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Old Aug 31, 05, 12:14 pm   #1
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Great deal gourmet lunches

I've been wanting to ask this for a while, but the post discussing Hotel restaurant buffets has finally spurred me into doing it.
I've been taking notes for some time from your posts on great places to get a truly magnificent lunch... 'cheaply' (under 2,500yen).
As we'll be in Tokyo as tourists, the plan is to eat our main meal during the day and eat... well, anything in the evenings - just as any guidebook would suggest.
So far, the recommendations that have jumped out at me are:
(from Pickles)
Tonki outside Meguro Station Their set menus are about Y1500 (Pork, pork, pork and all the rice you can eat)

6th floor of the Marubiru, across from Tokyo station. (unknown name), but it is the one on the far right once you get off the escalator. They serve traditional Japanese fare, the best gindara (a fish) I've ever had. World class. Lunch, 1,200 yen

(And from Calcifer)
Wakiya weekday lunchtime (11:30-14:30) 6-11-10 Akasaka, Minato-ku (1,500 2,100)
...

Took me a while to get the information (I knew how to get there, but not the name of the place or address)
Here's my favourite place to eat in Tokyo: http://www.flyertalk.com/reviews/rev...?review_id=181
good prices at Lunchtime AND at dinner.

This sort of advice is better than gold to me. Does anybody else have any favourite finds?

PLEASE SEE SCHOFLYER'S ADVICE - POST No. 21

Click for Instructional video on the art of using chopsticks - and I stress the word Art.

Last edited by LapLap; Sep 13, 08 at 9:39 am..
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Old Sep 1, 05, 9:39 am   #2
 
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Pretty much all the restaurants in Roppongi Hills are "best of breed" franchises and, for the quality, quite reasonably priced. I can personally recommend Wako Tonkatsu, which gives Tonki a good run for the money when it comes to tonkatsu, and Konaya, a curry udon specialist.

And of course sushi in Tsukiji early in the morning is an absolute must: both Sushidai and Yamato Sushi serve, IMHO, the very best sushi in the world.
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Old Sep 1, 05, 12:38 pm   #3
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My experience is that almost any decent katsu restaurant will give you all the extra rice, soup, and salad that you want, at any meal. So that isn't such a special feature.

Roppongi Hills restaurants may be "best of breed" but they aren't generally cheap, IMO.
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Old Sep 3, 05, 8:08 am   #4
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Arrow Tsuke-Men or Negi Cha-Shu-Men?

Let me introduce my favorite Ramen shop... Check this out!
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Old Sep 3, 05, 10:31 am   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TR35R
Let me introduce my favorite Ramen shop... Check this out!
????
So, whatever the name of the place is (treasure? + river IC), it's near Kami-Noge station, ?-(2 or perhaps 3)-3 Noge, Setagaya Ku, Tokyo, near the junction of Kan-Pachi-Dori and National Road 466. As neither I nor my computer read kanji, all I get is 表示、モード切り替え
I appreciate the tip (really I do) but a few extra hints would be welcomed. I only worked out the area was Noge thanks to the Kodansha Atlas (and a little bloody mindedness).

Last edited by LapLap; Sep 3, 05 at 10:34 am..
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Old Sep 3, 05, 8:40 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TR35R
Let me introduce my favorite Ramen shop... Check this out!
My guess is "Nakamura Ya" ramen shop:
http://homepage3.nifty.com/oogui/page1-16.htm

Do I get a prize?

According to my online searching... it's 7 mins walk from Kami Noge station.

The expressway interchange is "Tamagawa IC," (Tamagawa is "ball" and "river") which is OK if you drive a car like TR35R... I've heard that it's quite pleasant to cycle along the tamagawa... and it's supposed to be a nice place to live... never been there myself.
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Old Sep 3, 05, 9:49 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TR35R
Let me introduce my favorite Ramen shop... Check this out!
That's way out West, in a gaijin-free zone. Why not head to one of the Jangara Ramen shops in town? There's one in Tameike-Sanno and another one in Harajuku. Some more places. I give no specific addresses or further information, keep the chase part of the fun:

Morita-ya, in the 35th floor of the Marubiru. Old-style Kyoto beef restaurant. 200g steak, soup, rice, salad, pickles, for 1800 yen.
Musashino Ginza-ten. Ginza 8. Tai-chazuke, sashimi, ebi shinjo age. 2000 yen for lunch.
Zakuro. Location in Ginza 3, and Toranomon, across from the US Embassy. Excellent lunches, 1600-2000 yen. Best one is the 1600 wakadori kuwayaki chicken with tomato salad.
Taihei. Ryotei across the US Embassy, Saikyo-yaki set lunch, 1200 yen.
Kifune. Ginza 8 fugu ryotei. Very famous restaurant. At lunch, has selection of great lunches (including a small dessert) from 1,000 to 2,000 yen.
Noboritei. Various places. Eel restaurant, very famous.
Kanda kikukawa. Eel restaurant, in Kanda. Very old style.
Honda. Kita-Aoyama 2. Italian. Appetizer, main course, dessert, coffee/tea in a high-end setting, excellent food. 2,100 yen for lunch.
Maisen. Old-style Tonkatsu in Jingu-mae. Nothing more expensive than 2,000 yen. Extensive menu with pictures.

