Recently opened HAKU is bringing its Kappo-style kitchen experience to Harbor City. The concept of HAKU was inspired by Chef Hideaki Matsuo of 3-Michelin starred restaurant Kashiwaya in Osaka, in collaboration with Chef Agustin Balbi (formerly of The Ocean). The intimate kitchen gives diners an interactive experience with the chef and the food. Expect a set menu of incredibly thoughtful Japanese cuisine with a European twist, using the finest ingredients.
One of the great things about Tokyo is that you’re guaranteed a good meal at just about any restaurant or little shop you walk into. Heck, even the Family Mart and 7-Eleven offer great options if you’re on the go. While you could certainly eat up a storm in Tokyo without doing any research ahead of time, I’m pretty damn glad I did because I managed to have an incredible meal each of my five days in the city (as well as some great ones that just didn’t make my ‘top 5 places to eat in Tokyo’ list).
Fuunji Tokyo was said to serve up some of the best tsukemen in the city, and since I had never tried that type of ramen before (I know, I know) I was looking forward to trying it. The shop is a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so be sure to arrive early or go late, otherwise you should expect a queue (we went just after it opened and we still didn’t get a seat right away). There are only two things on the menu: ramen or dipping noodles (tsukemen), but the vast majority come for the latter. And trust me, it doesn’t disappoint.
There are so many fantastic restaurants in Tokyo that planning where to eat during your stay can be a bit overwhelming. Many well-established restaurants begin taking reservations upwards of a month in advance, so if you’re not in the know, you’ll likely miss out on an opportunity to have a fantastic meal. While many of these restaurants tend to be quite fancy, I discovered a hidden gem that I want to share with you: Narukiyo Tokyo. This restaurant only serves an omakase menu (meaning there is no menu), has insanely fun vibes (sit around the kitchen counter for added entertainment while enjoying the chef’s playlist and the awkward yet hilarious phallic objects scattered about the restaurant), and is basically guaranteed to be one of the best nights you’ll have in Tokyo.
One of the things Japan is known for is their food: from the time and effort spent preparing a dish, to the quality ingredients used. Finding a “good” restaurant in Japan isn’t difficult. You could walk into any little place and know that whether you’re spending ¥1000 or ¥5000, you’ll have a great meal. Despite the ease of dining out, I wanted to try my hand at the Kaiseki Cooking Class Tokyo at Cooking Sun studio. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese meal involving many small courses. Since I was only in Tokyo for five days, Flight Centre Hong Kong arranged the cooking class in Shibuya before I landed (nothing beats a little less stress while traveling!).
Having just been to Pici Pasta Bar, another of Pirata Group’s newest restaurants, I was keen to try their other new concept: TokyoLima. I heard rave reviews from friends who had tried their Nikkei cuisine (a blend of Japanese and Peruvian food), I was ready for an evening of strong cocktails, unique fusion dishes created by Peruvian Chef Arturo Melendez (formerly of Chicha), and great vibes. All of which TokyoLima delivered.
Having walked by The Wellington at least once a day for the past two years (when I begrudgingly worked out at California Fitness [before it went bankrupt]), I actually never knew that URA Japanese Delicacy was in that building. Having gone unnoticed for so long, when I did her about it, I decided to give their modern Japanese cuisine a go. You can expect a lively bar (and outdoor covered beer garden!), comfortable and spacious dining area, and sleek decor at URA.
Hong Kong has opened its doors to the first renowned authentic kushikatsu restaurant from Osaka, Japan: Jan Jan Kushikatsu. Kushikatsu is basically a fancy way of saying fried skewers, which may sound simple enough to make, but what sets kushikatsu apart from other deep-fried Japanese fare is the special oil, batter, and dipping sauce used. Nestled in an unassuming building in Wan Chai with practically no signage is where you’ll find Jan Jan. Be prepared for a big Japanese “welcome” the moment you walk through the door and into the homey restaurant.
Kyoto Joe, located in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, is a contemporary Japanese restaurant with a stylish and unpretentious interior. Whether you’re looking to grab a bite to eat and some drinks after work or are wanting to go on a dinner date with friends, Kyoto Joe has the right atmosphere, with its various dining rooms, to suit any type of occasion. The service is friendly and quick, and the food consists of high quality ingredients ranging from sushi to ramen to grilled dishes. At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with a meal at Kyoto Joe.