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Tokyo izakaya/yakitori recommendations (for people living in Japan)

natandkelly | Nov 1, 201101:21 AM


My husband and I will be in Tokyo later this week for 5 days. We live in Sapporo, which has some of the best seafood on the planet, and we've already done Tsukiji so we're not really after sushi on this trip.

We're looking for the best izakaya or yakitori as these are our favorite kind of Japanese restaurants...we love places with a seasonal/local focus (though most izakaya are) and lively atmosphere. We can read kana and we can speak Japanese well enough. Our budget is mid-range but we prefer to spend 3,000Y or less per person, if possible (we like to try lots of dishes but don't have huge appetites). As far as location, we'll go almost anywhere. We have visited Shinsuke (Yushima Station) and Morimoto (Shibuya Station) and really enjoyed both.

Have scoured past posts and done some digging elsewhere. Here are some names that I'm hoping to get opinions on:

- Buchi or Buri (pretty sure we'll go to one of these, but which?)
- Seigetsu in Kagurazaka
- Hanakogo
- Tobu Sakana in Shimokita-zawa
- Koyu (Nezu? don't know where this is exactly)
- Ishii in Shinbashi
- Teppei (Okinawan style?) in Kagurazaka
- Maru (upscale place near Omotesando Station)
- Saiki (Ebisu Station)
- Hiro (Nakameguro station...anybody actually know how to find this place? We couldn't last time)
- Birdland: this place comes up again and again. We aren't fans of innards but we love tail, neck, skin, sasami, and toriwasa. Is it worth going to this place? Any other yakitori that we shouldn't miss?

While I'm at it, a few other specific questions about Tokyo dining:

1. Looking for a straightforward dinner spot on a Thursday night before a big test. We're staying near Aoyama Ichome (not the most exciting area), so anywhere easy to get to on the subway from there is preferable.

2. We're always up for some ramen, though we have our fair share in Sapporo. Not to be missed ramen spots? (Ivan? Fu unji? Ikaruga? Bassanova? Intrigued by the green curry but ONLY if it's exceptionally good)

3. Are the dumplings at Gyoza Stadium worth seeking out? We are fiends for dumplings in Hong Kong and Korea but don't have so many up good spots here in Hokkaido.

4. Tenpura...would love to have some amazing tenpura but don't really want to have a splurge dinner on it. Would be sufficient to eat it with soba or udon. I've heard Asakusa is a good area for tenpura but have no specific recommendations.

This is short notice since we're leaving on Thursday but any tips or thoughts to narrow down our izakaya list (and augment our yakitori options!) would be much appreciated!


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