Tokyo is a foodie’s dream! It’s a city with more Michelin stars than any other city on earth, and a budget meal rarely means a bad meal. There’s a vast range of cooking styles and chefs taking great pleasure in using the finest ingredients. As many know, there’s more to Japan than just ramen, sushi, and umami although you will find the very best of those dishes and flavours here, ready to be explored. So, let’s take a look at what to eat in Tokyo when you arrive! Scroll to the bottom for Tokyo’s best Ramen restaurants.
What to Eat In Harajuku
Sakura Tei – $$ Okonomiyaki is a delicacy and a staple Tokyo food. It’s delicious savoury pancake-style dish mixed with fried vegetables. When you’re pondering what to eat in Tokyo when you first get there, okonomiyaki is a fine start. And there’s no more entertaining place to try okonomiyaki than Sakura Tei. Located on one of the most upmarket streets in Harajuku but wonderfully budget this is an all-you-can-eat style restaurant where you can choose your own toppings and style of Okonomiyaki for 90 minutes at a fixed price of 1,500 JPY. There’s also a regular menu that you could order from if you’re not looking for the ‘create your own’ fun.
Harajuku Gyoza Lou – $ Gyoza (pan-fried dumplings) are a hugely common dish in Japan. Looking for what to eat in Tokyo that isn’t too out there? Gyoza are to Tokyo what pastries are to Denmark. and Harajuku Gyoza Lou has perfected this simple dish and have made it their pride and joy. Known for selling some of the best steamed and fried gyoza in Tokyo they cost 290 JPY for 6 pieces so it’s very biggest-friendly and filling. The shop usually has a sizeable line outside but they serve quickly.
What to Eat In Shinjuku
Himawari Sushi – $ Trying conveyor belt sushi in Tokyo is a must and Himawari Sushi is fun, occasionally sends out a steam engine along the belt with condiments, and is reasonably priced (150 JPY to 200 JPY per roll) with great quality sushi. Very popular with locals, it’s busy but the crowd moves quickly.
Nabezo – $$ Shabu Shabu is a classic stomach-warming dish that’s best enjoyed with 2+ people. If you’ve heard of Chinese hotpot, then this is very similar but far less spicy. You dip sliced meat and vegetables into the hot water or broth to cook them and then dip the items into some sweet soy sauce. What’s great about Nabezo is that you can eat as much as you like for 100 minutes and upgrade the beef with an extra charge.
What to Eat In Shibuya
Sushi no Midori – $$ If you’re looking for a mid-range sushi place which offers creative seafood dishes as well as sushi, then you can’t go wrong with Sushi no Midori. When considering what to eat in Tokyo, you can never go wrong with sushi, provided you find a place that’s not overly pricey. Sushi no Midori have a set meal which is a really good deal and comes to 1000 yen ($10). They also offer online reservation so you can book ahead and avoid any awkwardness on the phone. It’s also just three minutes walk from Shibuya station.
Yaffa Organic Café – $$ Although they have meat dishes on the menu, this is also perfect for the vegetarians and vegans as they offer a range of organic dishes to suit both. It’s also ideal for those who want an incredible view over Shibuya in an open-terrace garden – to be enjoyed with their great craft beer and wine list.
What to Eat In Ueno
Sasanoyuki – $$ A classic Japanese style restaurant that specialises in pushing tofu to its maximum culinary potential. Often when we think about what to eat in Tokyo, our minds don’t jump to tofu – but maybe they should! Sasanoyuki is a family run business now in its 9th generation and offers a quaint authentic surrounding with a beautiful Japanese garden to look out on. As this is all tofu, it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans but worth trying for anyone interested in fine, authentic Japanese food.
Yabu Station – $ You haven’t lived until you’ve tried soba (Japanese noodles) in Japan and this is one of the longest established soba restaurants standing since 1892. Different to ramen, soba is served separately to the broth which ones on the side. It’s also served with a side of meat, vegetables, or tempura making for a wholesome meal and a unique experience.
What to Eat In Akihabara
Yamano $$$ – This intimate restaurant in bustling Akihabara, just a minute from the station, and a fine place to try the Japanese speciality yakiniku (Japanese style BBQ which translates to ‘cooked meat’). Yamano serves the finest quality meat at A5 rank Japanese beef meaning it’ll be melt in the mouth kind of tender – making Yamano one of the best places to eat in Tokyo. Perfect for two or more people enjoy cooking your meat and sides on the open fire for a heart and stomach-warming experience.
Marugo – $ Tonkatsu is a dish that is almost universally beloved by everyone in Japan. Thick pork is deep-fried with panko breadcrumbs in a katsu style and is tender and filling, it’s usually served with rice. Marugo offer some of the highest quality tonkatsu in the city for very reasonable prices. Honestly, when you’re looking for the best of what to eat in Tokyo, both tonkatsu and chicken katsu are the best of choices, and Marugo is a great place to enjoy tonkatsu.
