My husband and I are taking our first trip to Japan next month, and we're hoping to sample a range of dining experiences while having our almost 2-year-old with us. We've traveled to a lot of countries with him (ranging from Paris to SE Asia) and often bring him out to eat with us, but Tokyo seems particularly intimidating to me for dining out with a small child. To clarify, I'm not looking for high chairs or kids' menus, etc., but more for places that would allow / not mind having a small child on the premises. He is reasonably well behaved, and if he gets too antsy we take turns walking him outside. I've searched the boards and other sites as well, and here are some of my ideas that I would love anyone's thoughts or suggestions on. We will be staying in an apartment in Shimokita -- probably will spend a little time exploring that area but otherwise we plan to venture out to at least Shibuya and Ginza.
(1) Quality sushi: I've been trying to figure out the best way for us to experience excellent sushi in Tokyo given our circumstances, since it doesn't seem likely we'd be able to dine at one of the high-end sushi restaurants. I was hoping we could try a lunch option at a less-intimate, less-formal place and reserve for the earliest time possible. One place I found is Fukuzushi, since they seem to have a great lunch deal (¥2,625+) and I've read that the supposedly larger space makes it more family friendly. Can anyone comment on the sushi quality here and whether it's doable with kids? Another place that may be a stretch is Kyubei. I was hoping since they are bigger and more tourist-friendly it may work, if they allow children in the first place. If not, I did notice that their menu has a takeout option with a 20% discount if picked up before 2pm. Has anyone ever tried that before and can comment on the quality of their takeout? Is it worth it as a way to sample quality sushi, or does taking it out kind of defeat the whole purpose?
(2) Tsukiji: Is a visit to Tsukiji doable with a toddler? We plan to carry him in a carrier (he wouldn't be running around, and we don't travel with a stroller). I don't have a super ambitious plan: was just hoping to arrive around 7:30 and look around at whatever they will allow us to, and then get a sushi breakfast at one of the outer market places that doesn't have a line.
(3) Fish from markets: Since we're staying at an apartment, we were thinking an alternative to dining out is buying fresh fish from a market and making sashimi / chirashi at home. Would this give us a comparable taste of what sushi in Tokyo is like? I know we won't get the restaurant experience, but maybe this would still allow us to taste good quality fish while we're in Japan. Any suggestions on markets? (Does Tsukiji sell fish to the public?) Is this worth the trouble, or are we better off getting takeout at a dept store or grocery store?
(4) Cheap (but decent) sushi: On the other end of the spectrum, we're also hoping to try some decent but cheap sushi places, both for value and for allowing small children. We were planning to try Sushi Zanmai and/or Magurobito for a decent conveyor-belt experience. Would welcome any thoughts or suggestions. We'd also be interested in all-you-can-eat sushi (Hina Sushi?).
(5) Yakitori, izakaya, ramen: These are the three other things we really want to experience in Tokyo, but again I'm not sure about how welcoming / appropriate these types of places would be for children. The places I'd really like to try are Toritama for yakitori, a friend recommended Teyendei for izakaya, and we'd like to try a couple ramen places like Suzuran or Rokurinsha for tsukemen, and Ichiran just 'cause it seems popular and easy. I hear Ippudo is very kid-friendly, but we have been to the one in NY and would prefer to try something new.
(6) Lastly, as an extra, we would love to find somewhere that serves uni pasta. I saw Ristorante Honda recommended on one of the boards, but wasn't sure if Sept would be the right season for them to have it on the menu? (Also not sure if children are allowed.) We love uni and would welcome any suggestions on where to have a good uni experience.
Thanks in advance!
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