September 26, 2023
Tokyo’s Best New Restaurants 2023
Seafood Bar Ermitage 代々木店
A quaint little bistro tucked into the quiet streets of Yoyogi, this spot serves one of the most original, raucous brunch menus in the city. Having just opened this March, it has quickly made a name for itself with its salmon belly katsudon. Resplendent with sides of ikura and a make-it-yourself tartar sauce, this simple dish of deep-fried salmon over rice is both posh and approachable. On the other side of the brunch menu, an arrabbiata spaghetti that is so unmoored from tradition, it more readily resembles a hellish puttanesca tan-tan noodle soup hybrid. One bite, however, and you’ll find this pasta dish is more than worth its mettle. Tangy, savory, and exceedingly spicy, it is the perfect counterpart and fiery foil to the gentle luxury of the salmon katsudon.
1-45-4 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku
5 min. walk from Yoyogi Station
Views of bustling Ebisu below, an assortment of premium whiskeys poured into highballs, chirashidon of the highest quality always at the ready, Fukumimi is an izakaya kissed by opulence. Kosuke Fukutome, the chef and owner, had a distinct vision when he opened Fukumimi in October of last year: elevation of a form. Plates are small, servings are prepared with intention, and flavors flex their subtlety at every turn. It’s the anti-izakaya. Karaage? Try chicken lollipops, fried to perfection, and served with only a small dollop of house yuzu kosho. Shime saba? Here, it’s miso-marinated black cod a la Nobu, dressed with refreshing grated daikon and nothing more. It’s all very grand, but the kitchen staff never lets it go to their heads. A motley izakaya crew at heart, restaurant-wide toasts to celebrate any occasion (or for no reason at all) are quite frequent.
2-3-15 Ebisuminami, Shibuya-ku 2F
2 min. walk from Ebisu Station
Sakaba Narukuchi (酒場 なるくち)
Embedded on the third floor of a nondescript Kagurazaka complex, you’ll find Narukuchi, an izakaya teeming with sentimentality. Takehiro Ueda, the chef and owner, has a flair for the nostalgic, apparent in both his rustic menu and the glass bottles of traditional sodas that line the walls of the establishment. The dishes here hinge on simple ingredients and masterful execution. The house fried chicken, with its world-class crisp, comes bathed in its own aromatic broth. Meanwhile, the steamed tai rice bowl arrives at your seat with far more pomp than most izakaya would allow, and is splendid in its sweetly perfumed simplicity. To pair, sugary suds from Narukuchi’s soda library are poured over shochu and ice. Showa-era libations combined with ageless kitchen offerings make Narukuchi an immediate classic.
3-2 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku 3F
4 min. walk from Iidabashi Station
Come one, come all! Witness the most perplexing and impossible menu mankind has ever conceived. EUREKA!, which opened in November of last year, is continuing the legacy of the late, great Ebisu sake house, Gem by Moto, in glowing fashion. Still helmed by Marie Chiba, EUREKA! is pushing concepts of flavor and ingredient combinations to heights never conceived at her old haunt. Smoked egg with squid ink-garlic mayo, Wagyu tataki with kiwi sherbet and manchego cheese, and seaweed, oyster, and blue cheese ruibe are just a few of the maniacal dishes you’ll find sprinkled throughout the extensive menu. The food, though, is just the supporting cast. The stars are the bizarre bottles of sake that Chiba has waiting for unsuspecting diners. Those brave enough to trust her recommendations will find themselves sipping rice wine that’s been peat smoked, naturally fermented, or aged since the 1990s.
4-11-28 Nishiazabu, Minato City 2F
11 min. walk from Roppongi, Minato-ku
Ebisu’s hit contemporary tea house, uRn., quickly made a name for itself last year with its daily selection of custom tea blends and brewed chai. Building off its success in Tokyo’s West side, uRn. opened its second location on June 30 in Nihonbashi’s Coredo 3 building. With a larger floor plan and expanded kitchen, Tokyo’s latest tea connoisseurs are slinging their signature chai blends accompanied by a full food menu packed with paninis, scones, and polenta cakes of deft design. Also new to uRn. is a proper tea parlor where customers can build their own tea blends to be brewed at home. Even uRn.’s jiggly teas, the jelly-laden delicacies from the Ebisu location, have found their way here, this time with a larger foothold that includes seasonal flavors like watermelon and lemongrass.
