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Guru-navi: Japan Restaurant Reviews!
何食べようっか?
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1st-Mar-2007 03:19 pm(no subject)
me
Again, sorry for the x-posting, but one more (ok 2 more) quick Japan questions. Again, we're going to be in Tokyo for a few days, staying in Yokohama.

-We are thinking of doing a city tour or some day trips. Has to be in English as neither of us knows any Japanese. Any recommendations on specific travel companies/tour operators? What was your experience? Pros/cons-things you wanted to see but didn't, or places you went but didn't want to?

-Also if you have any suggestions on guidebooks-pros and cons-greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!!!
26th-Feb-2007 12:29 pm - Japan
me
Hello, all. Apologies in advance as this is x-posted to several communities. My boyfriend and I will be spending a few days in Tokyo, Japan. Flight and hotel are done. We've never been and really know nothing about the area. We're going to get a guidebook and do some web research, but if anyone has any suggestions, tips or places to check out in or near Tokyo I would greatly appreciate it!!
15th-Jun-2006 10:25 pm - Tokyo, Shin-Okubo: Korean: Matsuya
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Matsuya
Tokyo, Shin-Okubo

Type: Restaurant
Genre: Korean
Cost: Kinda on the pricy side. I don't remember specifics, but each dish you order is probably going to cost you between 1000-3000 yen.
Ratings:
Food:★★★★★
Atmosphere:★★★☆☆
Service:★★☆☆☆
English OK:★☆☆☆☆

Description:
I'm not entirely sure why there's a Korean restaurant with this name, but it's certianly different from your friendly neighborhood gyudon restaurant. Matsuya is nestled into one of the backalleys of Shin-Okubo, but it's really freaking popular. Apparently reservations for dinner should be made a few weeks in advanced, or the place fills up.

The restuarant itself is kind of cool; it used to be a house, and the dining room is still tatami. There's a covered patio in the front that you walk through to get to the enterance. It's possible to eat on the patio, of course, and as you walk past you have the chance to oogle all the delicious items you'll soon be consuming. The interior isn't anything spectacular, just kind of like a regular neighborhood kind of place.

The service was ok... they're really busy, granted, but I found the servers to be kind of negligent. Orders took a bit of time, even for simple things like drinks, and no matter how many "sumimasen!!"s we'd yell out, they would take their time to get over to our table. Perhaps we got annoying after a while. 笑

But the food, ooooooooh the food. This isn't Japanese-style Korean food, this is the real thing. There were soooooooo many things to choose from that I couldn't possibly begin to list them. One of the people I went with was something of a regular, so we left the ordering up to her. Everything was absolutely fantastic!!! Matsuya even gives you free kimuchi and sanchu, something of a rarity in Japan. If you're into trying Korean liquor, they have a wide variety of that also.

I'm going to guess this place isn't English OK at all. The menu was in Korean and Japanese, no English or other foreigners in sight.

Matsuya is sort of on the expensive side, but if you hunger for authentic Korean food, I really recommend it. Go with a really big group of people in order to try a large variety of foods, though!!
15th-Jun-2006 11:17 am - Tokyo, Daikanyama: Cafe: Cafe 58
アジカン
Cafe 58
Tokyo, Daikanyama

Type: cafe
Genre: Cafe
Cost: Salads and sides start at around 200 yen, Lunch starts at about 650 yen
Ratings:
Food:★★★★☆
Atmosphere:★★★★☆
Service:★★★☆☆
English OK:★☆☆☆☆

Description:

This place is really close to Daikanyama station, but is pretty difficult to find. It's in the basement of the same building as Cheesecake cafe. The logo is pretty stylized, so we had a difficult time finding it just based on the name "58".

The interior is really nice, very stylish (it is Daikanyama, after all) with a good amount of seating. There's booth seats, tables, and then couches. The atmosphere is very relaxing, and actually reminded me of a cafe American university students would probably frequent.

There's not a whole lot of variety of food, for lunch at least, and the majority of it is "spice curry", which seems to be a bit like Thai curry and Japanese curry mixed together. There's quite a few varieties, and all come with a salad, plate of rice, and a block of tofu in the curry. Kind of unusual but very delicious! I had the kimuchi and mushroom curry, which was verrrrrrry nice. Also on the menu were things like hayashi rice, chicken, salads, etc. No sandwiches, I believe.

