Tokyo Table Trip

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Welcome to the tempura edition of our popular series, "Rising Star Restaurants"!
This time, we'll be introducing 9 restaurants carving their own path separate from the standard Edo-mae tempura, instead choosing to explore new options unthinkable in traditional tempura recipes!

1. Naruse

This restaurant forges its own unique style of tempura, deviating from standard Edo-mae style by using ingredients such as vegetables harvested at the foot of Mt. Fuji and seafood from Suruga Bay.
The owner of Naruse happily told us, "My tempura begins with the ingredients. I get my fish from a fishmonger in Yaizu and my vegetables every morning from farmers in Haibara. I've created tempura that you can only get here thanks to my collaboration with them."
The omakase course here changes by the day, but it begins with thick cuts of locally-fished beltfish and ten or so pieces made with seasonal fish and vegetables.
The climax of our visit was a thick piece of aji (horse mackerel) tempura, made with a fish that was raised eating plenty of sakura shrimp in Suruga Bay.
As you bite into the medium-cooked piece, wrapped in delightful tempura coating, the moist fish explodes into deliciously clean umami flavors, and the mellow aroma from the meat fills your nose.
Naruse created its own "Suruga-style" tempura thanks to how closely the restaurant and its ingredients are intertwined.
Many gourmands and foodies from across Japan are eagerly heading to Shizuoka to enjoy this take on tempura that uses fresh ingredients from the mountains and sea, said to truly make you feel alive.

◆Tempura Naruse
Address: 2-5-12 Takajo, Aoi-ku, Shizuoka-shi, Shizuoka Prefecture
Phone: 054-273-0703
Hours:
[Lunch] 12:00-14:00
[Dinner] 17:00-19:00 / 19:30-22:00 ※Dinner services are split into two parts
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Mondays
Credit cards accepted (JCB, AMEX)

2. Niitome

Niitome has garnered significant attention as the holder of the #1 spot on Tabelog's tempura restaurant ratings.
Now customers are flocking in from across Japan to try the exquisite tempura served here at "Niitome."
The tempura here is unique in that its batter is made with flour that has been chilled to around -10°C, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture almost reminiscent of a light snowfall.
The ingredients used are, of course, the highest-quality fish caught in local waters, including ayu (sweetfish), awabi (abalone), fugu (pufferfish), and tai (sea bream).
Chef Takaaki Sugita of iconic Tokyo sushi restaurant "Nihonbashi Kakigaracho Sugita" and Chef Yasuji Kimura of "Kimura" are said to visit Niitome frequently looking for an exciting meal. If you're looking for the hottest tempura in Japan right now, this is the place!

◆Niitome
Address: 2F 2-19-11 Izumi, Higashi-ku, Nagoya-shi, Aichi Prefecture
Phone: 052-936-2077
Hours: 18:00 onward
Budget: 30,000 yen and up
Closed: Irregular holidays
Credit cards accepted (VISA, MASTER, JCB, AMEX, Diners)

3. Nihonbashi Sonoji

This is the only tempura restaurant in Tokyo where you can enjoy "Shizuoka tempura," a style that broke out thanks to "Naruse."
Much like "Naruse," Sonoji throws itself free of traditional ingredients and uses blue-backed fish and sliced fish in its tempura, considered taboos in traditional Edo-mae tempura restaurants, and even sometimes utilizes venison!
We'd like to give a special mention to their vegetable tempura, made with vegetables from Shizuoka, as it has a distinctly powerful flavor.
There's probably no other tempura restaurant where you can enjoy the pure flavors of vegetables like carrots, onions, lotus root, and sweet potato this much.
As the owner's family runs a soba restaurant, Sonoji is also unique in that the final dish served is not kakiage, but rather house-made soba noodles.
Finish up the lovely course with a refreshing serving of satisfying soba!

◆Nihonbashi Sonoji
Address: 2-22-11 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-5643-1566
Hours:
[Lunch] 11:40-14:00
[Dinner] 18:00-21:00
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Mondays, second and third Sundays of the month
Credit cards accepted (VISA, MASTER, JCB)

4. Nakagawa

This famous restaurant is tucked away near Tsukiji Station, and it's definitely a restaurant that's known to those in the know.
The owner here is an experienced tempura chef, who trained for over 17 years at world-famous restaurant "Mikawa Zezankyo."
The techniques that the owner uses to cook, honed for the 10 years he has run his own establishment, are said to be so high-level that they are even superior to that at "Mikawa Zezankyo," according to some gourmands.
Here you can enjoy both airy dishes and fragrant and crispy dishes while listening to tales of adventures.
The dishes put out by the chef here using first-class ingredients are truly splendid, including preparations of seasonal ingredients like mountain vegetables in the spring, anago in the summer, matsutake mushrooms in the fall, and tiger puffer in the winter.
Nakagawa is somewhere that you'll want to visit intermittently to take full advantage of its delicious seasonal tempura.

