Tokyo - Dec 28 - Jan 3
Looking to book lunches and dinners for Dec 28 - Jan 3. Been to Tokyo once before. Going with wife and a few friends. We're in mid to late 30's.
Want to try a variety of Japanese cuisines, low to high end.
Extra points for interesting places and/or neighborhoods that would give us a sense of what living in Tokyo would be like. Prefer West Village like vibe to Midtown West. Liked Daikanyamachō last trip.
Not interested in high end international (unless differentiated; live in San Francisco now, moved from NY) or kaiseki (went a bunch last trip). Told we should definitely try Italian though.
Price - doesn't matter, cheap to outrageous.
Staying at Ritz Carlton in Midtown/Roppongi.
Plan so far (mix of research and hotel concierge, constrained by availability):
Dec 29 - arrive in Tokyo; dinner open - Ramen rec? (been to Ippudo last trip)
Dec 30 - Muto (soba) for lunch, Seamon (sushi) for dinner
Dec 31 - Ninjyocho Imahan (sukiyaki) for lunch; Kushiwakamaru (yakitori) for dinner
Jan 1 - Tenichi (tempura) for lunch, Ryugin (general, higher end Japanese) dinner
Jan 2 - open lunch; Ristorante ASO (Italian) for dinner
Jan 3 - open lunch
Soba - we really liked a place on one of the higher floors in a Ginza department store, but can't remember the name.
Appreciate any advice and recommendations! Unfortunately I think some (many?) places are closed during this time period.
I seriously doubt if you will be able to book most of the restaurants you mentioned above. Most are closed beginning from 30th and not reopen till Jan 5 or later. Good luck.
For ramen near your area, my preferred place is Akanoren, I prefer it to Ippudo. It is about 10-15minutes walk from your hotel: http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...
You may want to check out the tempura place Shimizu in your hotel. It maybe open on holiday period since it is located right inside Ritz Carlton. I have never tried it but it is ranked very highly on Tabelog.
Re: Tempura Shimizu
It's open at least until 31st December as I have a reservation for lunch on that day =)
Here's hoping the concierge doesn't call me up to cancel my reservation :P
Bill: since the market will be closed from 30th onwards, you might want to plan any sushi meals on the 29th. I believe restaurants in major shopping centres should remain open.
Soba Muto is closing from December 29th to January 06th included, sushi Seamon Ginza from December 31st to January 02nd (last order at 20:30 on the 30th), tempura TenIchi Shinjuku 3-chome closed on January 1st(last order on December 31st at 17:15), Kaiseki Ryugin (from Michelin Guide) will be close, ... so; so.. more than soba Muto, I recommend soba Nigyo(one star), near Mitsukoshi Mae. I just found out that they are open on December 31st and have 'a la carte', so that will be affordable. Their tempura are better than at soba Muto that were floppy.. Sushi, that is difficult. I have tried sushi Seamon, but in fact, I just can't remember anything there, so even if it was alright, expect nothing outstanding. I have tried this autumn a second time sushi Manten, in the basement of the Brick Square Marunouchi (Tokyo station), and they improved on the parts I felt where lacking, so now I recommend it for their cost performance. It is open on December 31st at lunch(reservation necessary), and will reopen on January 02nd. It is not a luxury one, it is a lunch very affordable at 3800yens, with a good range of tsumami/sashimi and nigiri.. just do expect it to not be very cosy, though !!
If you're staying in Roppongi and been there/done that for Ippudo, what about San Maru Go?
I've never been, but a friend recommended it for stick to your ribs fatty soup. Let me know how it is if you try. It has an 82.336 on the ramen DB.
If you are going to eat seafood I recommend doing it as early in your trip as possible. The market will be closed from the 31st for five days. Even when they're open on the last few days of the year it's very slim pickings because nobody wants to have leftovers when they close, fisherman start taking vacations early, and the incredible amount of seafood that gets sold for New Years food really changes the way the market functions.
Very good advice ! Some food are less sensitive (like 'strollen' cakes) and therefore a good buy. But definitely not fish, shells.
I have visited Tsukiji around year end several times in the past, and found it very lively on 28th, 29th, but quiet deserted on 06th. You are not the only one with such thoughts apparently ...