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May 30, 2014 01:11 PM

Yakitori suggestions

I'm staying at the Conrad Tokyo for one night and would ideally like a yakitori restaurant within a 15-20 minute walk, so maybe Ginza or Yarakucho? Not too bothered if it's high end or hole in the wall, what's most important is good food. Any suggestions greatly appreciated!

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  1. Have you searched the boards for "Ginza Yurakucho yakitori"? There should be dozens of threads.

    1. Kushiwakamaru in Nakameguro. Get there right when they open so there is no line....try to sit at the counter if you can...there is an English menu and they understand English but it passes the authentic sniff test for it is a great neighborhood to have a walk in either before or after a dinner.

      7 Replies
      1. re: jet lagged

        Thanks so much for your suggestion, it sounds like just what I was looking for. I will make sure I get there early as I hate queuing, more and more so the older I get!

        1. re: nippy

          IF you will be going away from Ginza-Yurakucho for Yakitori, let me suggest a great place in Yoyogi Uehara called Fuku. Read about it on the Tokyo Food Page...

          1. re: Tripeler

            I saw a review for Fuku on the Japan Times website and had it in my list. Do you know if they take reservations please? I may get my hotel to book.

            1. re: nippy

              Yes, they take reservations, and I really suggest them.

              1. re: Tripeler

                And note that Fuku is closed on Wednesdays. And on Saturdays and Sundays, you can only reserve for a start at 6pm (or 6:30pm, I forget) or earlier, while you can kick off at any time on the other days of the week.

                I love Fuku. The yakitori is great, the atmosphere as well, and it happens to be remarkably cheap. Owner Suzuki-san is a very pleasant, cheerful man, as are all the staff at Fuku.

                I have now been to a number of the high end yakitori places and I still prefer the much cheaper and much less up-itself Fuku. In fact, only yesterday I went to Yakitori Shinka, which is very highly rated on tabelog and is a kind of upmarket yakitori and wine place. 10 counter seats. No smoke from the grill at all. The setting is exactly like a sushi place, interestingly. My wife and I enjoyed it very much: they offer some cuts of chicken you do not see in many other places, some of the non-skewer dishes are excellent and imaginative, they are great at using spices (e.g., a sancho powder and honey mix to dip a particular cut of chicken into) and the wine list is very decent for a yakitori place. (I still prefer sake and beer with yakitori, but certain wines do work incredibly well, and it is a nice additional option to have.) The owner speaks very good English, which was great for my wife as she does not speak Japanese. BUT: while we loved it, at the end of the meal when we considered which yakitori place to book for a dinner next month with some friends, we both immmediately knew that we still prefer Fuku. Depends on what you're after, but if you want some honest, good quality yakitori in an informal atmosphere, Fuku remains my favourite.

                While I find the notion of awarding Michelin stars to yakitori places absurd, I was curious and tried some of them out. I have found them quite disappointing. Ginza Birdland for instance is eye-wateringly expensive and rigid in its approach (set courses only, strict ahrerence to sittings so if you have the early sitting you have to be out by a certain time) while some other place in Gotanda whose name I have already forgotten was also unremarkable for the price and the way it took itlsef way too seriously. Give me Fuku any time.

                The Yurakucho yakitori places under the railway tracks are really fun in terms of the atmosphere (and if you want to get into random conversations with drunk businessmen sitting next to you), and I would recommend it for the experience. But the quality of the actual food in most cases is really low.

                1. re: Asomaniac

                  p.s.: If you go for Fuku, take the Chiyoda line from Hibiya station (note: Hibiya station = the same as Yurakucho). It is quite a distance away by cab, but the train takes you there in 17 minutes (Yoyogi-Uehara station), and then it is a 4 minute walk from the station to the restaurant in a pleasant neighbourhood, walking along a single street with lots and lots of restaurants and bars on it.

                  You can also go from Shimbashi station (closer to your hotel), but then you would have to change trains once, at Omotesando).

                  1. re: Asomaniac

                    Thanks so much for your detailed reply, a very interesting and insightful read. I will be staying at the Park Hyatt on the 2nd leg of my trip and I think Fuku is much closer to the PH. I will ask my hotel make reservations for me.

      2. Recently, there is a trend of yakitori and French, influence of the "new" yakitori wave. For ex, yakitori Banchou in Marunouchi, 5mn from Yurakucho, have a good menu that includes French bistrot menu. Reservation is limited to 2 hours. But in comparaison to yakitori Birdland, it is about half the price !

        At lunch, except on Sundays, you should also give a try to yakitori old main branch Kyobashi Iseihiro's set of 7-8-9 skews, very classic. Its 2nd floor is tatami room, so at lunch, even if it is not cosy, you won't have the drinking tilting man next to you - as can happen at the counter on the 1st floor.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Ninisix

          That second place is a good find - it seems like very few yakitori places in Tokyo serve skewers at lunchtime.

          Another good yakitoriya in Marunouchi that's much cheaper than Birdland in Ginza is Birdland Marunouchi (a branch of the Ginza main shop; 03-3281-5864). .

          1. re: Robb S

            RobbS, thank you ! I hope you will try their lunch, the 'negi buta(roll pork on leek)' is one I really remember well. Even if it is not yet summer, sweating a bit at a yakitori feels like a right beginning for the season

          2. re: Ninisix

            These both look fantastic thank you. You can't get away from the drinking, tilting man! England is full of them too!