These are the ones that come to mind. Others will suddenly appear in my memory bank, and I'll edit this post to add them.

Last edited by Pickles; Sep 4, 05 at 12:22 am..
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Old Sep 4, 05, 2:47 am   #8
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Yokatta! (and a handclap)

Thanks Pickles, that would be wonderful!
A cycle ride along the Tamagawa is actually on the list of choices of things to do as they will lend you a bicycle for free and I'd also heard it was a nice area (I've been meaning to check out Den-en Chofu for ages) so it's great to have an option in this zone. (I can write out the 'hire' details if anybody is actually interested)
One of the reasons I'm so terribly grateful for suggestions is that I only eat vegetables and fish, no other kind of meat, and my parents are very adventurous omnivores. So all recommendations are especially precious.

Shamefaced edit:
Bagged 'em all ... except Toranomon and Taihei and I would love to 'have' a couple of places near Roppongi Hills as this is actually the area I've always had least success finding nice places to eat (sorry jpatokal!)

Oh yes, good memory Pickles! but Zakuro is just on the border, so it is actually Ginza 4 (-6-1). Very close, and everything else is spot on!

Last edited by LapLap; Sep 4, 05 at 3:35 pm.. Reason: I can't spell!
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Old Sep 4, 05, 3:43 am   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LapLap
I only eat vegetables and fish, no other kind of meat, and my parents are very adventurous omnivores. So all recommendations are especially precious.
The vegetable comment has reminded me of one place which hardly qualifies as cheap, but does have a cheaper option at lunch. This place is "Bon" described below:

Also - I'm going to start listing places by location, since I think this is probably the number one factor for most tourists in choosing a restaurant. (As Pickles pointed out, there won't be many foreign tourists in the area of TR35R's favourite Ramen shop):

NORTH EAST (Ueno Station and further out)

Closest station: Iriya (Hibiya Line)
Restaurant Name: BON
Type of food: Fucha Ryori
Link: http://www.fuchabon.co.jp/english/english.html
Review: The food here is a kind of buddhist vegetarian food. (Stronger flavours than typical shojin ryori - lots of sesame flavour due to chinese influence). They offer a bento box style lunch on weekdays only - 3,800 yen.

Like I said, it's not cheap - but compared with the dinner menu...
This place isn't really on the "beaten track" but it may be worth a trip in itself. The building is an old Japanese house, with tatami rooms.

Tokyo Station Area (Yaesu side)

Closest station: Tokyo
Restaurant Name: Fukube
Type of food: An old-style Nihon Shu (Sake) pub. Opens at 4.30pm
Link: http://www.esake.com/Knowledge/Pubs/...ubs-index.html

Review: OK - It doesn't really belong in this list of lunch places, but I was here on Thursday and was reminded of how wonderful this place is. Fifty varieties of sake from all around Japan. Basically it's a drinking establishment, which appears to have hardly changed since the 1950s. The menu is very short and all in Japanese - but several delicious veggie and fishy options such as maguro natto, morokyu, oden and so on.


Tokyo Station Area (Marunouchi side)

Closest station: Otemachi Mita Line, Chiyoda Line or Hanzomon Line
Restaurant Name: Endor
Type of food: Sashimi set with an additional dish - two choices per day
Link: Located in the restaurant area underneath Citibank at the crossing of Eitai Dori and Hibiya Dori (very close to Palace Hotel)

Review: Arrive before 12noon for a 100yen discount on the 1000yen lunch set. You have four or five choices per day. Two or Three of them are sashimi plus an additional dish (one of which is usually grilled or boiled fish of some kind). One choice is always maguro don and the other is always chirashi don. So there is always something for a "fish only" eater. And it is wonderful... Really this is the only "home style" cooking that I can find in the Marunouchi area. Even the rice here just tastes "better" - as if mummy made it.

Closest station: Tokyo (Marunouchi side)
Restaurant Name: Mango Tree
Type of food: Upmarket Thai Restaurant - with buffet lunch offering
Link: Located on the 35th floor of the Marunouchi Building

Review: 2500 yen buffet. People tell me it's very good.
Dinner here will cost you much more.

