Best Soba in Tokyo?
I'm a huge ramen head so I've tried a lot of ramen places in Tokyo. Recently I've wanted to try a really good soba place in Tokyo but I'd love to hear some suggestions. My usual go-to soba place is called Kaori-ya (in Ebisu). I randomly stumbled upon this place when wandering in Ebisu with some friends a few years back. Highly recommend their 'first trial' soba (a bit starchier than regular soba). Wait is not crazy and this place is only a 2 min walk from the Ebisu station which is a plus.
I hear Narutomi, Honmura, Yabu and even Matsugen being thrown around. Any suggestions which is a MUST try and what I must order?
It's some time ago since I went but I'm hoping to go back this year. They have a popular set where three kinds of soba are served which is a wonderful way to appreciate this speciality.
The place is called Hojinbou (竹泉)
Map and photos here
Tablelog reviewers are a tough crowd and the highest rated soba restaurant in Tokyo only gets 4.1. Even so, Hojinbou does get a handful of rave reviews -so at least I'm in company by recommending it.
Best in Tokyo? Not sure about that but it has been perhaps the most memorable - and I've eaten a LOT of soba in Tokyo. I came here first through a recommendation in "The Book of Soba" by James Udesky.
You can see a photo of the three kinds of soba set here:
I do like to eat soba from times to times, but I did not do any specific research. I have heard about that soba in Ginza, the one recommended by RobbS. But when I am in Ginza, I just can't stop sushi, so I didn't have the occasion yet ! So my 2 go soba right now are :
- soba Ozawa in Asakusa (open on week days at night, and lunch only on weekends), you can choose between 'regular size, 'chu', a bit like tagliatelle or 'large', like parpadelle 'futo', but tempura is missing.. I feel soba alone is a bit sad, but can be a light lunch on week end !
- soba Nigyou, the new one star soba, the lunch is more expensive, around 1800.-yens for the 'shibori (daikon spicy juice with tare, my favorite)', but more deluxe as it includes some little happy mouth appetizers, like sweet omelet, hot soba, your choice of soba, and some little dessert.. you can also add tempura. Soba are fine cut, like spaghetti, and have nice texture. Still, soba will be less flavored...
Now, I want to try a new standing bar(with only few seatings) that seems to have soba with smoke karasumi and with sake, waouh !!! The name is Ginza washoku Shimada..
About a year ago I visited nearly a dozen soba shops in Tokyo, after soliciting advice on what places I should try. I tried some variation of tempura soba at each shop so I could judge based on their tempura as well as their noodles.
My favorite place was Narutomi in Ginza - 100% buckwheat noodles and succulent, ungreasy scallop tempura. Honmura An in Roppongi was a close second, with good tempura and the most interesting selection of side dishes.
Hosokawa in Ryogoku is also quite nice - their noodles are a bit chewier than average, and they do a nice (but slightly oily) anago tempura.