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Jun 21, 2011 12:05 AM

Aquavit Swedish restaurant

I am going to Aquavit in Gaienmae for dinner in a few days' time. Has anyone been? If so, what did you think of the quality of the food? The reviews I have seen so far are pretty positive and the food sounds quite interesting - does that sound right?

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  1. I went a number of years ago. I haven't been to the NY location but I enjoyed our dinner (although I don't remember details.) I do remember that the service was very good (attentive.)

    1. I've loved it every time I've been, although I haven't had dinner there in awhile. I was there for drinks just a few weeks ago though.

      One tip - if you're game to try flavored aquavits (which I recommend), get the three-aquavit tasting set - it's a much better deal than ordering individually.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Robb S

        I find it hilarious that a restaurant named Aquavit is marketed as a Swedish restaurant. Aquavit is Norwegian. It has nothing to do with Sweden. From their menu I can also see that they serve lobster, gravlax and salmon. If you get any of these ingredients in a dish in a restaurant in Sweden, the ingredients would originate from Norway.

        They do have some Swedish items too like herring, smorgasbord and meatballs but this restaurant does not serve authentic Swedish cuisine.

        1. re: Roysen

          >I find it hilarious that a restaurant named Aquavit is marketed as a Swedish restaurant. Aquavit is Norwegian. It has nothing to do with Sweden.

          I can assure you that aquavit has plenty to do with Sweden. As does Aquavit (the restaurant).

          1. re: Robb S

            Akevit (which is the original name) is produced in Sweden too, but those are copies of the Norwegian Akevit.

            This would be similar to calling a restaurant Cognac and specializing in Italian food arguing that brandy is made in Italy too.

            However I have no idea about the quality of the food at this restaurant. It could be outstanding. I am just being a bit sarcastic about the name.

      2. The original comment has been removed
          1. re: gkanai

            Very useful, thanks. It explains the concept of the restaurant a bit - i.e., it is intended to be an international restaurant with a Scandinavian flavour, not specifically Swedish; hence, I guess, the Norwegian element someone mentioned in this thread.

              1. re: Asomaniac

                I'd say that the Tokyo Aquavit is more Swedish in concept than that description of the main dining room of New York Aquavit (more like the cafe section at Aquavit NY perhaps). It's modern Swedish/Scandinavian, so it has an international feel in the same way that modern British cuisine might have an international feel.

                There's no particular "Norwegian element" other than the fact that Sweden and Norway are next to each other and share some culinary traditions (including salmon and aquavit). The menu at Aquavit Tokyo is similar to what you might find at a modern Swedish restaurant in Stockholm or Gothenburg.

                Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

                1. re: Robb S

                  Sounds excellent! I am really very curious - the vast majority of restaurants I go to are Japanese, Italian or French, with the odd German, Spanish or an Asian country's restaurant thrown in, so it should be a nice change. Also a great departure drinks-wise from the usual sake, wine or beer I tend to have with dinner. I'll make it aquavit-heavy. Having looked at their drinks menu online, some of the cocktails also sound interesting and I rarely have cocktails.

                  To be honest, I would not be able to tell the difference between modern Swedish and Norwegian. I have been to both countries only once, on the same trip, many years ago when I was a student and had absolutely no money whatsoever. My culinary experience on that trip was limited to many cans of food we had brought with us, with the trip's highlight being a splashing out on a jar of pickled herring, which tasted amazing :-).

                  Also, of course, I have been to that little Swedish meat ball place in Roppongi that has changed location not long ago (I forget what it is called, something starting with "D" I think.)

                  1. re: Asomaniac

                    Ah yes Lilla Dalarna ... I used to work right across the street from their old location, so I ate there fairly often.

                    Re aquavit: it really goes better with some dishes (such as herring) than others, and it's nice with a beer chaser. I think some of the mains (e.g. venison) are probably more wine-compatible.

                    1. re: Robb S

                      In that case, I will have a potentially lethal combination of beer, aquavit and by-the-glass wines that evening..

                    2. re: Asomaniac

                      Traditionally Aquqvit is a drink used in Norway during Chrismtas dinner with pork ribs where the fat of the ribs are not cut away. Instead the skin and fat are cut in squares into a chess-board like pattern. Then the ribs are cooked with the fat side down in water for about an hour before the ribs are turned and grilled. The skin and fat pop up like popcorn and becomes nice and crunchy. This is obviously very fat and unhealthy food so the Aquavit with its special digestive qualities are a very nice drink which also complements and brings forward the flavour of the pork in a nice way. If they have this at the restaurant you should try it. Its really good, but very far away from the zen like healthy food of Japan. This way of preparing the pork makes a bit older pigs taste quiet similar to the Spanish suckling pig. In Scandinavia it is banned to slaughter the pigs at suckling age.

                      1. re: Roysen

                        That Norwegian Christmas dinner sounds AMAZING! I was born in Prague, one of the pork capitals of Europe, so anything involving expert treatment of hog - the more fat, the better - is right up my alley. With the acquavit to cut through the fat, it sounds like an amazing culinary experience.

                        Robb, anyone... do you know if there is any restaurant in Tokyo that does homecooked Norwegian?? Long shot, but this being Tokyo, there may be some hope to find a place like that.

                          1. re: gkanai

                            Dalarna is a Swedish restaurant. The other one I don't know.

                            1. re: gkanai

                              They're both Swedish. Allt Gott in Kichijoji is actually pretty good - even my Swedish friends approve. They do a nice reindeer steak in a dark-cherry sauce.

                            2. re: Asomaniac

                              I read an article in a Norwegian newspaper once about a restaurant in Tokyo serving "Juleribbe" (Christmas ribs) but it didn't say what restaurant.

                                1. re: Asomaniac

                                  Even in Norway must restaurants don't manage to prepare this dish properly. They don't have the time to mange to get the skin/fat crispy. So be aware. It should have the consistancy like the snack bacon crisp. I don't know if you are familiar with that.

                                  It should look like this:


                              1. re: Asomaniac

                                No, sorry, I've never heard of anything Norwegian in Tokyo, just Finnish, Danish and Swedish....