Closest station: Tokyo (Marunouchi side)
Restaurant Name: Mahorama
Type of food: Fish and huge bento trays (you will feel full)
Link: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g763363/index.htm
Located in the restaurant area underneath the newly reconstructed Mitsubishi Shintaku bank (take the stairs leading downwards from the Dean & Deluca cafe)

Review: Prices from 1000 to 1300 for super big lunch trays including grilled fish, sashimi, rice, soup, pickles, chawan mushi and other favourites...

Central Tokyo - Chuo Line etc. - area

Closest station: Iidabashi (Chuo Line) / Ichigaya (Chuo Line) / Ushigomekagurazaka (Oedo Line)
Restaurant Name: Brasserie de L'Institut franco-japonais de Tokyo
Type of food: French - with a deck for al fresco lunch
Link: http://www.ifjtokyo.or.jp/institut/shoten.html
Map: http://www.ifjtokyo.or.jp/institut/map.html

Review: UPDATE - Mar 18/2006 - Now reopened after rennovations. Very reasonably priced three-course lunches. Make reservations if you want a table outside on a Saturday or Sunday. Very popular with French and Japanese families who live in the area -a rare restaurant where children have space to play without getting in anyone's way. IMHO, it used to be even better when the kids could play on the lawn, which is now a deck...

Closest station: Kagurazaka (Tozai Line) or a 10 min walk up the kagurazaka hill from Iidabashi (Chuo Line)
Restaurant Name: Akagi Tei 赤城亭

UPDATE - Pickles reported that Akagi Tei had shut down.
On 18/MAR/2006 I went to take a look and it seems that they have ceased to offer lunch at this restaurant. It is now open for dinner only - and it looks like you will spend upwards of 5000yen. Not a bargain - but a very beautiful place, so I am leaving the review here.


Type of food: Unfortunately they no longer offer the ochazuke and nigiri lunch sets and no longer offer tea & cake in the afternoons. But they do have some wonderful looking dinner menus. I will report in more detail when I have a chance to try it.
Link: http://www.food-stadium.com/detail/4_38.html
(Second restaurant review on the above page)

Located at the very top of Kagurazaka hill is a Shinto shrine (Akagi Jinja) with lots of red Torii gates leading up to it. Walk up the path towards the main temple building - the restaurant is in one of the first buildings on the left.

Review: You read it here first. This is a very cute place for a light lunch or snack. Highly recommended to tourists who want to explore the attractive Kagurazaka shopping and entertainment street. The restaurant/cafe opened on July 15, 2005 as part of the project to make the shrine more viable or something. It's pretty rare and funky that there should be a cafe/restaurant in an old building in the shrine complex itself.

They offer simple musubi sets and ochazuke set lunches. (We found the ochazuke to be the better option, but musubi were good too). This is not a place where you will fill your face for pennies... but an exquisite location to get a reasonable meal.
Musubi set (2 rice balls & pickles & soup) = 980 yen
Ochazuke set (chicken & other bits to pour on rice / soup & pickles) 1300 yen

Tourist idea = Take the Tozai line to Kagurazaka station. Eat lunch at this restaurant in the temple and then stroll down the hill exploring the little side streets and various stores. Finish the walk with a coffee at PoW WoW towards the bottom of the hill and then get on the train at Iidabashi station...

Shinjuku area

Closest station: Shinjuku
Restaurant Name: Kewajai
Type of food: Budget Thai
Link: http://www2.bento.com/rev/0419.html
Review: Share a table with five or six other diners. Take a set lunch which comes with noodles (sometimes very spicy) and a couple of other Thai dishes. Alternatively pick something from the menu, which features photos of most of the dishes. Good Thai food, relatively cheap, loud, boistrous and friendly.

Shinbashi area

Closest station: Shinbashi *(Steam loco plaza side) or Uchisaiwaicho
Restaurant Name: Mimiu
Type of food: Kansai region udon noodles and tempura
Link: http://www.bento.com/gmaps/1255.html
Review: Superb value lunch sets in this large (4 storeys) restaurant. Typical sets comprise udon or soba (go for udon - it's the house speciality), tempura, rice, pickles - but the ingredients change with the seasons. Very popular with the middle aged Japanese set. You get the feeling that some of these folks have been coming for years. They know a good thing when they find it.


