The Hottest Ramen Shop In Tokyo 2020
"Ginza Hachigo" is the hottest ramen restaurant in Tokyo at the moment.
After being awarded a Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2020, its popularity soared further and long queues can be seen throughout the day outside this restaurant which has a constant stream of customers.
Its owner is a French chef who had served as the head chef at ANA Crowne Plaza Hotel Kyoto and whose distinguished career includes being awarded the title of a "contemporary master craftsman" by the Japanese government.
After six months of trial and error, this famous chef created a bowl of novel ramen that is "seasoned without the use of a sauce base."
This refreshing restaurant which has garnered a sizable overseas fanbase and impressed even ramen connoisseurs who had eaten at many famous restaurants is definitely worth a visit.
The nearest station is Higashi-Ginza Station on the Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line.
It is located a short distance from the lively main street of Ginza in a neighborhood called "Kobiki-cho" because of the many "kobiki" (artisans who make squared timber from raw timber) who had lived here and were responsible for the major renovation works of Edo Castle.
The restaurant name "Hachigo (eight five)" was derived from its floor area of 8.5 "tsubo."
Inside the restaurant is a counter with only six seats, a layout that is reminiscent of the interior of a high-end sushi restaurant or a Japanese "kappo" restaurant.
In front of the seats, the restaurant staff is dressed in pure white "kappogi" cooking wear unlike regular ramen restaurant staff and they stare at the pot with serious expressions.
Opening hours here are relatively long from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the day and 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM at night.
Be prepared to queue for over an hour as this restaurant has limited seating and is extremely popular.
It appears that customers start to queue around an hour before it opens for business regardless of the day of the week.
The waiting time between entering the restaurant and having your order served is only around 5 minutes. The queue moves relatively quickly at this restaurant.
Once you are seated, you will be served water in an expensive "usuhari" thin-walled glass.
You can also request to be served hojicha (roasted green tea) instead of water if you prefer.
Although the opportunities for communication between the staff and customers are limited, you will enjoy excellent hospitality standards in a welcoming atmosphere in the restaurant.
"Special Chuka-soba (1050 yen)"
A plain white bowl imprinted with the restaurant name in an understated manner is filled with beautifully clear soup, giving rise to the archetypal "Tanrei (clean and beautiful)" style of ramen.
In most restaurants, it is common practice for the final flavor of the broth to be determined by mixing the ramen "soup" brewed using ingredients such as pork and chicken with a "sauce base" that combines the flavors of the ingredients with seasonings such as soy sauce and salt. However, the owner of this restaurant points out that "if the ramen soup is really delicious, it can determine the flavor by itself without any sauce base." The result is this amazing, "common sense-defying" soup that was created after more than six months of trial and error.
Salt is added to a dashi stock extracted from duck, chicken (Nagoya Cochin chicken), dried tomatoes, and shellfish, which is simmered for two days before prosciutto ham is added to adjust the final saltiness of the broth.
Your first sip of the soup will cue you to its light and elegant flavor profile.
As you work your way through the soup, you will gradually be hit by a complex but delicate aroma.
Although this "dashi-only ramen" does not use any sauce base, it is remarkable that there is certainly no sense of being let down by its flavor.
Sprinkling some pepper caviar from Madagascar over the chashu slices will further lift the flavors and give more depth to the taste of the soup.
The noodles here are made by the well-established noodle factory "Asakusa Kaikaro."
The thin and supple straight noodles have a subtle yellow hue and they can be added to the soup without overpowering its original flavors. You can enjoy the smooth and well-balanced texture of the noodles.
Other ingredients such as the thickly sliced chashu, soft and crunchy bamboo shoots, and Kujo leeks are extremely simple but have been prepared with utmost care.
With all this effort going into each bowl of ramen, you can fully indulge in the delightful experience of enjoying this ramen that has been topped with generous servings of ingredients!
The taste of the ramen, customer service, as well as the restaurant's atmosphere are all very different from other ramen restaurants.
Despite its long queue, it is definitely worth giving this ramen restaurant a try.
As there are usually around 30 customers in the queue, be prepared to wait around an hour when you visit. (Although it is a different matter to revisit it in the cold of the winter...)
Address：3-14-2 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Nearest Station:5 minutes on foot from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line's "HIgasi-Ginza Station"
Closed：Wednesday, the 2nd and 4th Thursdays
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Unfortunately the company the owns the restaurant went bankrupt so it's closed for now :(
Leo Saitochief editor, TokyoTableTrip
Hachigo was awarded one star in Michelin 2022, announced today.
I tried going to the restaurant in August, after watching an episode of Nhk's Japangle, featuring the chef Yasushi Matsumura 松村康史. I foolishly arrived after 7pm, well before they were supposed to close at 9. All the chairs were stacked up, and no customers, just staff inside, with all the lights dimmed out. I thought, did I mistakenly go on a day they're closed? After asking, I discovered they were indeed open, but done for the day, as all the soup ran out. I was recommended to come another day, before 5, no later than 630. I think I'll try to go again this time.
Here's the video below. His section starts at 16 minutes 15 seconds. Interestingly, the ramen he made for the show, is not at all what he serves at the restaurant.
Leo Saitochief editor, TokyoTableTrip
A new, innovative restaurant that upends commonly-held truths of the ramen world has opened in Ginza!
The taste exceeds all expectations.