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5 Days in Tokyo, need some recs please!

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endyyy Jan 9, 2012 01:09 AM

Hello fellow hounders, I will be traveling to Tokyo from Taiwan for the first time and will be staying at hyatt regency in west shinjuku for 5 days and 4 nights. This is our first time in Tokyo and I was hoping that I can get some recommendations for restaurants in the following categories. Our budget is around 5000 yen per meal per person with an exception of 1 nice/expensive dinner probably around 15000-20000/person. Will be leaving in a week so hopefully the restaurant recommended will still have availability.

Our tentative schedule: arriving on tuesday and will probably just explore the shinjuku area so will need a dinner and lunch rec.

Will spend a day at disneyland and tokyo sea. (any food I should try? I've gone to the Anaheim disneyland numerous times)

Will spend a day in Harajuku/shibuya area shopping. ( lunch and dinner recs?)

Don't have plans for the other days yet, but will travel around Tokyo for good food :)

Food we want to try:

Sushi - Sushi Saito (lunch) or maybe something around the tsukiji market or anywhere else

Ramen - There is fuunji near our hotel, but I was wondering if anyone know if theres good dan dan mien ramen? (tried it at honolulu and never found one like it)

Tempura - Saw multiple people recommend tsunahachi rin and close to hotel

Yakiniku, tonkatsu, desserts - haven't found places yet

Also, recommendations for the expensive dinner? Looking for an unique japanese experience.

Traveler details: We're both from los angeles and can only speak mandarin and english. I can read most kanji as well. Looking for foreigner friendly restaurants.

Thanks hounds! If anyone needs recs from taipei I'd be happy provide some recs as well.

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  1. b
    babreu RE: endyyy Jan 9, 2012 05:49 AM

    My favourite tantan-men in Tokyo is Couki (四川麺条 香氣). But the shops are hard to find.

    Komen is a good alternative and they are everywhere in central Tokyo http://www.kohmen.com/

    5 Replies
    1. re: babreu
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      Ninisix RE: babreu Jan 10, 2012 08:08 PM

      The ramen the nearest to your hotel Hyatt Regency that does Tan Tan Men is a chinese shop. So i figure you would prefer the japanese influenced Tan Tan Men like Hashigo. There is one in Ginza on the street paralell to Sotobori Avenue, it is nice for the 'paco tan tan men' (fried pork+tan tan men)...Don't  ask about my weight !!! http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1301/A130...
      If you are going to Tsukiji, it will be a BIG BIG miss to not try a sushi in Ginza! So for a lunch you might try Sushi Ichi, Sushi Taichi, Sushi Iwa, Sushi Ikkyu, Sushi Sasaki.. Those are all under 5000.-yens for lunch and will have one of the best tuna of Tokyo...
      Tempura Tsunahachi is alright, but not really compararable to the Tempura served on the counter as Tempura Tenmatsu in the MitsukoshiMae station (7mn walk from JR Tokyo Station)...
      TEMPURA TENMATSU (lunch around 3000.-yens -choose the tempura over the tendon
      )http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1302/A130...
      In Harujuku, try the up-scale Izakaya Honnoji, in the Omotesando street in the 4Floor of the GyreBldg (Chanel 1st floor), diner under 4000.-yens with alcohol :
      http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1306/A130...
      Before choosing your big JUMP, are you famliliar with Kaiseki ? If not, choose a kaiseki-nabe style, you will have quantity, conviviality in front of a big hot-pot, and little plates of everything...Do you prefer Fish Nabe ? Tofu Nabe ?...

      1. re: Ninisix
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        endyyy RE: Ninisix Jan 10, 2012 10:08 PM

        Thanks for the recommendations Babreu and Ninisix!! I am looking for Japanese influenced tan tan ramen. I will check out those restaurants.

        If I am going to Tsukiji, I should eat sushi in Ginza for lunch instead? What should I try at Tsukiji? I am told to go as early as possible and numerous people recommended Sushi Dai. I was thinking of dining at Tsunahachi because it is close to our hotel, do you have other recommendations for food in Shinjuku? i.e. tonkatsu or anything else worth trying?

        I have had Kaiseki maybe once or twice, but never had a kaiseki-nabe. Is it just a hot pot style kaiseki? If so, it sounds very interesting. I think we'd prefer tofu-nabe over fish,but will look into it if you have any restaurant recs?

        Also, does anyone have opinions on Ichi-ran ramen and fuunji?

        After searching for yakiniku, I am planning on adding ayano kouji to our list. Opinions?

        Thanks!!

        1. re: endyyy
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          akated RE: endyyy Jan 10, 2012 10:34 PM

          sushi dai, together with daiwa sushi, are the two "big" names in tsukiji, and consequently will be full of tourists.

          if you want tonkatsu in shinjuku, i like katsukura in takashimaya.

          i had ichi-ran ramen before. it's ok i guess (i had it as supper). won't go out of the way to eat it.