Closest station: Shinbashi *(Steam loco plaza side)
Restaurant Name: Suegen
Type of food: Chicken / Oyako-don
Link: http://www.shinbashi-rk.com/shop/suegen/
Review: Another fave with the middle-aged Japanese set. They come here for an oyako-don which is just "comme il faut." Apparently Yukio Mishima enjoyed his last dinner here too (chicken nabe - or so the legend goes). My friend says the nikkatsu don looks like a street pizza, but ignore her. It tastes delicious.

Akasaka area

Closest station: Akasaka *(Exit 7)
Restaurant Name: Asterix
Type of food: Budget French
Link: http://www.bento.com/rev/1457.html
Review: Sit at the counter to watch the chef work - or take one of the tables in this tiny basement restaurant. Simple, unfussy French food, done well. Lunch from 1000yen. Dinner menu starts at 3500yen.
I had a cassoulet which was excellent comfort food - very warming on a cold, winter day.

Some other links to check out:

Veggie-centric and Health Food Restaurants
http://www.bento.com/r-veg.html


Buffet Restaurants in Tokyo (IMHO mostly not worthwhile - YMMV):http://www.bento.com/r-buff.html

LOHAS restaurants - (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) - Site in Japanese :
http://www.gourmetnavi.com/lohas/

Last edited by jib71; May 7, 07 at 6:57 am..
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Old Sep 4, 05, 5:51 am   #10
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Thumbs up Bang!!!

I just exploded with happiness. Thank you!
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Old Sep 4, 05, 7:35 am   #11
 
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Kudos to Jib71 and Pickles , this thread could be stuck
at the top!
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Old Sep 4, 05, 5:36 pm   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickles
That's way out West, in a gaijin-free zone. Why not head to one of the Jangara Ramen shops in town? There's one in Tameike-Sanno and another one in Harajuku. Some more places. I give no specific addresses or further information, keep the chase part of the fun:

Morita-ya, in the 35th floor of the Marubiru. Old-style Kyoto beef restaurant. 200g steak, soup, rice, salad, pickles, for 1800 yen.
Musashino Ginza-ten. Ginza 8. Tai-chazuke, sashimi, ebi shinjo age. 2000 yen for lunch.
Zakuro. Location in Ginza 3, and Toranomon, across from the US Embassy. Excellent lunches, 1600-2000 yen. Best one is the 1600 wakadori kuwayaki chicken with tomato salad.
Taihei. Ryotei across the US Embassy, Saikyo-yaki set lunch, 1200 yen.
Kifune. Ginza 8 fugu ryotei. Very famous restaurant. At lunch, has selection of great lunches (including a small dessert) from 1,000 to 2,000 yen.
Noboritei. Various places. Eel restaurant, very famous.
Kanda kikukawa. Eel restaurant, in Kanda. Very old style.
Honda. Kita-Aoyama 2. Italian. Appetizer, main course, dessert, coffee/tea in a high-end setting, excellent food. 2,100 yen for lunch.
Maisen. Old-style Tonkatsu in Jingu-mae. Nothing more expensive than 2,000 yen. Extensive menu with pictures.

These are the ones that come to mind. Others will suddenly appear in my memory bank, and I'll edit this post to add them.
Is Kifune a place to visit with Japanese bucho gents in their fifties or also recommendable for younger guests? I'm asking because I'm considering a December Tokyo meet-up with a few old friends and have never gotten around to eating Fugu. We are all in our early thirties and comfortable with Kanji menus. Do they only serve Kaiseki?
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Old Sep 4, 05, 8:01 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosburger
Is Kifune a place to visit with Japanese bucho gents in their fifties or also recommendable for younger guests? I'm asking because I'm considering a December Tokyo meet-up with a few old friends and have never gotten around to eating Fugu. We are all in our early thirties and comfortable with Kanji menus. Do they only serve Kaiseki?
Well, I'm not a Japanese bucho gent in my fifties (I'm not Japanese nor in my fifties), so yes it is OK. I wouldn't call what they serve kaiseki in the strict sense. It is many course meals at dinner (at lunch, they are lunch sets), but it is quite folksy.
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Old Sep 4, 05, 10:10 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mosburger
Is Kifune a place to visit with Japanese bucho gents in their fifties or also recommendable for younger guests? I'm asking because I'm considering a December Tokyo meet-up with a few old friends and have never gotten around to eating Fugu. We are all in our early thirties and comfortable with Kanji menus. Do they only serve Kaiseki?
Completely off-topic to Tokyo but if you are ever in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture do try the fish market upstairs for outstanding(reasonably priced) fugu sets.
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Old Sep 5, 05, 1:37 am   #15
 
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Thanks a lot Pickles and Q Shoe Guy. If I have a Japan Rail Pass at hand and a day to spare might travel to that fish market just for lunch.
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