually prefer this Kyoto-style tonkatsu here to the ones at Butagumi (though I did not try its famed Iberico pork tonkatsu). Also a few blocks away, Saiseisakaba is a tachinomiya (standing bar, that means you stand and eat, no chair is available) that specialize in grilled beef offals; I love the beef tongue, heart, stomach there.

        Re R.ASO or L'Oreal: between the two, I prefer Aso. If you want to try French on Sunday, I would recommend Edition Koji Shimomura; it is opened for lunch and dinner.

        3 Replies
        1. re: FourSeasons

          I love Katsukura, and I was planning on going, but to one of the ones in Kyoto. Katsukura is my go-to katsu place.

          I'll add Edition Koji Shimomura to my possibilities list. It was on my list last time, too, but I never made it there. Are reservations necessary? Their calendar shows they'll be closed on the 12th, but open on the 19th, so I may make it my final meal in Japan.

          1. re: prasantrin

            Re Edition: reservation is needed; it was full the evening I was there. The dinner was marvelous.

            1. re: FourSeasons

              It's sounding better all the time! I think I'll replace Ristorante Aso with Edition KS. It'll be a nice way to end the trip! I just have to make sure I save up enough money to afford the lunch. . . (the cheapest lunch is only available weekdays, I think, but the weekend cheapest lunch is still do-able if I don't over-do it elsewhere!)

        2. On Fuku v Birdland: Fuku is much, much cheaper than Birdland. Very different experience though. Fuku is more of an informal neighbourhood yakitori place with great chicken and a cosy atmosphere. Birdland is much more posh, has fixed sittings and not my cup of tea. Good quality though, obviously.

          1. Fuku has bar sitting for a single diner so you should be ok, I'm not sure about Birdland. Sitting at the bar means you get to watch the master at work.

            If you like Nepalese, there is a great place in Shinjuku 3-chome called Sansar that I really love. The momo are phenomenal.

            1 Reply
            1. re: lost squirrel

              @Asomaniac and lost squirrel--thanks for the info on Fuku. I like posh, but since I'm on a budget, I think Fuku will be my choice this time.

              I'll put Sansar on my list. The hotel I'm staying it is closer to Shinjuku 3-chome, so if I'm too tired to walk over to Kabukicho, I may just go to Sansar.