Under the Yurakucho railway tracks lies Kiya, a modest, authentic, and unsuspecting eatery whose eclectic mix of Japanese food includes various rice bowls, sukiyaki, and udon (¥890-¥1,320). Simple, yet wholesome and tasty side dishes such as grilled sardines (¥650), sautéed eringi mushrooms (¥670), and chorizo wonton (¥670) are offered.
The decor is uninspiring and reminiscent of an onsen diner. However, the food is authentic, unpretentious, and very satisfying.
I couldn’t resist tentoji don, the shrimp bowl (¥1,220), and was presented with a rice bowl topped with three large shrimp and fluffy egg topping, miso soup, and pickles. It was delicious and wonderful comfort food. With a strong yearning to sample more of these “grandma-style” homemade treats, I scanned the menu for an additional side dish. The choice was not easy.
The locals ate furiously, in silence and with gusto. One can never eat enough fish, so I chose the grilled dry sardines (¥650). Those who enjoy the very salty and the dry will most definitely be in heaven.
The clientele are all locals. A mixture of salarymen, grandmas with grandchildren likely on a special day out, and local ladies lunching.
This place offers a satisfying meal and will show you where the locals hide during lunchtime—in a great little restaurant under the railway tracks of Yurakucho. It makes one wonder what other hidden restaurants, bars, and beautiful cafés or fashion boutiques Tokyo is hiding underground that most may not be aware of.
If you’re after affordable, unpretentious, homemade-like Japanese food, then welcome to grandma’s—or Kiya’s. The names are interchangeable.
2-1-4 Yurakucho, Chiyoda-ku. Tel: 03 3580 6788. Open 11am-3am weekdays, 11am-10pm Sat, Sun & hols. Nearest station: Yurakucho (exits A6 or A2). Various branches.