With the temperatures dropping, winter is the Japanese time for hot pots, or nabe as they’re locally known. So why not join in this seasonal tradition? Gather ’round the bubbling broth and dip some delectable delights in your favorite choice of flavor!
Just opened on October 2, Iwaka-Mutsukari is a Japanese restaurant that focuses on natural food. The vegetables are sourced directly from farms, the pork and poultry are raised drug-free and even the brown rice is germinated right at the restaurant. The top-choice herbed pork hagoromo shabu-shabu puts a fresh spin on nabe by wrapping the dipping pork in raw vegetables for a brand-new taste experience.
Reservations for four or more people will receive their first drinks free.
1-4-10 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-6277-0248. Open Mon-Sat 5-11:30pm. Nearest station: Ebisu. www.iwaka-mutsukari.jp
Take off your shoes beneath the glowering image of Toshiro Mifune and enter a dojo-like world of hanging banners and wooden swords, where all of the dishes aspire to recreate the simplicity and excitement of the food the great actor once loved.
The top pick is the appropriately powerful Spicy Japanese Shabu-shabu Hot Pot, a red pepper dish that will have you coming back for more. Finish it off with free noodles or rice to complete the experience.
1F Utsumi Bldg, 7-18-7 Roppongi, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6804-5548. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-2pm (lunch), 5pm-11:30pm (dinner). Nearest station: Roppongi.
Operating in a renovated Taisho-era house, the first floor of Nidaime Uoyamachi is an open kitchen with counter seats, while the second floor consists of private rooms.
Be sure to try the pork shabu-shabu nabe in bonito broth, and the mild-tasting Uoyamachi original maewari shochu is a must-try.
Enjoy izakaya food at affordable prices in a cozy atmosphere.
5-24-12 Shiba, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-6435-0477. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch), 5pm-midnight (dinner); Sat 5pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Nearest station: Tamachi.
Robata Jinya Ebisu
Enjoy country cuisine at Robata Jinya, a little restaurant with an atmosphere full of happy energy.
The oyster and boned chicken mizutaki nabe is a must-try. Enjoy it down to the last bite by adding rice and finishing the nabe off as a porridge.
The straw-grilled katsuo is also a shop specialty, its scent of burning straw giving the dish a unique and delicious aroma.
1F Maison 115, 1-15-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3443-0577. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch), 5pm-midnight (dinner); Sat- Sun 5pm-midnight. Nearest station: Ebisu. http://r.gnavi.co.jp/g431303/lang/en
Created with the image of a mirage in the desert in mind, Sabakurou has a reputation for creative Japanese cuisine with a hint of Cali flavor.
The top picks are the tomato bouillabaisse seafood nabe and the shrimp toast: the latter’s Jenga-style interweaving of crispy fried bread and plump shrimp is also popular at Sabakurou’s award-winning Hollywood branch.
B1 Maison 115, 1-15-4 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3441-5877. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch), 5pm-midnight (dinner); Sat 5pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Nearest station: Ebisu.
Setouchi Suigun provides pirate-themed cuisine with fish shipped fresh from the Seto Inland Sea, which was terrorized by various pirate groups—or suigun—during the Warring States period.
The nabe was traditionally eaten before battle, its octopus ensuring victory over enemies on all sides. Or warm your shivered timbers by the fireplace as you scarf a whole sea bream with rice.
1F Hioki Bldg, 5-24-3 Shiba, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-3451-3977. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm (lunch), 5pm-midnight (dinner); Sat 5pm-midnight. Closed Sun & hols. Nearest station: Tamachi.