The Bianco Guide to: Tokyo Food for Advanced Students
*Update: I’ve added a google maps (here) to this guide now. You now will be able to see all the places I’ve visited, from Ramen to Izakayas (in the future) and Matcha greatness on a big map that puts them all together in one master list. Lovely right? Check it out here, share it and eat it. Actually, everything is perfect and tasty on this list, but if you’re close to one of the places marked as a star, you should stop thinking about where to go next and become Super Mario on Nintendo 64 and hunt those sites down.
Once you had a taste of Tokyos beautiful food scene and hopefully read my guide for beginners, you will start to feel little Ash Ketchum growing inside of you, screaming at you to dig deeper into this mad town of crazy good food. But screw Pikachu, Ash Ketchum got old and fat and is all about that next ramen and highball whiskey.
This guide will provide you with a little more specific places and will reveal more aspects to become a real Tokyo food hero.
I know you went to Tokyo to eat the best Japanese food of your lifetime, but you should always be aware of one major key in the Japanese way of living: If there is one thing the Japanese do best, then its everything. From ice cream to cheesecakes to pizza, the Japanese cuisine is assimilating foreign food and adds extra magic to it like "the Borg" (that is an Star Trek reference) and master to cook it like the straight OG's who invented that food on a perfect level. Since pizza is kinda the ramen of the western hemisphere, you should definitely check out Seirinkan. This place looks like straight from a steampunk anime (cool), it only offers two different pizzas on the menu (good) and it serves a collection of starters that would shed tears of joy into the eyes of an old Sicilian grand father (mama mia). The pizza is as simple and smart as it gets: An essential and basic selection of the best ingredients is put into the stone baking oven for just 60 seconds to create an one of a kind pizza experience. It's the simple things that can turn into the monster things and this pizza is the Boggie Man with an AK 47. A slightly salty olive-oil-soggy-dough, the perfect amount of garlic and the fresh and juicy taste of the tomato sauce - "Yo you took your pizza game up a whole 'nother level! This is some Cirque du Soleil pizza now!" (thats a Kanye West reference). GET THIS PIZZA!
open: 11:30am-1:30pm 6pm-8:30pm location: click
Soba Noodles Tsuta
To top your Itchiran experience from my first guide (read the damn guide c'mon) you should now finally become a master of Ramen and head to the mighty Tsuta. This place is the first Ramen-Ya (restaurant that only serves Ramen) that has been awarded with a Michelin Star - and it's totally worth the whole Milky Way of stars. This place is something special and worth the (long) wait. Since a lot of other ramen hunters know this place by now, please show up early and take a ticket to wait for about 2 hours, to then show up again and wait for another 20-40 minutes. Since I am smart and sometimes well prepared (and so should you) I spent the two hours waiting in the wonderful Rikugien Garden near Tsuta eating Kagigori (shaved ice), watching koi, feeling like a samurai.
Once the (beautiful) wait is over and you finally made it into the Tsuta and find yourself staring at his eminent chef Yuki Onishi preparing your meal, you will pretty fast understand that this place is totally worth the wait. First of all please try to order different dishes! Since most of the people ordering the signature Shoyu Soba (chicken-seafood broth, soy sauce blend, truffle oil, fucking amazing), they might forget that Yuki got his star for the whole menu, not just his one signature (fucking amazing) dish. I ordered the Dipping Soda and my friend went for the Shoyu Soba and we both went straight to heaven with our choices. The overall experience is like a dream, the way Yuki and his crew are cooking soba noodles and adding little bits of magic and all different kind of extras to your bowl is out of this world and I do not want to tell you anything about that, because you all got to see it by yourself. The grand finale of Heisenberg cooking up the blue meth ramen of the universe wont be spoiled. Get there and eat it (please!!).
open: 11am-4pm location: click
The Peak Bar - Grand Hyatt Tokyo
Lets pull out a big and romantic gun now. It is not about food this time, it is all about fancy drinks and the view of your lifetime. Do not be afraid of the big name and potentially high prices, this place is totally worth it. At the very last floor of this mad crazy 52 story skyscraper, the bar of every Bill Murray x Johansson x Tokyo collabo fan is waiting for you. Thats right, Bill Murray was drinking whiskey in this place, meeting Scarlett, sharing a bed with a red haired woman and so on... It's a tough challenge not to shed a little tear while watching over Tokyo at night, while being in that memorable place, while drinking a Moscow Mule, while smoking a cigarette, while someone playing the piano, while someone is singing along. Maybe, just maybe I am a sentimental cunt, but this moment hit me damn hard and you definitely should also jump in this Hyatt octagon to fight this McGregor style moment. It's a straight KO!
open: 5pm-11:30pm location: click
Tsukiji Fish Market
It's still not quite sure when they will tear this lovely memorable market down for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so you better hurry and get a piece of Tokyo history into your mind and stomach. There are several good things to do at this place. You can either show up at 3 or 4 in the morning, wait in a small room with a bunch of other tourist while wearing stupid coloured vests for another hour and then get straight into the real fish market, watch the beautiful tuna auction, eat the freshest Sushi you ever had for breakfast and never forget it for your entire life. (check this guide)
... our you choose plan B: Come a little bit later, skip the auction, still get the breakfast, stay around the whole market aera, that is crowded with lots of good restaurants and fresh fish and be happy without being completely knocked down by the all-nighter tuna action you have to get trough with plan A. It's still a boss experience but you're kind of a twat doing so. So be strong and be there at 3 in the morning. You are probably one of the last people who will ever enjoy this experience. Go tell it your grandchildren one day.