Here it is, my Tokyo and Kyoto selection - Final advices welcomed
Thank you all for the help you've given me on my previous post (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/829532) as well as on all the golden pages of Chowhound.
I have finally (almost) narrowed down my choices for my trip to Tokyo and Kyoto in September 2012, and am coming for a last checkup with the brains (and bellies) of Chowhound.
- Ryugin or Takazawa (formerly known as Aronia de Takazawa). I am leaning towards Takazawa now.
- Sushi Dai or Daiwa Sushi or Sushi Bun (whichever has the shortest line)
- Sushi Saito (or Sushi Sawada if my budget increases in the next 2 months... but doubtful)
- Menya Kissou
- Ivan Ramen (maybe, if it isn't too much of a pain to get there depending on the day's planned itinerary).
- Souten or Fuku (am leaning towards Souten, but Fuku is cheaper, and right now I'm working on a tight budget).
- Izusen or Shigetsu (both sound equally nice, so will probably end up in the most convenient one depending on our itinerary).
- Yamamoto Menzo
We will of course eat in many other places, but those are the "destination meals" I have planned. You are all very welcome to comment on anything you want.
Of course I am aware that not all my choices are the "top choice" in its category, I had to take the budget into consideration, and it will still be the most I've spent on food of all the trips of my life...
How long in advance should I make reservations for the top restaurants like Takazawa or Sushi Saito ? Should I call them already for September ?
And what about the other restaurants (Souten, Tsunahachi, 511...) ? Can I make a reservation when I'm already there one or two days in advance or is that too short notice ?
Again, thank you all for the tremendous help you've given me on planning my trip. I'm sure I'll post some more before I go, but I'll also make sure and make a thorough trip report when I come back in October.
I just posted an answer for you on the difference in eating sushi with fingers or with hashi.. For the reservation, I will ask my hotel concierge to check at sushi Saitou and Takazawa the delay. After in Tokyo, what are your plan ? Do you want to go to Akihabara ? Ueno ? .. and depending on the location, the board will try to help.
Takazawa doesn't have any Michelin stars (if that's what you meant). Reservations for Aronia de Takazawa were 3 months before. You can do it through e-mail, in english, so it's one of the easiest reservations. For Saito, you need to call through your hotel concierge. I've booked for lunch one week before, but for dinner you should try calling 1 month in advance -- that is if your hotel can help you with reservations before you check in.
I've never been to Souten, Tsunahachi or 511, but most restaurants of this kind are possible to book 2 days in advance.
One or two days for reservations might be pushing it for some of these places - I'd ask your hotel to reserve a week in advance if possible. Especially for Fridays at dinnertime, which tend to be full just about everywhere.
You don't need reservations for Tsunahachi, but if you go during prime time, you'll be waiting for a while. That might depend on which Tsunahachi to which you are going (I went to the main one in Shinjuku.
BTW, the website for Tsunahachi has a coupon for a free drink with your meal http://www.tunahachi.co.jp/en/coupon/... (I am not related to the business or website in any way; just noticed it there when I was checking which branch I went to).
Sushi Bun is probably the worst of your choices. It could have been a bad day, but the rice was super mushy on the day I went.
Tsunahachi doesnt have much of a wait. There is also the higher end Tsunahachi Rin as option if you want more of a splurge. Maybe hold off on Tempura in Tokyo and goto Ten You in Kyoto.