Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on February 2008
A few years ago, everyone seemed to be talking about the new restaurants in the Marunouchi Building. There were long lines outside each of the 30-plus eateries even on weekday evenings, and reservations were essential on the weekend. That popularity has not waned. Even with the recently opened Shin-Marunouchi Building next door, people are still coming from all around Tokyo to vie for a dinner seat at the “old” Maru Biru. And for good cause: reasonable prices, fine food, and breathtaking cityscape views all add up to a perfect evening.
We arrived at 8pm on a Friday to find Cita Cita seemingly full of diners in office attire—and were relieved to learn that there was exactly one free table. This being only the fifth floor, we weren’t expecting much in the way of a view, but as we were shown to a window-side table near the back of the spacious interior, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the red brick Tokyo Station building was directly below us.
Cita Cita’s rather extensive cocktail list was placed at our table by the attentive staff. I was happy to see a number of bottled Asian beers on offer, and had a hard time choosing between the Bintang from Indonesia and the 333 from Vietnam (both ¥900); I went with the former. My companion started with a Kir Imperial (¥1,200), a slightly tart cocktail made with black raspberry juice. We enjoyed our drinks with the shrimp, avocado and tomato salad (¥1,240), which was lightly topped with a tangy sesame dressing.
We moved on to an order of Shanghai-style stir-fried vegetables (¥1,100), fresh seasonal leafy greens lightly sautéed in sesame oil and garlic. We enjoyed this delightfully piquant dish while perusing the menu. With dim sum, noodle and rice dishes and pho soups available, it was difficult to choose what to get next, so we decided to try a little bit of everything.
We returned to the drink menu and ordered a 333 (pronounced ba ba ba) and a Ber Sama Sama (¥950), which is a cocktail made of passion fruit and iced English black tea. Ready to dive into the rest of the food menu, we ordered Taiwanese-style stir-fried flat noodles (¥1,280), which reminded us of Japanese yakisoba or pad thai, with generous portions of crisp vegetables, shrimp and squid. From the dim sum menu we chose the yuba, vegetable and shiitake steamed rolls (¥1,180), which arrived at the table still in the steamer, warm and succulent.
Wanting to enjoy the nice night view from our table a bit longer, we lingered over a dessert of anin-dofu and mango custard (each ¥480), along with Vietnamese black tea (¥820). We left feeling very satisfied with our meal and understanding why this Maru Biru restaurant continues to be so popular.