1-5-5 Muromachi, Chuo-ku 2F
5 min. walk from Shin-Nihonbashi Station
If you haven’t heard of ARC, get off the train at Kuramae Station and walk a couple blocks west. You’ll see the hype. From the cafe’s doors, a line of improbable length stretches down the street before curling around the block’s corner and beyond. Opening on May 10, ARC has been an immediate success. With an ultra-chic interior featuring a geometric cow print countertop, a retro tube amp broadcasting classic jazz, and a hyper-focused menu of espresso drinks, avocado toast, and natural wine, ARC specializes in the modern concordance of cool. To its credit, the drinks and food on offer are quite good, but it’s ARC’s ambient rhapsody that keeps locals and tourists in equal measure basking in its warm lights until the late hours of the evening.
2-3-4 Torigoe, Taito-ku
7 min. walk from Kuramae Station
The Jade Room & Garden Terrace
Perched on the 31st floor of The Tokyo EDITION, Toranomon Hotel, The Jade Room & Garden Terrace are the newest additions to the city’s ever-growing collection of rooftop bars and restaurants. The Jade Room & Garden Terrace, both of which opened in October of last year, boast menus created by Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens. While The Jade Room maintains multiple prix-fixed menus, it’s the Garden Terrace that enjoys unmatched views of Tokyo Tower and the neighboring Toranomon district. Snacks here are plush, with small bites like Japanese razor clam with bacon jam and squid broth, or shishito peppers prepared with dill flowers. The drinks, as much as the food, match the height of the setting with several vintage champagnes by the bottle, boozy sorbet floats, and unique bottled cocktails created exclusively for the restaurant.
4-1-1 Toranomon, Minato-ku
4 min walk from Kamiyacho Station
Not exclusively new, but wonderfully reimagined all the same, No., the hip Uehara coffee bar, has reopened its doors in a new address just west of Yoyogi. Taking its cues from the great Nordic coffee houses throughout Tokyo, No.’s interior design is a luminous study in mid-century minimalism. The pour-overs, cold brews, and lattes are as good as they’ve ever been and the bar boasts an extended collection of spirits and liqueurs. This plays out in marvelous fashion after 6 pm, when No. Transitions to serving a full bar menu. The entire cocktail list is first-rate, but their espresso martini is one of the best in the city. Made with Setagaya’s own Raw Sugar Roast coffee beans, its sharp, bitter bouquet makes for the perfect end to an evening.
1-32-3 Uehara, Shibuya-ku
2 min. walk from Yoyogi-Uehara Station
Resuming operations this February, THE HISAKA rose from the rubble of its old abode in Takada with a new name and a blustery new cocktail menu. However, a great task now lies ahead of would-be imbibers at this side street speakeasy. Once entering the liquor shop, one must locate the well-hidden door to the bar with no more than side glances and sly snickers from the employees on hand. If you’re lucky enough to slide the correct panel into the wall (no hints shall be given here) you’ll be rewarded with one of the most extensive gin collections in all of greater Kanto. Each and every bottle can be readily mixed with tonic, but it’s the original drinks that are downright deviant. Gin, mezcal, chili, soda and eel sauce? How about gin, sherry, green bell pepper and rice cracker? These are just a few of the otherworldly concoctions to be discovered at this offbeat bar.
3-8-5 Takada, Toshima-ku
4 min. walk from Takadanobaba Station
In 2022, World’s 50 Best ranked Central in Lima, Peru the best restaurant in the world. Later that same year, Central’s chef and visionary Virgilio Martinez opened MAZ in Tokyo. What is there to say about MAZ? It bends one’s expectations of dining, of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, and of sheer possibility. In layman’s terms, imagine a gastronomic teamLab experience. That places you somewhere near MAZ’s exospheric intentions. The nine-course dinner takes you on a journey through the vertical world of Peru. Each plate represents a different altitude, and the ingredients reflect both their obvious Japanese surroundings and their Peruvian terroir. Suppon, Japanese turtle stewed with corn and chincho, a Peruvian herb. Botan ebi, sweet shrimp, served with blue spirulina foam and yacon, Peruvian daisy root. Each dish is vastly different from the next and the entire event is a complete whirlwind from start to finish. A singular experience. An exceptional meal.
1-3 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku 3F
7 min. walk from Nagatacho Station