          1. re: endyyy
            Robb S RE: endyyy Jan 16, 2012 04:08 AM

            >I have had Kaiseki maybe once or twice, but never had a kaiseki-nabe.

            "Kaiseki nabe" isn't really a cuisine per se. The word 'kaiseki' can have a couple of different meanings in Japanese (and sometimes they're written with different kanji). The first meaning is the traditional elaborate multi-course seasonal Kyoto cuisine based on the tea ceremony. But other types of restaurants (including nabe specialists) can also offer a "kaiseki" menu choice, often for their most expensive set menu.

            1. re: Robb S
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              Ninisix RE: Robb S Jan 17, 2012 02:00 AM

              '会席' means kaiseki and banquet. Its is well known. It is well-known by the Japan residents in ryokan, where kaiseki menu is including nabe for the convivial drinking, after you have the '懐石' that also means kaiseki (and tea ceremony). This latter kaiseki is still found in some house like the 'Tsujitome kaiseki" in Akasaka (i took lessons there for 6 months).
              Neba kaiseki can be found at Inshotei(with the tori-sukiyaki), at Yamasaki (Edo-style kaiseki, in spring i have had the 'moryo nabe' made from gobo, chicken breast,..), or at a new one michelin star that i still have to check !!!

      2. Silverjay RE: endyyy Jan 11, 2012 05:13 AM

        Fu'unji is great and I keep recommending it here. The broth for the tsukemen is almost like gravy. It's a really unique shop and one of the best bowls I've had in years. You'll almost certainly have to wait in line, but the guys there are really nice. Ichiran is a venerable chain at this point, with outlets around town. I love it, but the newer independent blended broth shops like Fu'unji top it in terms of deliciousness.

        Five days in Tokyo with tempura, tonkatsu, yakiniku, a tan tan men shop, and another ramen shop on the docket is a pretty oily, kinda disgustingy Americany approach to the Japanese food scene. Might want to consider adding a seafood restaurant or maybe a regular nabe place (never heard of kaiseki nabe). You can try seafood or tofu nabe or motsu (offal) nabe, or something like anko (monkfish) nabe. A regional Japanese cuisine place might be interesting as well- like a Kyushu restaurant.

        Sushi Saito you had better book asap. There's only a few seats and it's very popular. One thing about it is that it's not in the most convenient location for tourists. It's a bit of a walk from a subway, not near anything other than right in front of the U.S. Embassy. It's a short cab ride, but it would be a detour. Agree that a Ginza shop might be better. The whole early morning thing at Tsukiji- market and sushi meal- is definitely a great attraction. Just recognize that those sushi places are more for value and experience than sort of top quality best that Tokyo has to offer.

        18 Replies
        1. re: Silverjay
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          akated RE: Silverjay Jan 11, 2012 07:44 AM

          re: sushi saito - i just called a few days ago to make reservations for march, to be told that i can only make them from feb 1st onwards. endyyy if your trip is in feb i reckon you should follow Silverjay's recommendations and call asap.

          if you are looking for a good list of ginza sushi-yas Ninisix's list should be very useful. all the spots he recommended are ranked highly on tabelog. in fact i'm also trying to score a lunch at Taichi myself when i am there.

          1. re: akated
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            endyyy RE: akated Jan 12, 2012 12:47 AM

            Thanks for the tips silverjay and akated! I will definitely check out katsukura and fu'unji for my ramen and tonkatsu meal in Shinjuku.

            Great observation on the greasy/oily meals point silverjay, I did not realize that most of the food I have listed are either fried or greasy. Do you have any recommendations for a nabe meal? (preferably seafood or tofu). My companion and I loves hot pot and it will be freezing in Japan so we'd love to have a nabe meal.

            I am actually going to be in Tokyo on 1/17 so I may not be able to get a reservation at sushi saito.. Is it just as difficult to get a reservation for lunch? If that route fails I will browse through ninisix's list of sushi in Ginza. Are the prices for sushi in Ginza significantly more than lunch prices?

            Also, does anyone know of any dessert we should not miss out on?

            Thanks for the help!!

            1. re: endyyy
              Silverjay RE: endyyy Jan 12, 2012 06:54 AM

              Seafood nabe is all over the place. I would think some place like Nakamura in Shibuya would do it nice- http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1303/A130... . But there are plenty of more downmarket options as well all over the place.

              1. re: Silverjay
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                Ninisix RE: Silverjay Jan 13, 2012 03:17 AM

                Nabe - Kaiseki, in fact is reference as 'nimono' in a kaiseki menu, so it will be part of a menu including 'saki-zuke(=appetizer)', 'otsukuri(sashimi)', 'owan(bowl or ragout), yakimono(roast fish, vegetable)',... For the tofu nabe, the most famous one is 'tofuya ukaitei' near the Tokyo Tower, and the lunch is around 5,000.-yens.
                Every year, i go back to eat one of the nabe-kaiseki edo style one michelin star Yamasaki in Iidabashi, the nabe 'negima(tuna, leek, cresson served with black ground pepper) at 12,600.-yens is really good, .. but, for a first time in japan, you might appreciate more a beautiful setting like Tofuya Ukaitei on a private room..
                @Akated, hope to hear your comment on next trip regarding Sushi Taichi...

