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Sep 9, 2013 02:54 PM

Tokyo itinerary critique (Rokurinsha ramen, Takatora, Seigetsu, Dons de la Nature, Gyoza Stadium)


I've spent hours and hours reading threads to prepare for an upcoming first-time trip to Tokyo, and I think I've figured out five out of six restaurants on the three days we have to ourselves for wandering around the city. Could anyone offer advice on a sixth and/or are there any big mistakes in our itinerary? So far, the plan is:

Saturday: lunch at Rokurinsha Tokyo, dinner at Dons de la Nature
Sunday: lunch at ________, dinner at Seigetsu in Kagurazaka
Monday: lunch at Gyoza Stadium, dinner at Takatora in Takadanobaba

So, we have meals planned around tsukemen ramen, tonkotsu ramen, an izakaya, wagyu beef, and gyoza. We'll also make a morning trip out to Tsukiji for breakfast fish. What are we missing? Or are any of these bad choices? One person in the party is allergic to fish, so we're probably eschewing sushi this time around (I know some of the ramen has fish in the broth, but I'm hoping there will be a fish-free option in there--or is this unrealistic?). We're thinking of possibly trying a tempura place for the sixth slot, maybe Kondo or Ten-ichi, but are open to pretty much anything.

(The only restaurants we're avoiding are some of the Michelin-starred multi-course places because (1) we've heard they're not all that dissimilar from restaurants in San Francisco, like Saison and (2) we're going to Tokyo next week, so it's too late to get reservations anyway.)

Also, we'll be in Tokyo for an additional week--there will be a lot of work during that time, which will cut down on food trips, but if you have thoughts on tasty neighborhood spots near the Green Tower Makuhari Hotel in Chiba or the Villa Fontaine in Roppongi, that would be very welcome, too.

Thank you in advance! We're tremendously excited.

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  1. Just note that the two ramen shops you picked both serve a tonkotsu-gyokai broth (pork & fish based). You should probably pick some other ramen shops which don't use fish in their broth. Others on here may be able to help you with recommendations. Also, I don't know what your experience with A5 wagyu is, but personally I think as a big hunk of steak, it is too rich an experience. I would much rather have it as sukiyaki/shabu shabu/yakiniku, but ymmv.

    1 Reply
    1. re: killersmile

      Totally agree with killersmile's take on A5 wagyu. As shabu shabu it is very good.

    2. Yes, both those ramen shops use dried fish in their broths. That's sort of their signature quality. A lot of tsukemen places do as a matter of fact. Also, I'm not a big fan of ramen for dinner because it is basically a 15-20 minute meal for an individual. It's better for lunch in between sightseeing spots/ errands. Might want to look into a yakitori place for dinner instead....Not really into teppanyaki myself and feel the same about fatty A5 expensive beef. I personally prefer shabu shabu....Gyoza Stadium is skippable. If it's gotta be meat, maybe consider tonkatsu or Japanese curry/ yoshoku cuisine for lunch... A fun looking night time destination for carnivores might be Shibuya Yokocho ( which is a collection of 17 street style meat restaurants. There's also a new yakitori mall type of deal in Otemachi. Don't have the link handy...Tempura is going to be a lot of seafood. I guess it might be possible to request vegetables and meat. Not sure how that would fly...

      1. I think Seigetsu has long since had its day, but if you're just after a cheap and cheerful izakaya environment, then it will suit your purposes. For izakaya/robatayaki in the same price range, I'd recommend Mugen (in Shibuya) or Nakamenoteppan (in Naka-Meguro). They have basic English menus.

        Ushi no Yotare is slightly pricer, but has a good range of beef, chicken and pork kushiyaki.

        A reasonably priced izakaya that might suit your needs is Sake no Ana, in Ginza. Friendly staff, an English menu and plenty of options for your friend. It has a great sake menu, and a sommelier who can help guide you in your selection.

        I don't have any recs for Chiba, but if you fancy the idea of natural wine with a hearty, aged Yamagata-gyu steak while you are in Roppongi, then I'd recommend you try Shonzui. It's incredibly popular, so try and book one week in advance - or turn up after 9:30 to try and snag a vacating table.

        3 Replies
        1. re: wekabeka

          Thanks, everyone. One more question: does anyone have a recommendation for a French-Japanese place in the Kudanshita Station area? I read somewhere that it's one of David Chang's favorite areas to eat in Tokyo, but he didn't give any specific restaurant recommendations, and a search on Chowhound didn't seem to turn anything up.

          1. re: carbonara

            That just sounds totally random - maybe he stayed at a hotel there, wandered around and found some nice places.

            But I don't think anyone who knows the Tokyo restaurant scene well would pick Kudanshita station as their favorite area for eating.

            There's a decent French bistrot called Le Petit Tonneau - I wouldn't call it French-Japanese though....

            1. re: Robb S

              He worked at a dive ramen shop there when he first moved to Japan...I've read accounts of his time in Japan and it didn't go all that well.