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A nice dinner out in Tokyo without breaking the bank....Kyoto recs?

janetofreno Jan 10, 2014 09:47 AM

OK, the tickets for May are booked! My son lives there, and he will be the main travel guide as far as restaurants are concerned (He was once a picky eater but has evolved into a chowhound). However, I would love to surprise him and his SO with a nice dinner out, somewhat elegant, and not meat-centric (DH will eat fish but not any other meat). But this trip is already going to be pricey, so I don't want TOO over the top. Preferably a locals place, but maybe somewhere the locals might go for a nice night out. He lives in Setagaya-ku, but anywhere easily accessible by public transport is fine....Also, we hope to take the bullet train up to Kyoto for a couple of days - any ideas there? I don't mind eating in the usual noodle and sushi places where he hangs out; in fact I'm looking forward to it...but something a little different and more upscale would be nice for one meal. Ideas?

  1. j
    jmui852 Jan 13, 2014 09:17 AM

    For Kyoto I highly recommend ogata and Tempura matsu (not a tempura resto). The latter is a super cozy family run restaurant, great value for the type of food u get (around 12k yen) and it was so good (not just the food but also the coziness and warmth) we cancelled our dinner at tenyou to go back again in the same week. Ogata is arguable our fav refined kaiseki, we enjoyed the food much more than we did at kikunoi, chihana and Kitcho. Imo it is in my top 5 list in the world along with sushi saito, l'ambroisie, l'arpege etc. A good casual restaurant is unagi edomasa, which so far is the best unagi I hv ever had. Imo much better than nodaiwa, obana, chikuyotei etc in Tokyo. (They use wild unagi)

    1. g
      Gargle Jan 12, 2014 04:57 AM

      Try kokoro:


      They speak English, the food is excellent, and the prices are very reasonable.

      1. p
        precogpunk Jan 10, 2014 02:52 PM

        If you're going to Kyoto I'd highly recommend Dining Harimaya. From what I remember, it's the son a famous kaiseki chef, that being said it was reasonable in price and left a good impression.

        You can see some photos on my blog:

        Here's a link to more information:

        1. Silverjay Jan 10, 2014 10:20 AM

          Setagaya is a ward, not a neighborhood. It's quite large- actually quite wide- and stretches over A LOT of dense neighborhoods. And the whole city is pretty much accessible by public transport. So you might want to zero in on a neighborhood or two for your request. What neighborhood is your son living in? Perhaps the major hub near him might be a good area.

          ...Kyoto is southwest of Tokyo. The train system recognizes it as "down".

          4 Replies
          1. re: Silverjay
            Glicoman Jan 10, 2014 05:51 PM

            Isn't every where else considered down from Tokyo?

            1. re: Glicoman
              janetofreno Jan 11, 2014 08:46 PM

              my bad on the geography. Why did I think Kyoto was north of Tokyo? And you're right about size: my son tells me that I will be totally blown away by how big the city is. OK, Shibuya? Shinagawa? Meguro? Ebisu? (sp?) Those are subway stops he mentioned as being convenient to where he lives.....

              1. re: janetofreno
                Uncle Yabai Jan 12, 2014 01:43 AM

                I think "convenient" is being given a pretty broad interpretation here.

                1. re: janetofreno
                  Silverjay Jan 13, 2014 08:25 AM

                  Sounds like he lives perhaps on the Toyoko Line or such....I would check out the Ebisu listings from Bento.com. It's a great dining neighborhood that might otherwise get overlooked for lack of daytime tourist appeal....Since you didn't specify type of food, it's best for you to peruse those listings and see what interests you and maybe come back with some ideas.

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