◆Nakagawa
Address: 2-14-2 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-3546-7335
Hours:
[Lunch] 11:30-13:30
[Dinner] 17:00-22:00
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Mondays
Credit cards not accepted

5. Tempura Maehira

This new restaurant was opened in 2017 by a chef who has experience working at "Yamanoue," a restaurant lauded as the best tempura restaurant in Tokyo.
While the chef here follows traditional Edo-mae tempura techniques, recently he has begun to offer several trendy tempura options as well, gathering much attention from tempura fans.
Among all of the pieces served in the exquisite omakase course, the "anago tendon" stands out above the rest.
If you break up the burdock and ginger kakiage and mix it in with the rice, you'll get to experience delicious harmony between the crispy and soft textures and contrasting flavors!

◆Tempura Maehira
Address: 4F 2-8-16 Azabu-Juban, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-6435-1996
Hours: 17:00-22:00
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Closed: Sundays
Credit cards accepted

6. Edomae Shinsaku

This noteworthy new restaurant was opened by a chef who has no experience working at tempura restaurants.
The owner found himself enamored with "Mikawa Zezankyo," which he frequented as a customer, and he practiced tempura-making by watching the movements of legendary tempura chef Tetsuya Saotome and cooking at home. As a result of his hard work, he finally was able to realize his dreams and hopen his own tempura restaurant.
The "Mikawa-style" anago is split into pieces with chopsticks before the customers' eyes, and the combination of the exquisitely tender meat with the crisp batter is indescribably delicious.
The pairing of the tempura with the aged sake here, said to be the owner's favorite, is also splendid.
Courses here are finished off with refreshing maguro (tuna) ochazuke, a lovely fresh final note.
This is because the "once-newbie" owner has great sense, believing that "some people may think that ending the meal with kakiage is a bit heavy after eating so much tempura."

◆Edomae Shinsaku
Address: 4-2-4 Hongo, Bukyo-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 050-5593-6140
Hours: 18:00-21:30
Budget: 10,000-14,999 yen
Closed: Sundays
Credit cards not accepted

7. Tempura Shimomura

This hot tempura restaurant is located in Tokyo's shitamachi and is owned by a chef who trained at the famous restaurant "Yamanoue."
The lunch courses available are priced at 4500 and 6000 yen, surprisingly affordable for a restaurant with ties to the "Yamanoue" group.
While none of the ingredients used in the tempura here stand out in particular, the delicious harmony between the vibrant and delicate fish and vegetables and the high-quality airy batter is truly something special.
How will the tempura served by this chef with over 20 years of experience evolve from its current style very reminiscent of that at "Yamanoue"? This is absolutely an excellent restaurant to keep your eye on as it continues to grow.

◆Tempura Shimomura
Address: 1-11-13 Misuji, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-5809-2866
Hours:
[Lunch] 12:00-14:00
[Dinner] 17:00-21:00
Budget: 20,000-29,999 yen
Closed: Sundays
Credit cards accepted (VISA, MASTER)

8. Fukuan

This reasonably-priced tempura restaurant was opened by a chef who worked under Tetsuya Saotome, the so-called god of tempura who runs "Mikawa Zezankyo," for 7 years.
While Fukuan caters to the everyday customer and is decidedly "izakaya-esque," the food you get here absolutely is influenced by "Mikawa."
Tiger shrimp, kisu (sillago), bigfin reef squid, mantis shrimp, anago... The Edo-mae ingredients used here are certainly not of the absolute highest quality, but the chef of Fukuan is able to turn them into first-class dishes with his incredible talents.
The dinnertime omakase course is surprisingly cheap at just 3500 yen.
If you're looking for authentic Edo-mae tempura in Tokyo for 5000 yen or less, "Fukuan" is a great option for you.

◆Fukuan
Address: 2F 1-22-26 Tomioka, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Phone: 03-5646-6365
Hours:
[Lunch] 11:45-13:30
[Dinner] 18:30-22:00
Budget: 4,000-4,999 yen
Closed: Sundays
Credit cards accepted (VISA, MASTER, JCB, AMEX, Diners)

9. Tempura Ono

This unique tempura restaurant is owned by someone who has also served as the producer of the Cabinet Office's Cool Japan policies.
Tempura Ono seeks to create a marriage between tempura and wine and champagne, going so far as retaining a French staff-member from Champagne.
A scallop cooked to rare and topped with truffle is paired with champagne, when you order the tempura and wine pairings.
Finely sliced ginger provides an accent flavor for flaked tuna, which is paired with white wine.
The owner of Tempura Ono has switched careers from being a businessman to being a tempura chef, but his sense for flavors is top-notch.
Can tempura and wine be paired together well? If you'd like to find out the answer for yourself, stop by this decidedly unique tempura restaurant.