What to Eat In Ginza
Annam Indian Restaurant – $$ It’s not always easy to get high-quality Indian food in East Asia so when you find a good one it’s best to pass on that knowledge like a senpai to his junior. Annam serves authentic North Indian cuisine as well as halal, vegan, and vegetarian dishes in very pleasant surroundings.
Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi – $$ Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) are a delicacy in Japan; something so simple is barbecued to perfection and sold everywhere: from convenience stores, to pubs, to the finest restaurants. It’s simple Tokyo food, but irresistable. You’ll be spoiled for choice at Kushiyaki Bistro Fukumimi, as they serve 40 different kinds of charcoal-grilled skewers from free-range chickens and have an extensive sake menu to accompany them.
What to Eat In Roppongi / Asakusa
Itamae Sushi – $$$ Famous for their superior tuna, meaning that if you’re a tuna fan, this instantly becomes one of the best places to eat in Tokyo. If you’re a lover of tuna then you can’t go wrong going to the renowned experts of the freshest tuna sushi and sashimi. They perform live tuna-cutting shows while you eat and have you remembering your experience here for a very long time. Just one-minute walk from Asakusa station, it’s incredibly convenient.
Kobe Beef Kaiseki 511 – $$$ Kobe beef is infamous and the finest Kobe beef is something truly special. Wracking your brain over what to eat in Tokyo? You can answer that easily with two words: Kobe beef. Kaiseki 511 serves A5 quality beef (which is as good as it gets). You can enjoy your beef in various ways such as steak, sushi, or a shabu-shabu. If you’re with a group who can’t decide which Japanese delicacy to go for, this might be the place to make everyone happy. It’s not cheap but they do offer a special lunch deal which comes in at $15-$20.
What to Eat In Shimokitazawa
Shirube – $ An izakaya is a must-try experience when in Tokyo. Izakaya are Japan’s answer to the old British pub: they serve cheap beer and excellent food, and they’re very much an integral part of life in Japan. This is one of the most popular izakayas in Shimokitazwa. There are plenty of tables which can often be an issue in the normally cramped establishments and they have English menus to choose from. You can expect to find lots of yakitori skewers, bar snacks, and an extensive drinks menu. For the real Tokyo eating experience, you cannot pass up on a good izakaya, and this one comes highly recommended.
Magic Spice – $$ This is a rare chance to try Sapparo’s soul food: soup curry. It’s exactly how it sounds; a curry flavoured soup ramen affair which is absolutely delicious. It’s more towards Indian style curry than Japanese and they have a range of spice options. Tokyo food is great, don’t get us wrong, but the variety you’ve got a chance to try here can’t be ignored. For what to eat in Tokyo that’s a little rarer and unique, being that it comes all the way from Sapporo, this is certainly worth checking out.
Where to Eat Ramen in Tokyo
Whenever we’re in Tokyo, there are two meals that we go after time and time again: katsu chicken curry and ramen. If you think you’ve had ramen outside of Japan and you know it well enough, don’t be so sure. There is no ramen like Tokyo ramen (just like there’s no food like Tokyo food), and so we beg you: visit every ramen place you can while in Tokyo. You won’t regret it. Here’s a guide to the best Tokyo ramen to help you out. These are some of the best places to eat in Tokyo, hands down.
AFURI – $ A light and delicate ramen option which used fresh local vegetables and spring water from Mt. Afuri giving their a ramen a totally unique flavour. Their specialist dishes include Yuzu Ramen which a chicken based broth, and their Vegan Ramen option. With lovely surroundings, it’s a favourite among many.
Ichiran– $ Specialising in Tonkotsu (pork-based broth) ramen, it’s a beloved restaurant among fans. It’s a chain and is based in every major district of Tokyo, including Shibuya.
Kyushu Jangara Ramen – $ Also specialising in Tonkotsu ramen, you can enjoy this Kyushu speciality in Akihabara or Harajuku. They also offer vegan ramen options which are as delicious as the original.
Menya Musashi -$$ The best Tokyo ramen? Maybe. One of the most wholesome and flavourful ramen experiences in all of Tokyo, Menya Musashi delivers the quintessential ramen experience. A good meal will cost around $10 and your ramen bowl will come with a soft-boiled egg, some nori, and some soft, supple pork (if you want it). There’s a veggie option, and some simple English is spoken to help you out.
Ramen Yoroiya – $ Asakusa is overflowing with traditional foods, including a store that exclusively sells melon pan. If you want a fantastic shoyu ramen (ramen with soy broth) experience, you’ll find it here at Ramen Yoroiya. Your ramen options include pork, chicken, and dried sardines.
Ippudo – $$ A very popular option in Tokyo, this is a firm favourite when you ask people what their favourite ramen joint is. Originally established in 1985 in Fukuoka, the southern-most tip of mainland Japan, there are ten stores across Tokyo.
Fuunji – $$ this is one of the best places to try Tsukemen style ramen which is served with extra thick noodles and the aromatic broth is made with chicken and fish. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and are looking for a different kind of ramen then this might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Jess is the creator and editor of Books and Bao. She's passionate about the world, it's literature, food, culture, and people. She enjoys sharing her travel tips with others and capturing those perfect moments.