Tokyo/Taito and Kyoto: short notice/walk in places?
We're going to be in Tokyo (taito area but will travel around, of course) and Kyoto for ten days in early October and I've neglected to plan very well. I'm assuming this puts us out of the running for some of the more destination worthy places but we're not too worried. So:
Does anyone have any recommendations on places we can get to with short notice or no reservations? We'll take almost any price range. Hoping for one really nice meal that will need a res, if that's possible, and the rest ideally are a little more casual--but we're fine spending $60-70 on some of these dinners if you think it's worth it). Food stands and such are great too!
Also if there are any websites you've used in addition to Chow to find food and restaurant info for Japan, that'd be amazing too.
I'm perusing past threads, too. Thanks in advance for any recommendations and guidance!
Bamboo, an izakaya restaurant in east Kyoto, across the street and kitty corner from a McDonalds and close to the entrance of one of the neighborhood shopping arcades. Sit at the counter and order omakase. You can specify a price range. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g298564-d1171728-Reviews-Bamboo-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html#REVIEWS bento.com is a good Japanese restaurant site as is http://happy-travelling.com/ for Kyoto. Be sure to try tamago on a stick in Nishiki Market in Kyoto. I also enjoyed Ippudo for ramen, near Nishiki Market. http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserRe...
I'd suggest checking out Tokyo Solamachi, a large shopping and restaurant complex about 15 minutes away from your hotel, in Oshiage. They have a few dozen restaurants in all price ranges, covering a variety of Japanese and international cuisines. http://www.bento.com/ra-ueno.html#oshiage lists a few of them. The more upscale ones are located up on the 31st floor, and include a nice tofu-kaiseki restaurant called Kunimi. The eel restaurant called Bincho is also quite nice.
Also you're not too far from Bon, where you can dine on very fine vegetarian shojin-ryori in a gorgeous traditional setting. http://www.bento.com/rev/1308.html
re: virtual balboa
You're not far from Asakusa, at night the Senso Ji lights up ! But, after if you want to have diner, I recommend you a soba at first at Ozawa, and you will have to try the 'ume fried'(only at diner), then very closed to this soba, you have the Kyoto style sushi-yasan 468 ! The chef is very young, but even if he doesn't speak English, he will serve you all his specialities with sake.. for less than 5000yens !
And at Ginza, try sushi Taichi at lunch, the first sets is at 2520yens, 5000yens(my choice!)...
re: virtual balboa
I used to live 8 mins away from there, and that northern-east side area (Ueno/Nippori/Asakusa/Oshiage) is still my favourite part of town. 10 minutes north of Tawaramachi station is one of my most beloved oden shops, Otafuku. It's a great option now that the weather is cooling down. Make sure you get a reservation at the counter.
After visiting nearby Senso-ji temple head to Daikokuya for a soba lunch.
My personal favourite is Namiki Yabu for a plate of zaru soba, a tokkuri of taru sake (both ¥700) and a chat with the lovely old couple who run the place... but may be a challenging option for non-Japanese speakers.
Also close to Senso-ji is Irokawa, a famous unagi shop... but be prepared for a wait. You can get an idea of the different sizes of their unagi-don on their website, but a google search in English will produce plenty of hits. If you've got room, order a side of unagi shio-yaki or the unagi kimo-yaki (grilled liver) - yum!
I second Ninisix's recommendation of 468 (pronounced Yoroppa) - the pressed sabazushi and anagozushi are great - as is the sake selection.
The Nippori/Nezu/Yanaka/Sendagi area is wonderful of autumnal strolls. Follow one of these walking maps for a nice half day adventure.
When in the area I pop into Kamachiku for udon washed down with a tokkuri from their fantastic sake list.
Or Hantei for kushiyaki. Remember to tell them to stop serving you as soon as you are full, or the dishes will keep coming.
Yushima, a great eating destination, is in close striking distance, too. Meat-eaters will be able to direct you to the better yakitori, tonkatsu options, I'm sure. Tamayura is a friendly and atmospheric izakaya, which specialise in food seasoned with miso. They have a comprehensive sake list, too. I recommend the karasumi (botargo) and yaki-miso - they go well with a cup of junmai.
Robbie gave it a great write up here: