With 226 Michelin star restaurants alone, many say that Tokyo is the most delicious city in the world. Certainly it is any food lover’s dream travel destination. Tokyo is huge – 37 times larger than Manhattan. The good and bad news is that there are thousands of delicious places to eat, from award winning omakase experiences, to hole in the wall izakayas, interactive yakinikus and stellar international food. But only so many meals in a day! Luckily, walking around such a large city builds up an appetite. Try a variety of restaurants and you won’t be sorry (or hungry).
Where to Stay
Not only does the 52nd floor Rooftop Bar have some of the best views of Tokyo all the way to the Rainbow Bridge, but the food and cocktails are delicious (try the chicken karage and smoky gin rose hip Cosmo). Save room for an omakase meal at the hidden 8-seater the SUSHI paired with the Andaz own brand of sake: Andaz Original “52”. The chef takes your through the seasonal menu, explaining techniques and sharing stories. Lightly torched salmon nigiri topped with freshly grated wasabi and tofu paired with uni were just two stand-outs. The Andaz is also perfectly located near the vibrant Roppongi and high-end Ginza neighborhoods with sleek guest rooms that reflect Japanese simplicity in design.
A little refuge in the middle of lively Tokyo. This luxury boutique hotel inside the New Otani hotel is a treat from the moment you arrive. From the sweet ginger tea at check-in to your choice of sized Egyptian cotton pajamas or yukata (a casual kimono) and New Otani branded chocolates with turndown service, you’ll feel taken care of. Right on the property is a 10-acre zen garden complete with a waterfall and koi pond, and red rose garden. Breakfast at a selection of restaurants or room service is included in your stay. Their VIP lounge also has complimentary food six times a day in addition to 37 restaurants on-site so you’ll never go hungry. You also have access to the New Otani Golden Spa and gym and they provide everything for you so you don’t even have to bring your sneakers!
Originally built in 1962, The Okura Tokyo recently completed a four-year renovation, restoring much of the admired mid-century modern meets Japanese simplicity décor. Many world leaders and famous faces have stayed at the New Okura, from Barak Obama to John Lennon to Princess Diana. Don’t miss getting a drink, panoramic views, and the Patissier’s Table – a dessert tasting menu – on the 41st floor Starlight Lounge.
Where to Eat
This family-run edomae style omakase restaurant does not skimp on ingredients or preparation. Even the sesame seeds sprinkled over grilled squid taste more decadent and nuttier than any sesame seeds you’ve had before. Each of the 25 or so courses is perfectly brushed with sauce or zest, grilled, or touched with freshly grated wasabi before being served to you à la minute. Monkfish liver in a savory broth, cod testicles (for real) or eel prepared two wasy are just a few of the memorable bites. Even the fresh orange finale will have you wishing that all oranges were this good.
If you are in the market for the best in Japanese beef, look no further than Ushigoro in Ginza. A yakinuku for A5 wagyu beef prepared right at your table. The private tables are intimate making this the perfect spot for a romantic meal or a fun group dinner. Try the tasting menu for a variety from tartare to the most-tender meat topped with truffles, egg yolks or wasabi.
The famous tuna auction is no longer a part of Tsukiji Market, but the market is still a draw. With dozens of food stalls, restaurants and shops, and an unmistakable energy. The market gets crowded, so arrive early to beat the crowds. Or don’t and enjoy the hustle and bustle.
Not a typo. 7-Elevens are everywhere in Japan, but convenience is only one draw. The food is surprisingly delicious and their Japanese egg salad sandwich, with creamy egg salad betwixt pillowy crustless milk bread is worth seeking out.
Where to Shop
This neighborhood, if you couldn’t tell by the giant chef statue, is the place to shop for all the kitchen things. From chef knives and pottery to personalized chopsticks and, of course, plastic restaurant display food, Kappabashi is a must for food souvenirs. If you’re in the market for a chef knife, stop by Kamata, a nearly 100-year old family run store with a helpful staff and large variety of knives.
Instagramers rejoice! This trendy neighborhood is your rainbow food paradise, so grab your Instagram boyfriend and make sure your camera is charged. Stop by Kawaii Monster Café for surprisingly delicious rainbow spaghetti and a show. Make a reservation, as the restaurant is as popular as it is colorful. Save room for dessert at Totti Factory on Takeshita Street for the original rainbow cotton candy, and finish the best day ever with visit to a pig café and a rainbow grilled cheese.
A basement level grocery section in a department store would not seem like a can’t-miss attraction, but the Ginza Food Market puts all others to shame. The presentation is immaculate and gift selection unparalleled. If they are offering samples, don’t be shy. A cherry tomato tasted sweeter than candy. Stop by a kiosk and purchase an exquisitely wrapped pastry or treat yourself to a perfect $200 melon.