Tonakatsu Maisen Aoyama Honten, 4-8-5 Jingumae, Shibuya
If you love tonkatsu (and let’s be fair – who doesn’t), be prepared to have your mind blown. Be prepared to come here more than once.
Sincere Garden, 3-5-4 Aoyama | 2F Aoyama Takano Bldg, Minato 1
This unlikely spot is an organic spa with vegetarian cafe above. Ideal if your craving some fresh veg or just want a menu with multiple vegetarian options – they do soy cutlets, Japanese salads and curries so there’s no need to feel like your missing out on Japanese cuisine just because you’re plant-based.
Shokurakusaisai Sobadokoro Miyota, 1-22-6 Minamichitose | Midori Nagano 3F, Nagano
This soba spot is a local favourite, meaning it can get pretty busy (read there’s often a line). Although I went at 9:30pm on a Monday and walked right in – I found the Japanese tend to eat early. The menu is both simple and extensive – soba (hot or cold) every which way.
But the best part is that your seated facing the chefs, giving you an ideal view to watch your meal being made. That it’s excellent bang for your buck. Expect to be filled up for around 900 yen (£6.50).
Harajuku Gyoza-ro, 6-2-4 Jingumae, Shibuya
A favourite gyoza spot for both locals and tourists – so expect at least a small wait. Traditional Japanese style bar facing inwards towards the only kitchen – this place is delicious, quick and cheap. Only down side is this place isn’t vege friendly, so I looked like a massive nerd lunching on only cucumber & miso sauce (which is next level) and cabbage.
Ipuddo ramen (there are spots throughout the city)
Expect a queue (like most popular spots in Tokyo) – plus slight more expensive prices – but this place delivers. The ramen gets rave reviews (although vege options are limied). Interiors, service and side dishes are all 10/10.
Kawakamian Aoyama, 3 Chome-14-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato
I almost didn’t make it to this hidden spot (aka google can’t help you) but I’m so glad I did. One of the few epic places I went without a line – presumably because it’s a bit more expensive than other spots. Inside it’s intimate and lively, with food that tastes lovingly homemade.
Imakatsu, 4-12-5 Roppongi, Minato
Rated no1 for katsu in Tokyo and for good reason. This spot is vege/pescatarian friendly menu, and they serve real pints. They also have traditional Japanese seating for groups – although I was flying solo so sat at the bar table.