The menu was all in Japanese, though perhaps they might have an English menu somewhere in hiding. One of the staff might also speak some English, not sure.

Cafe 58 is a great place to try some unusual curry in a relaxing atmosphere. If you're in the area, give it a try!
15th-Jun-2006 10:48 am - Tokyo, Shibuya: Japanese: Punraku
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Punraku
Tokyo, Shibuya

Type: dining bar
Genre: Japanese
Cost: Lunch: 980 yen
Ratings: (On a scale of 1-5)
Food:★★★★☆
Atmosphere:★★★☆☆
Service:★★★☆☆
English OK:★☆☆☆☆

Description:

Punraku is located on the 8th floor of the QFront building (the one with the huge video screen and the Tsutaya inside). With such a great location you think the view would be notable, but for whatever reason there is huge metal slats places over all the windows, so you can kind of see outside, but not really. The atmosphere is pretty good, kind of a minimalist feel, bordering on a "stylish cafeteria". The non-smoking area has nice cushy chairs, but the smoking area has these bench-style seats that remind me of a picnic table or, well, a cafeteria. The service is pretty normal, not bad but nothing special.

The food is really good!! I've only been here for lunch, but for 980 yen you can choose one main dish and two sides, plus you have the choice of white rice or brown rice (free refills), and it comes with miso soup and a drink bar. The portions are typical Japanese-size, but all the food together is pretty filling. There's a pretty good variety of things to choose from, and some desserts are included in the side dish menu. I recommend their 豚しゃぶしゃぶ, 山芋かけ刺身, and the tomato salad. Also, if you choose to only have one side dish, the price goes down.

At night they turn into a dining bar or izakaya, and though I've never been here outside of lunch, I'd imagine it's pretty good.

As far as I know there's no English menu and no one speaks English. I've been here a few times and never seen any other foreigners, which is pretty strange given the location. Maybe if a group of foreigners came they might pull an English menu out from somewhere, but I've only been with Japanese people, and haven't been offered an English menu, so I assume there isn't one.

All in all, if you're hankering for some Japanese food in a kind of trendy place, and want volume and variety, I recommend Punraku!!
10th-Feb-2006 09:05 am - Tokyo, Shibuya: Indian: Asian Garden
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Asian Garden
Tokyo, Shibuya
Type: Restaurant
Genre: Indian
Cost: All-you-can-eat buffet lunch: 980 yen
Ratings:
Food:★★★★☆
Atmosphere:★★★☆☆
Service:★★★☆☆
English OK:★★★☆☆(?)

Description:

Located on the other side of Shibuya station, the place where there's no crazy gyaru, no shopping, no tourists; the place where only salarymen and OL rome the streets, and only at lunch time. About 5 minutes from the station, though, and pretty easy to find because of the sign that says "Asian Garden" with a picture of a cool Indian guy coaxing you in to eat some fine Indian food.

They have a lunch buffet going on from 11am-3pm. I hit the restaurant up at just after 11am, and what a surprise! I was the only customer. It's pretty crazy having a buffet all to yourself, though as it drew closer to 12pm, the aforementioned salarymen, OLs, and some groups of girls wandered in. If you want your lunching experience to be a little more quiet and relaxed, going right at 11 or after 1:30pm is probably a good bet.

The food was nice!! They had a selection of 4 salads, 5 curries, 2 kinds of rice, nan, pudding, and two types of fruit. To drink they had water, coffee, and Lassi. The salads weren't your typical garden vegetable variety, but rather unusual salads utilizing things like saffron, sprouts, sato-imo, etc. Very delicious and very refreshing! The curries they had were this really red spicy chicken curry, chicken and egg curry, regular chicken curry, vegetable curry, and daal curry. My favorite was the spicy chicken... wow was it good!! If your spice tolerance is high you won't be sweating much, but it is very flavorful. All the curries were very good, though the daal wasn't as good as I've had at other restaurants. The nan was delicious, of course, as was the pudding. For pictures, check out this link.

