Best Places To Eat In Tokyo – Recommended By A Local

By Blanka Kobayashi, who fell in love with the incredible food culture in Tokyo and loves exploring local Japanese cuisine.
Edited by Elodi Troskie


I love food. I love everything related to food – exploring street food, visiting local restaurants, trying foreign dishes and taking visitors on food tours around Tokyo. Japanese food is amazing and I honestly think the food in Tokyo is the best in the world! You’ll never go hungry in Tokyo – you’ll find some form of food on every single street corner. Japan might not be the cheapest country in the world, but it’s still possible to eat good food even when you’re traveling on a budget. If you’re wondering where to eat like a local in Tokyo, this food guide will tell you all you need to know about the best places to eat in Tokyo!

Tsukiji Fish Market


The Tsukiji Fish Market is by far the best place to go for seafood in Tokyo. It doesn’t get any fresher or better than this! Tsukiji has been in business since the early 1900’s and has a lot of cultural significance in Tokyo. The market reached the end of an era in 2018 when the inner market closed its doors and relocated to a new site in Toyosu, renamed as the Toyosu Market. Tsukiji’s outer market is still in business in the original location though, a short walk from the Tsukiji Shijo Station. The outer market is open from daily from 05:00 until 14:00 so I’d advise you to go as early as possible to catch the food at its freshest! There is a huge amount of small food stalls with a big variety of foods other than the mouth-watering seafood dishes like sushi and fried octopus. I always encourage people not to be afraid of trying new things when it comes to food in Tokyo – especially at this market! The best way to experience the incredible food culture in Tokyo is to try everything at least once, even if it might be different from the type of cuisine you’re used to.

Omoide Yokocho


Also known as Shinjuku’s Memory Lane, Omoide Yokocho is a culinary heaven of narrow streets filled with restaurants, interesting cafes and some of the best street food in Tokyo! You’ll find a variety of local street food style dishes here – simple and affordable, but delicious! Memory Lane truly lives up to its name. Walking around these streets feels like a trip down historical memory lane! Omoide Yokocho was established after the World War and the feeling of an old world shopping street remains. Must try foods when you visit Omoide Yokocho is yakitori (grilled chicken served on a skewer) and Japanese fried chicken. To reach this area, take the train to either Shinjuku Station East or West, both located just a minute’s walk from Omoide Yokocho. Many eateries in Omoide Yokocho are open 24/7, making it a popular hangout spot at night. A must visit destination if you’re looking for cool things to do in Tokyo at night!

Sushizanmai


As one of the most famous Japanese dishes, it’s no surprise that Tokyo is big on sushi! My favourite place to eat sushi in Tokyo is at a chain restaurant called Sushizanmai. They have fantastic quality of fish at really good prices. Since the first Sushizanmai restaurant opened in the Tsukiji Fish Market, around 40 other branches have opened up all over Tokyo. If you visit one of these restaurants, try to get a counter seat. This way you’ll be able to see the chefs prepare your food right in front of you! If you’re looking for the best sushi in Tokyo on a budget, Sushizanmai should be at the top of your list.

Ippudu


If you’re visiting Tokyo, you’ll be eating a lot of ramen. This is a popular Japanese dish because it’s so affordable and versatile – you can customise your order according to your dietary preferences, making it a favourite among vegans and vegetarians! One of my favourite places to eat ramen in Tokyo is at Ippudu, a chain restaurant that has proven its popularity among both locals and tourists. The ramen at Ippudu is great because you can choose how spicy you prefer your noodles. If you’re not used to the spices of Asian foods, it may take you a while to get used to the burn! Be sure to order some gyoza (dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables) on the side of your ramen.

Peter at the Peninsula


If you want to spoil yourself to a fancy night out in Tokyo, you won’t be disappointed by Peter. Located on the 24th floor of the Peninsula Hotel, this is one of the coolest restaurants in Tokyo! The massive windows offer a spectacular view of the Imperial Palace – perfect for cocktails at sunset. Speaking of which, Peter serves some of the best cocktails you’ll find in Tokyo! Peter also has a wide variety of fine dining dishes – premium cuts of meat, fresh seafood and traditional Japanese dishes like Kahoshima pork and Hokkaido scallops. The prices are on the higher end, so this might not be the type of restaurant you’d visit any and every day. Lunch is served daily from 11:30 until 15:00 and dinner from 18:00 until 22:00. Make sure you reserve a table beforehand!

Sukiya


Sukiya is a fast food chain restaurant with more than 2000 branches across Japan. This is my go-to restaurant when I’m running errands and just want to grab something quick to eat. The food at Sukiya is super affordable and the service is really fast as well. Sukiya is known for their amazing gyudon, a Japanese dish consisting of a rice bowl topped with beef, onion and a variety of other ingredients like soy sauce, mirin and dashi. There are different variations of this dish, including serving it alongside shirataki noodles or topping it with egg. At about JPY350 for a regular sized rice bowl, Sukiya is a great option for cheap eats in Tokyo. They also serve other foods like miso soup, curry and a variety of green salads.

Kua Aina


It’s only natural to explore Japanese cuisine when you’re visiting Tokyo, but if you’re craving Western-style fast food, Kua Aina is a really great Hawaiian burger restaurant. The first branch opened in Tokyo in the late 1990’s and today there are about 30 branches across Japan. Their Hawaiian style burgers and fries are a must try! Kua Aina’s speciality is the Avocado Burger, consisting of a thick meat patty generously topped with avocado, tomatoes and greenery. All their ingredients are fresh and of high quality, served at bargain prices. Most branches are open daily from 11:00 until 23:00.

Inakaya


Located in the Roppongi district, Inakaya is the best robatayaki restaurant in Tokyo – a traditional Japanese style of cooking where food is prepared over hot charcoal, much like barbeque. Inakaya is also one of the more expensive restaurants among my recommendations for where to eat in Tokyo, but you’ll be in for a Japanese fine dining treat like no other. There is limited seating available, giving the restaurant quite an exclusive feel. With live entertainment throughout the evening, you’ll feel like a VIP guest! Food is prepared in an open kitchen, adding to the experience. Inakaya also offers a wide selection of top quality sake to enjoy alongside your meal.

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