                1. re: Ninisix
                  Silverjay RE: Ninisix Jan 13, 2012 03:54 AM

                  Nimono could just as easily be a simmered vegetable dish. It sounds like the OP is looking for a full nabe-mono dining experience.

                  1. re: Silverjay
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                    Ninisix RE: Silverjay Jan 13, 2012 04:44 AM

                    This is a nabe, a big hot pot, and is part of a Kaiseki course.

                    1. re: Ninisix
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                      Ninisix RE: Ninisix Jan 14, 2012 05:09 AM

                      Here the link of the nabe Kaiseki (or nabe course), to help the curiosity :

                      Nabe Negima, Yamasaki in Iidabashi :
                      http://app.m-cocolog.jp/t/typecast/15...

                      Tounyu Tofu nabe, Shiba Tofuya Ukaitei, near the Tokyo Tower :
                      http://blog.livedoor.jp/cho_kandakko/...

                      1. re: Ninisix
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                        endyyy RE: Ninisix Jan 15, 2012 11:20 PM

                        Thanks for the recs, will look into tofuya-ukai. We will probably go there for dinner, I noticed that there are 3 different sets for dinner, wihch do you recommend?

                        So currently, I will try to get a reservation at sushi saito for lunch, if thats full, I will try to get one at Sushi Ichi. Also thinking about trying out yamashiroya when I am in shibuya, anyone have experience?

                        Thanks!

                        1. re: endyyy
                          Robb S RE: endyyy Jan 16, 2012 03:57 AM

                          Yamashiroya is great - highly recommended. Beautifully prepared Kyoto cuisine at a very good price. Or if you don't mind going to Harajuku, Agaru Sagaru (03-3403-6968) has the same menu but a more interesting setting.

                          Nakamura is also very good, although I've found that service can be a bit underwhelming.

                          1. re: Robb S
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                            endyyy RE: Robb S Jan 16, 2012 05:42 AM

                            Thanks Robb, will try to get a reservation at one of those. Do you know if they're foreigner friendly?

                            1. re: endyyy
                              Robb S RE: endyyy Jan 16, 2012 06:54 AM

                              Well they're certainly friendly. Sorry, I don't know if they speak English though.

                              At least it's easy to order at Yamashiro and Agaru Sagaru - there's only one choice at dinnertime.

                          2. re: endyyy
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                            Ninisix RE: endyyy Jan 17, 2012 02:03 AM

                            In my opinion, tofu is the speciality of Shiba Tofuya Ukai, so the 'kondate Hana(=menu flower)', at under 10,000.-yens, if it includes the creamy 'tofu made from soy milk and fish soup stock', is the one to choose...and with the extra cash remaining, if sushi Saitou reservation worked out, don`t choose the 5,000.-yens menu, but go for 'tsumami + nigiri omakase' that cost 20,000.-yens at lunch. Saitou-san loves cooking, we had a long chat, so the ideas are more on the 'tsumami(seafood sashimi, arrangements)' than the nigiris, Besides, nigiris did not wow some other chowhounders either...

                    2. re: Ninisix
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                      akated RE: Ninisix Jan 16, 2012 08:41 AM

                      @ ninisix, definitely! can't wait... and you have just reminded me of tofuya ukatei! haha...

                    3. re: Silverjay
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                      endyyy RE: Silverjay Jan 15, 2012 11:30 PM

                      Just checked out Nakamura, do I need reservation for this place? is the address Shibuya 3-13-5, Ipuse Bldg 2F-B?

                      Thanks

                      1. re: endyyy
                        wekabeka RE: endyyy Jan 15, 2012 11:44 PM

                        Yes, you definitely need to make a reservation, and yes, that address is correct.

                2. re: Silverjay
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                  prasantrin RE: Silverjay Jan 12, 2012 04:32 AM

                  Is Fu'unji the kind of place that has a ticket machine at the front, or do you order at the counter?

                  eta: I looked more carefully at the tabelog entry and found the answer to my question--yes, they have ticket machines.

                  Another question--how do you read 得製 as in 得製 ラーメン? Just wondering.

                  1. re: prasantrin
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                    Uncle Yabai RE: prasantrin Jan 12, 2012 05:02 AM

                    Tokusei.

                    1. re: Uncle Yabai
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                      prasantrin RE: Uncle Yabai Jan 12, 2012 05:31 AM

                      Thanks! I thought the first kanji was toku, but I couldn't figure out the second one. It looked like fukuro, but a little different.

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