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Jul 12, 2012 06:38 PM

Tokyo and Kyoto-moderately-priced and casual in August

I am traveling with my college-bound daughter who doesn't like fancy restaurants, preferring curry and ramen places where you place your order at a vending machine. I would like about half our meals to include table service. I have quite a list of food restrictions and preferences, yet I am very much a foodie. We don't eat pork. I eat very little red meat but she likes it. I prefer fish (not shellfish and more often cooked than sushi but I want both), chicken, vegetables, noodles and rice. Not a fan of deep fried foods or offal.

I would like to keep the cost of most lunches to up to 1,800 yen and dinners to 3,000 yen per person. We will be staying in Ginza and later in Shibuya but visiting the usual tourist sights and wanting to eat in those areas as well. Places near the JR Yamanote line would be convenient since our hotels are located near the stations. In Kyoto we will be staying downtown. I understand many restaurants are closed in August so perhaps you hounds can advise me on that.

I'm looking for suggestions for mostly Japanese foods but also interested in Thai, Chinese and other Asian cuisines. At least one night will be a splurge night and I was thinking of Ninja Akasaka and would like to hear from anyone who has tried it. It looks like it would be especially fun for my daughter but is it touristy? How's the food?.

Please give the location along with the name because this is my first time visiting Japan and I have a steep learning curve ; )

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  1. Argh ! Without pork you will miss the ramen then, except for 2 or 3 places recommended on the board (ramen Kaijin in Shinjuku or Ramen Ivan Plus in Kyodo)!!
    Besides, I recommend you the Izakaya style. For Izakaya, 2 same recommendations as Bento.con, Izakaya En in Ginza and Izakaya Goma-Ya in Shibuya(very popular).
    After you can try soba, yakitori, tempura..

    6 Replies
    1. re: Ninisix

      I would think that Kaijin probably uses dried shellfish for their broths, something to watch our for if that is a dietary restriction and not a preference. A lot of curry places also use pork bones to make the broth.

      1. re: Silverjay

        I looked at extensively and it was helpful although it seems to recommend fairly pricey restaurants or doesn't list prices. I think the vegetarian-friendly restaurants are great and will try to go to some of those. I agree with Ninisix that soba and yakitori work well and hope for some recs. Also think yuba, oden and nabemono could work out for me.
        Here are some places I found. Opinions appreciated:
        Meal Muji
        Club of Famous Curry Diners
        Roast Chicken House

        1. re: hibye

          Meal Muji is fun; I think of it more as a conveniently located budget cafe than as a dining destination, but the food is okay.

          I was quite impressed by the food at Coca, especially their Bic Camera branch. You might also try the Y1800 lunchtime buffet at Jim Thompson's Table in Ginza for more variety.

          Club of Famous Curry Diners is great for trying lots of famous curries in the same location, and comparing them.

          Kuruma was pretty good last time I went there, which was a few years back. If you're seeking chicken I would highly recommend Tsukada Nojo down towards the south end of Ginza ( ). They use very tasty free-range chicken from southern Kyushu.

          Shigenoi is good, and like most yakitori shops better at dinnertime. At lunchtime they serve chicken and rice dishes, which are quite nice, but no actual skewers.

          Roast Chicken House used to be very good but has recently gotten much less good.

        2. re: Silverjay

          Kaijin will list the seafood that's in their broth that day on the wall. That said, they could totally use dried shellfish behind the scenes as it's sort of a staple in broth that could go unmentioned.