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Jan 5, 2012 11:09 PM

Opinions on New Japanese fine-diners in Tokyo

Hi all,

Apologies in advance if this topic has been covered to death in other threads.

I'm off to Tokyo in a couple of months. For context, I go every year 1-2 times to eat but try to mix my meals between chi-chi and inexpensive places. One of my favourite meals of all time was at Ryugin 2 years ago. Really blew me away and, for me at least, much better than what I had at Les Creations de Narisawa.

On this next trip, I only want to book one ultra-chi-chi and expensive New Japanese meal. I'm trying to choose between Aronia de Takazawa, L'Effervescence, Editions Koji Shimura or Yamada Chikara. I'd love to know what you guys think of these restaurants and if asked to choose just one, which one would you pick to visit.

Many thanks,


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  1. I have eaten at all of them, most more than once. For my money, I would go with Yamada Chikara. YMMV, but I love the small and casual ambience, I think the balance between "traditional" setting and food and inventive preparation is well done, and I like the small tea ceremony that ends the meal. Of the 4, it is hard to go wrong, they are all variations on great. But if someone asked me for my "favorite" higher end New Japanese, it would definitely be Yamada.

    1 Reply
    1. re: VCB133

      Thanks so much for the recommendation. If you went just by food, who would have the most inventive food? And, if different, who would create the most delicious stuff.

      Thanks again!

    2. I agree Ryugin and Narisawa are both amazing in completely different ways. Of the other 4 you mentioned, I know L`Effervescence and Takazawa- the former is nice service, reasonably nice food but not very exciting (think Michel Bras circa 2004) worthy of 1 star but no more based on the food. As for the latter, very expensive, so much so that its hard to feel you are getting your moneys worth, but unless you are a respected food critic or fine-dining chef yourself, you will probably be quite impressed by the food. A few molecular techniques (though very basic) some great ingredients (Suppon, Amadai, Shinsyu Wagyu) and friendly service.
      There are a lot of great new restaurants popping up, some with one star where you can find `New Japanese food`, do some research and you will be rewarded. Remember that just because its pricey, it doesn`t guarantee it will be good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: NZJoe

        He didn't say Narisawa was amazing, he just said Ryugin was much better. narisawa is, as I feel compelled to say whenever it is brought up, amazingly overrared and overpriced for what it is. Emperor's new clothes. Misuse of old-fashioned liquid nitrogen techniques just for the heck of it. Unreal. Bleh.

        OYour four choices are all fine, but it depends on what you prioritse. For example, Yamada Chikara is a friendly place, the quantity of the food is incredible (too much) and it is good value for money. But it is also the poorest of the four choices in etrms of ingredient quality and overall flavour... So it just depends what you are after and if cost / performance is a big issue for you.