◆Tempura Ono
Address: 3F 2-15-5 Hatchobori, Chuo-ku, tokyo
Phone: 03-3552-4600
Hours: 17:30-21:00
Budget: 15,000-19,999 yen
Closed: Saturdays, Sundays
Credit cards accepted (VISA, MASTER, AMEX)

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Comments Icon comments 20b52f1dd59ace07b92433da2a385e6f7392eb2937032eebc2a0bd0b67c69516 13


guest

Hello Saito-san, and everyone. I was having a look at Tempura Nakagawa to make a reservation there for my trip to Tokyo in March. But before that I would like to know your thoughts on this restaurant, how good is it in comparison to Mikawa Zezankyo, Sonoji, and Fukamachi. It seems like quite an unknown restaurant and Tabelog scores also quite low compared to the other three. Would you recommend me to visit to Nakagawa? If yes, would be great if someone can tell me the best way to make reservation (could it be done just through hotel concierge?). Thank you.

about 1 month ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Could you tell me the tempura restaurants you have been to so far, and which of those you liked?
Nakagawa is a restaurant known for its relatively conservative and traditional tempura that follows the style of Mikawa.

about 1 month ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

Thank you Saito san. I have actually been to only Fukamachi and I found it to be quite enjoyable although I expected a little better. So for my next trip I am considering between Nakagawa, Mikawa Zezankyo, and Sonoji (although I know this one maybe too late to book). So would be great to know how you and everyone compare Nakagawa to these other three tempura restaurants.

about 1 month ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

If you are thinking of March, you almost certainly won't be able to get reservations anymore at Sonoji.
If you still haven't tried Zezankyo, I think you should visit the legitimate Zezankyo before trying Nakagawa.

about 1 month ago

FLM

Hello. I made a reservation on Edomae Shinsaku and Kusunoki, and planning to make a reservation for two more tempura-yas for a four days long trip to Tokyo. I'm currently considering either Sonoji or Fukamachi, and maybe Zezankyo but I don't want to dine at restaurants with a similar style. Is there any recommendations? Thank you.

4 months ago

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guest

@FLM What is your method of reserving Sonoji? They're booked solid.

4 months ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Edomae Shinsaku is very close in style to Zezankyo. Of the three restaurants, "Sonoji" is different from all other tempura restaurants in Tokyo providing guests with very unique tempura, so I recommend "Sonoji" if you can secure a reservation.

4 months ago
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FLM

Thank you saito san.

4 months ago

guest

Kusunoki not on the list? Seriously??

4 months ago

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guest

Wow, what a rude comment.

4 months ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

Well kusunoki was already very well-known in nagoya before it came to tokyo. And its price is just crazily expensive to be worth recommending.

4 months ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

Wow. How about many of us thinks the place is overhyped and full of BS?

4 months ago
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guest

Have you been?

4 months ago
Blackglasses1

Menchikatsu

Someone on a another chat forum mentioned that Kusunoki is easily the best in Tokyo at the moment. Things change a lot in a years' time. Sonoji looks like a really nice little place, and I would like to try it, if it wasn't fully booked over half a year in advance.

Would be great if you guys would create login names. It's hard to figure out who's who, when everyone is named 'guest'.

4 months ago

guest

Hello Saito-san and everyone, would anyone happen to know if Niitome and Naruse still have the same reservation policies (Naruse 2 months before and Niitome 1 month before)? Or has it been changed recently? Also what are the best ways to make reservation at these two places? Do they accept hotel concierge booking? Thank you!

5 months ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

As far as I know, Naruse doesn't accept booking request from hotel concierge.

5 months ago
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guest

Thank you Saito San. What about Niitome? And how would you suggest are best way to reserve both of these restaurants? How long in advance? Thank you

5 months ago
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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Niitome accepts reservations on omakase on the first of every month from 1pm to the last day of the following month.
Naruse is apparently accepting reservations on pocket concierge for the following month on the first of every month as well, but as far as I can tell, it's pretty much impossible to get a reservation (checking the site once per day always shows no openings).

5 months ago
Kanivour

kanivour

https://www.instagram.com/kanivour/

I am not sure about Naruse because I managed to get through their number but was told that I have to go through a hotel concierge.

Niitome seats are not easy to get via omakase but worth a try. Tableall is easier but the markup is higher.

5 months ago
User default d6f8776075bbcbf91b3886fd7b0aeb86c94956e290bd9b9223466618a8cd47a2

guest

Thank you very much Saito san and Kanivour.

5 months ago

guest

Hello Saito San. Any thoughts on Uchitsu? Thank you.

8 months ago

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Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

My impression is that it is a restaurant that produces thickly battered old-school tempura.
It is a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal while looking at a lovely Japanese garden, so it might be good for overseas visitors.

8 months ago

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