Tokyo is another part of Japan that offers a wide range of local and regional cuisine, as well as other international dishes.
The food selection in the country’s busy capital is so diverse and of the highest quality that the top restaurants have received more Michelin stars than those in Paris and New York combined!
But don’t worry, despite the international acclaim, you can still enjoy the best dishes this metro has to offer at a budget price!
From chicken karaage to Japanese pancakes, here are ten affordable yet tasty treats you must try during your Tokyo visit.
Japan’s favorite go-to snack, Takoyaki is a piece of ball-shaped wheat flour batter cooked in a molded pan and filled with minced octopus (tako), scraps of tempura (tenkasu), ginger pickles, and green onion. It’s then topped with bonito flakes, seaweed, mayonnaise, and Takoyaki sauce.
Tsukiji Gindako is a well-known Takoyaki chain. Opening its first stand in Tokyo in 1997, it now has over 300 branches throughout the country, including in major cities like Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Akihabara.
Their bestsellers are Cheese Mentaiko and Ebi (Shrimp) Tartar.
Located at the eastern part of Ginza, Fukuyoshi offers classic Kansai-style Takoyaki, which has a fluffy yet crunchy texture.
The restaurant has chairs and tables inside, so visitors can avail drinks with their food as well.
Another specialty that Ginza Fukuyoshi offers is their Inari Sushi. You should definitely try other dishes on their menu, which are as good as their bestselling Takoyaki.
Shabu-Shabu is a hot pot of thinly sliced meats and vegetables in a boiling broth. This dish is great for tourists who crave a hearty meal after a long day of exploring Tokyo.
You’ll also enjoy being in charge of your own hot pot by putting in your preferred amount of meats and vegetables, as well as the sauces and garnish.
Zakuro Nihonbashi is known for its excellent service and even more excellent food choices, making it an ideal spot for visitors to enjoy a night of fine dining.
The intimate dining rooms in Zakuro were designed with wooden walls, adding to the restaurant’s timeless charm.
This restaurant is not only known for its hot pots, but for the savory Wagyu and grilled skewers as well.
To top off your Kagayaki experience, enjoy drinks from their well stacked bar, or order one of their bottomless beverages.
A thick, deep-fried pork cutlet that comes with a serving of Tonkatsu sauce. Due to the heaviness and richness of the dish, it’s often served with shredded cabbage on the side.
Recently added as an entry to the Michelin Guide this 2018, Tonkatsu Hasegawa uses premium Hiraboku Sangenton pork from Yamagata.
The panko breadcrumbs are specially made in-house. Tonkatsu Hasegawa cooks their pork to a golden crispy crust without turning the Tonkatsu greasy.
Being family-managed, Enraku has always stuck to its traditional recipes and has hardly made any changes since opening in 1950.
Making this place a part of Tokyo’s cultural history, the Ma family specializes in cooking, offering their juicy Tonkatsu to tourists and locals for three generations now.
Karaage–or Japanese fried chicken–is a crowd favorite in Tokyo. Fried to a golden perfection, it’s super crunchy on the outside and irresistibly juicy in the inside.
Situated in the basement of JP Tower KITTE, Tokyo Karaage Ball’s main attraction is their deep-fried chicken and whisky highballs. The menu is in Japanese, so your best bet in choosing your order is by looking at the photos.
Karaage Yukari offers a deep-fried crunchy chicken you won’t want to miss out on. They’re a pop-up store, so there aren’t any available seats. However, you can do take-out and enjoy your order on-the-go.
Some items on the menu sell out quickly, so you should try to get there before or during lunchtime to try their other bestsellers.
A universally beloved soup and a staple in every Japanese meal. Miso Soup is a great option for anyone looking for something hot and tasty but not overly filling.
It’s a traditional Japanese soup that consists of a broth called “dashi” into which softened miso paste is mixed. You can find this in almost every restaurant around the country.
If you’re looking for a restaurant that specializes in flavorful burnt miso ramen, Gogyo is one place you shouldn’t skip. The broth is filled with umami goodness. It won’t be easy to find the restaurant, but it’s truly worth the hunt.
Yakitori is the Japanese version of the Philippines’ “ihawan.” Japanese street vendors prepare it by skewering the meat with kushi, a type of skewer made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials.
Afterwards, the Yakitori is placed on the grill. Once it’s grilled to perfection, it may either be garnished with salt or sprinkled with tare sauce.
Chef Tokoshima serves 20 different items of grilled chicken on the menu and only uses basic seasoning such as salt, black pepper, and tare sauce.
