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NYTimes recs--what do you think

I've always thought many/most NYTimes restaurants recommendations for cities outside the US usually suck. Well, maybe not suck, but they're often mediocre at best, and very tourist friendly (not necessarily a bad thing, but for me it usually is).

In their 36-hours in Tokyo column they recommend:

Hinokizaka at the Ritz-Carlton Akasaka for dinner
Izakaya Vin in Shibuya for dinner

Aoi Marushin in Asakusa for lunch

Starbucks in Shibuya (more for the view than for the coffee, but still ...)

What say you, Tokyo-ites, about the above recs? Are they good ones for a tourist who only has 36 hours to spend in Tokyo?

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  1. It's strange to see the Ritz-Carlton described as being in Akasaka, when it's right above Roppongi subway station. (Yes, I know the address is technically Akasaka.)

    I've never heard of any of the restaurants.

    1. Hinokizaka is Kaiseki, I think they used to have a Michelin star?

      Izakaya Vin, as the name suggests, appears to be all about French wines. Not sure why someone who has only 36 hours to spent in Tokyo would have dinner in a place that specializes in French wines.

      Weird recommendations indeed.

      1. The view of the crossing from Starbucks in Shibuya is nice, but the coffee isn't very good......

        1. Get your coffee at Paul Bassett @ QFront and drink it at Starbucks :)

          1. Aoi Marushin seems like the real deal to me, I was taken there by my Japanese ex-pat friend who now lives in NY the last time we were in Tokyo. Lined up out the door with locals. I think it was a nostalgia exercise for her, somewhere her parents used to take the family.

            She recommended edomae sytle ten-don, where they drizzle sauce over the cooked tempura in the kitchen so it isn't particularly crispy by the time it gets to the table.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bytepusher

              Aoi Marushin is a classic been there for 400 years recipe hasn't changed Tempura place.

              However, it was probably lined out the door with a bus full of tourists visiting Sensoji Temple. That's not to say that it's not good but I find of the 5 or so times I've been the quality has been up and down. Probably best when it isn't as busy.

              Now, would I recommend it to someone who only has 36 hours in Tokyo? Probably not.

            2. This is just bizarre. Hinokizaka in particular is an odd recommendation - there are so many world class restaurants in the city, and they pick one of the least remarkable kaiseki places I have been to.

              1. I have been to Izakaya Vin a few times and always enjoyed it. That said, I agree with the others who feel that it is a bizarre recommendation for someone who has only 36 hours to spend in Tokyo. It makes me really suspicious of the restaurant recommendations in the other cities of the 36 hour series. Here is a link to the article for those interested.


                1. I've never seen those 36-hour features as suggesting the 'ultimate' or definitive itinerary, more a slice of life, with destinations that won't make any guidebooks OR locals' top ten lists.

                  1. Not sure about Epicure, but he doesn't seem to be in the 36 hours show ! I rather read the Chow early in the morning, and think about it in my swinging train (in a way, forgetting about the train). And my thoughts wander on that anpan bread, or kougnaman at Viron(Shibuya), or croissant at Jean Paul(Shibuya), ...

                    1. I Love Izakaya Vin, old school Francophile place, the food is always good, and an excellent wine list. A real mom and pop place. Dad has massive Burgundy knowledge and the son studied in Dijon. Oxtail is wonderful, and the bloc foie gras with fig is a reason to live. 3.59 rating in tabelog, so not a bad choice.

                      Also been dreaming of the Viron kouignamann