The restaurant is quite large (a refreshing change from the curry places in Senta-gai) and can seat probably close to 50 people or more. As an added bonus, the tables aren't pushed brutally close together, leaving you with a lot of breathing room while you eat. The interior was well lit and decorated in tile, and there's a big-screen TV. The service was pretty normal; polite but not overly courteous.

None of the signs were in English, but as is usually the case with foreign-run restaurants in Tokyo, I'd assume someone can speak a little bit of English. Right before I left another foregner came in and spoke to the waitress, but I didn't hear if the waitress spoke good English or not. The dinner menu is in both English and Japanese, and for a lunch buffet I suppose you don't need any English anyway, right?!

Asian Garden is a good choice for any big eaters who want some awesome curry for lunch, but not the crowds that accompany it. The variety is really nice, and the food is delicious!
アジカン
Who's Food's
Tokyo, Shibuya
Type: Dining bar
Genre: No Nationality(無国籍)
Cost: Food: 500-1500yen, Drinks: 500yen+
Ratings:
Food:★★★☆☆
Atmosphere:★★★☆☆
Service:★★★★☆
English OK:★★★☆☆(?)

Description:
Who's Food's is located right next to Tower Records in Shibuya, and is probably familiar to anyone who has walked by and seen the huge plastic honey toast outside. The restaurant is located in the basement, but it looks like the entire building is owned by the same company, and includes a couple other restaurants, a sports bar, and karaoke.

The place itself looks pretty smooth, with large fishtanks and moody lighting. Pretty typical for Shibuya, I think. The thing is, this restaurant is small, and we had to wait for quite a bit before they could find a table to seat three people.

While we waited, though, the staff was extremely hospitable, getting out a space heater to place next to the bench where we waited, and bringing us tea. All through the meal the service was excellent, very attentive and very prompt!!

The food itself was pretty good, not anything terribly special, which was a shame because it was sort of expensive. The items on the menu are all izakaya-sized dishes with restaurant prices, so a hungry group of people will end up with quite a bill. There's a pretty good variety of food, though, from Mexican to Vietnamese to Italian, and it was pretty difficult to choose what to get. I ended up with Jumbalaya Spicy Chicken and Spicy Sausage Pizza, both of which weren't bad. The drinks were reasonably priced, though, and they had a rather large variety, including a lot of imported beers.

After dinner we had Honey Toast, a crazy dessert consisting of an entire Japanese-sized loaf of white bread toasted, with your choice of toppings. I chose "ハニトーレアチーズ&ブルーベリー" because it had the most toppings, something that wasn't the most wise decision. It was pretty delicious, and quite an experience to eat, though I wouldn't recommend taking one on alone.

The menu in front of the restaurant is in English in Japanese, however we were only given a Japanese-only menu once we entered. If you're secure in your katakana ability or don't mind choosing from some pictures, you're fine, and they probably have more menus in English hidden somewhere. I can't imagine any of the staff speak English, though.

All in all, Who's Food's is a little on the expensive side, but the food isn't bad and there's a good variety. Give the honey toast a try!
1st-Feb-2006 10:34 pm - City, Area: Genre: Restaurant Name
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The general posting format should be as follows:

Name of restaurant (linked to their website if they have one)
Location (Prefecture and city)
Type: (general categories are: restaurant, izakaya, bar/pub, dining bar, cafe, other)
Genre: (generally the type of food, for example ramen, Indian, Japanese, French, Asian, No Nationality(無国籍), fugu, etc.)
Cost: (try to estimate a price range for food and drinks, for example "Lunch: 700~1500yen" or "Drinks: 500yen+")
Ratings: (On a scale of 1-5)
Food:★★★☆☆
Atmosphere:★★☆☆☆
Service:★☆☆☆☆
English OK:★★★☆☆

Description:

Try to provide a description (as brief or detailed as you'd like) of food, atmosphere, and service. If possible, post pictures! We love pictures! If there's no website avalible, try to provide an address or a description of how to get there.

If anyone has their own review, updates, or supplemental info/pictures, feel free to post them as a comment. Try to avoid making another post for a restaurant that has already been reviewed. =)

For tags, please input the restaurant genre and type.
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