Rather than overpowering the dish, he wants the guests to taste the natural juices of the chicken. The Yakitori here is as authentic as it can get.
Torisawa finds no interest in fancy furniture or luxurious interiors, what matters most to them is their charcoal grill. Each skewer, albeit small, is grilled to perfection.
Their bestseller is the chicken tenderloin, which is grilled just right but remains juicy and pink in the center and served with a side of wasabi. You can pair this dish with their Omakase (chef’s selection).
Ramen, Japan’s iconic noodle soup dish, doesn’t only enjoy massive popularity in its home country but all around the world.
This dish is made with Chinese-style wheat noodles with a meat or seafood broth, flavored with soy sauce or miso, and topped with meat or seafood, dried seaweed, menma (Japanese condiment made from fermented bamboo shoots), and green onions.
Tsuta, the world’s first Michelin Star ramen restaurant, only cooks up to 70 meals a day so the demand for this small restaurant is quite high. The best thing to do is grab a ticket in the morning and head back on the given time written on your queue paper.
The choices for ramen are: hot or cold buckwheat noodles (Soba or Tsukesoba) and served in a salt (Shio) or soy sauce (Shoyu) soup.
Try their bestsellers such as the Sio Soba, Tsukemen, and Rice Bowls.
Perfect for ramen experts. Konjiki Hototogisu is a small restaurant that’s been specializing in ramen since 2006.
There are only eight seats, which occupy comfy, L-shaped dinner tables overlooking a small kitchen.
You can watch their chefs prepare the bowls of ramen for diners. Try their Shoyu Ramen with Ajitama soft-boiled egg and pair it with a nice cold beer.
A beloved dessert among locals and tourists, mochi is a Japanese rice cake that’s made of mochigome (glutinous rice).
This popular treat comes in different colors, forms, shapes, flavors, and sizes, but what makes them stand out is their soft and chewy texture, made even more special by the filling. Careful or you can get addicted.
Sentaro produces only high quality and deliciously traditional Japanese mochi. Their dishes are popular for using only natural ingredients–no preservatives and artificial colors–and adding only a meager amount of sugar.
Their bestselling mochi is the seasonal Uguisu Mochi, a mochi cake made with green soybean powder. Sentaro took the name from a Japanese bird that usually comes out during the springtime.
Located in Ueno, Gekkou is a hidden gem for mochi lovers who don’t mind a little “hunting” to get to the shop. The place focuses on Japanese tea and freshly made mochi.
Guests get to experience homemade mochi in Japanese home-cooking style. Don’t forget to try the popular dishes on their menu, such as Kinako-mochi, Goma-mochi, and radish mochi. Besides mochi, they also offer ice cream.
Onigiri is a rice ball that is often made as a quick snack or an on-the-go meal. It can be found anywhere in Tokyo, from convenience stores to supermarkets to alley ways.
This tasty food is made with steamed rice shaped into a triangle, ball, or cylinder and is normally wrapped with nori (dried seaweed).
Bongo offers Onigiri for take-out or dine-in at their shop in Toshima-ku. The chefs make it right in front of visitors using warm Japanese sticky rice. The Onigiri is then wrapped in a scrumptious crunchy nori.
This restaurant is known to add more fillings than other Onigiri shops.
Onigiri Asakusa is the oldest Onigiri shop in Tokyo. They opened their doors in 1954 and haven’t changed their style since.
The staff makes sure to choose only top-grade rice from different regions within Japan. The ingredient that makes the diners come back for more is the Edo-mae seaweed.
Although they offer delectable Onigiris, they also specialize in Japanese teas, so make sure to pair your Onigiri with a nice hot cup of tea.
Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made with a hodgepodge of vegetables, meats, or seafoods. Although its roots may be traced from Kansai, different varieties of this dish exist per region.
Konamon Setagaya’s exterior gives off a very distinct look, making them stand out from other Okonomiyaki restaurants.
As you step through their classic Japanese entrance, you’ll be greeted by a spacious dining area, which can sit about 200 diners. So even though the restaurant may get crowded on busy days, you can still be accommodated to enjoy their mouthwatering Okonomiyaki comfortably.
Okonomiyaki Kiji Shinagawa serves authentic Osaka Kiji flavors right to your plate. Aside from their appetizing Okonomiyakis, they also serve generous portions of beef cuts called Suji Yaki, which is also a bestseller on their menu.
Can’t wait to try out these treats for yourself? Don’t forget to book your Tokyo flight with Traveloka!
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