From Tokyo with Love (for Food)

Restaurant Pilgrimages

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Tourin-in in Myoushin-ji Temple

Tourin-in in Myoushin-ji Temple

I had a chance to make a short trip to Kyoto. Winter is off-season, so there are only few events going on in the city, but as there are also much less tourists than in peak seasons, it’s a good time to stroll around numerous temples and shrines of the old capital.

Fuyunokyoto6Some temples designated to important cultural assets are opening normally closed parts of the properties to the public, as in Myoushin-ji temple complex associated with Rinzai Zen Buddhism. To celebrate the New Year, the Tourin-in temple was serving Azukikayu (red bean porrige) and fukucha (lucky tea for New Year) shoujin ryori set.

First came the fukucha with a variety of sweets and fruits hoping to bring happiness for the year. After all the sweets came the red bean porridge with various side dishes, all vegetarian of course, as shoujin ryouri should be.

Fuyunokyoto8From the window you could see the famous Japanese garden, which is normally closed from the public.


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Kichisen

Kichisen

This is a nice soba restaurant in Okachimachi. Besides the regular seiro soba, they have thick inaka style soba, as well as yuzu soba, soba flavoured with this aromatic citrus fruit.

I tried their recommendation set, which included vegetable tempura and two types of soba. The yellowish one in the middle is yuzu soba, and behind is the regular soba. Soba is made on the spot, so it is really delicious. Also tempura was crispy and not too oily, just like it should be.

Even though this is a soba restaurant, they have a wide izakaya style menu full of small treats that go well with sake. Not only for quick soba for lunch, but also for laid-back dinner with good company.


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Kagurazaka Oishinbo

Kagurazaka Oishinbo

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This is a nice traditional Kyoto style restaurant in one of the narrow alleys in Kagurazaka.

During lunch time, they have very affordable set menus; this is this week’s donburi set that costs only 1000 yen (includes also a mini dessert). This time it was summer vegetable & namafu tempura.

Even in the evening the prizes are affordable among the Japanese restaurants in Kagurazaka, so if you want a bit of Kyoto when in Tokyo, this might be a good stop.


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Cave Bar

Cave Bar

I was surprised when finding out that one of the most popular wine bars in Tokyo is in Takadanobaba. To say the least that’s the last place to think about finding a decent wine bar…

But yes, of course I had to give it a try. This is Australian vintage Shiraz with prociutto & parmesan salad. Wonderful combination; also the wine that was recommend by the sommelier was really tasty – deep taste with some spices, but still a bit fruity – very Australian to say the least.


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Dogenzaka Kanamori

Dogenzaka Kanamori

Kanamori is a cozy Japanese restaurant in bustling Shibuya. Interior is traditional and on the 2nd floor guest get to sit on tatami floor.

Restaurant is famous for its kaisendon, bowl of rice topped with fresh fish. Lunch set is a good choice, and certainly fills you up.


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JIP

JIP

This is a wine bar & restaurant in Shinjuku 2-chome that is specialized in Japanese wines. The food is also made to go with the wines, so it’s mainly Japanese with a French twist.


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Restaurant & Bar Normal

Restaurant & Bar Normal

I know, the name is weird (even though it claims to be Normal…), but this is actually a really nice small restaurant in Kagurazaka.

This is the appetizer plate of the 1700 yen course menu; marinated salmon, ratatouille and ham & cream cheese on baguette. Great CP; not complaining.