The Best Tokyo Restaurants: Sake, Japanese Beers And Traditional Japanese Food
What Can I Eat At An Izakaya?
- Yakitori – grilled chicken skewers.
- Sashimi – slices of raw fish.
- Edamame – boiled and salted soybean pods.
- Agedashi tofu – deep fried tofu in soup.
Unlike a Bar or a pub, the Izakaya has a large variety of Traditional Japanese foods, typical dishes that go well with drinks.
These traditional foods are served in small portions, like a Tapas Bar, so you can try out many things.
Tokyo nights are a time to drink, and the Japanese take drinking very seriously-
- Japanese Beers
- Shochu which is distilled from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice and contains 25% alcohol.
Japanese office workers unwind at an Izakaya after putting in a good 16 hours of work at the office. The atmosphere is cheerful and loud.
Night life in Tokyo is a time to meet a different side of the usually reserved nature of the Japanese people.
See More: Tokyo Nightlife: Best Areas For Nightlife In Tokyo
Top Izakaya in Tokyo
The name ‘Izakaya’ comes from the Japanese words ‘I’ (to sit) and ‘sakaya’ (Sake shop).
In other words – these Tokyo Restaurants originated from Sake shops which allowed customers to sit and drink.
- You can start exploring Tokyo at Night by joining the after-work crowd in the many Izakaya’s in the city. Start your Tokyo nights at one of the bars at Marunouchi- Tokyo’s financial district. The skyscrapers in the area are packed with office workers, and the ambiance is lively.
The Shin-Marunouchi and Marunouchi Building are a sure bet, with 35 floors above ground and four below. They are packed with financial professionals winding down with a drink before dinner, and lovely Japanese girls shopping in the boutiques.
- Teyandei, Nishi Azabu –
This Tokyo Restaurant is a tiny neighborhood Izakaya that serves terrific food. Hidden on a quiet back street (a few minutes north of Roppongi St.) it has a traditional, polished wood décor.
If you sit at the central counter you’ll get a view of the creative chefs at work.
There are also a few tables and a Tatami room. Hori-kotatsu are leg wells, which allow even nonflexible guests to sit on the Tatami mat flooring and enjoy this unique Japanese experience.
Tel:+81 3 3407-8127
- Buri, Ebisu –
Buri is an always-busy standing bar that specializes in regional sake from small brewers around the country.
They have plenty of choices available, and the friendly staff helps you navigate through the endless variety.
The food menu is good, offering plenty of little bites to go with the drinks.
Address:1-14-1 Ebisu-Nishi Tokyo
Tel: +81 3 3496-7744
- Chez Aburiya, Aoyama –
The pace here is relaxed, and most cooking is done over a simple charcoal hibachi at your table.
The sake and Shochu are from selected breweries throughout Japan.
The interior is elegant wood-and-stone, with Tatami mat rooms on the second floor and large counters and small tables on the first and third floors.
Besides the sake and shochu menus, you can choose wines from around the world.
Address: 3-12-4 Minami-Aoyama
Tel: +81 3-5770-5039
- Bistro 35 Steps –
This friendly Shibuya spot is one of the busiest Tokyo Restaurants, always crowded and happy. It’s not far from Shibuya Station.
Choose a seat at the large open kitchen counter and watch the staff preparing your food. The food in this Tokyo Restaurant is fantastic and reasonably priced.
Address: B1 Shibuya City Hotel, 1-1 Shibuya, Tokyo
- Akira Yakitori Grill in Nakameguro –
Remember when booking for this lovely Tokyo restaurant, to ask for the tables overlooking the Nakameguro river, on the raised Tatami area by the windows.
Nakameguro river is famous for its Cherry Blossom Trees during spring in Tokyo.
Akira’s cozy décor consists of wood walls, dimmed lighting and Tatami mats.
This Tokyo Restaurant has a good selection of sake to go with the typical Izakaya dishes.
Address: 1-10-23 Naka-Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo (Near Naka-meguro Station)
- En –
The En is a chain of Tokyo Restaurants that has beautiful traditional Japanese décor.
This Tokyo Restaurant offers good food, a wide variety of reasonably priced drinks and a relaxed atmosphere.
The tables have ‘leg wells’ which allow even the non flexible guests to enjoy sitting on the Tatami mat.
The Sake in this Tokyo Restaurant comes from different Japanese prefectures.
Address: Higashi-Shimbashi 1-5-2, Shiodome City Center 42F, Tokyo
- Mifune Toshiro –
The Mifune Toshiro izakaya is located across the road from Roppongi Hills complex.
This Tokyo Restaurant was built in honor of the late Japanese actor of the same name.
Toshiro, Mifune (1920-1997), participated in famous samurai movies directed by the legendary director Akira Kurosawa, including ‘The Seven Samurai’ and ‘Rashomon’.
The menu includes traditional Japanese food. The interior is traditional old Japan with a hint of samurai culture.
Address:2-20-1 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Gonpachi –
A cozy restaurant which inspired the big sword fight scene from ‘Kill Bill 2′ where Uma Thurman fights by herself a gang of Japanese warriors.
It is also the Tokyo Restaurant where former US president Clinton visited with Prime Minister Koizumi.
There are various locations across Tokyo, but the Nishi-Azabu one is the most impressive.
Lively atmosphere and traditional Japanese interior. Izakaya style food and drinks – Udon, Soba, Kushi-yaki. 3rd floor serves sushi.
Ask for a table on the first floor, or better even – at the bar. The staff speaks English.
Address: 1-13-11 Nishi-Azabu Minato-Ku