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The 14 Hottest New Restaurants in Tokyo

Where to find perfectly grilled yakitori, ace ramen, and classic French bistro fare

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Here now, Eater returns to Tokyo, Japan, to focus on 14 newish restaurants that have been garnering some serious buzz. Once again, Japan Times food writer and prolific Instagrammer Robbie Swinnerton has kindly offered up his picks for the hottest openings of the past year or so.

Many of the city's favorite foods are presented among his picks, like yakitori (Yakitori Imai), ramen (Ginza Kazami, Muginae), and sushi (Higashi-Azabu Amamoto). Some culinary essentials recently relocated, infusing them with new energy (Sakurai Tea Experience, DEN) while one spot flew so under the radar that even though it opened in November 2015 it's still incredibly hot right now (Miyasaka).

Looking for the essentials? Head to the 38. But for the buzziest openings right this minute, dive into the Eater Heatmap to Tokyo:

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Argile

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Royal Crystal Ginza 7F, 5-4-6 Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo
+81-3-3575-5115
Visit Website
The progeny of the always-excellent Esquisse, Argile is in the same Ginza building (two floors down) but its look is very different: textured clay walls, lots of timber, and little natural light. The man in charge is Teruki Murashima, who worked under chef Lionel Beccat at Esquisse from the outset. The menus are simpler and the prices more affordable. What’s not to like?

A post shared by Keiko.K (@kelko_u) on

2. Bistro Marx

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Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo
中央区Ginza, 5−8−1 GINZA PLACE 7F
+81-3-6280-6234
Visit Website
It was only a matter of when, not if, avowed Japanophile chef Thierry Marx brought his Michelin-two-star Parisian expertise to Tokyo, and he’s made up for lost time by opening two places at once. His eponymous compact fine-dining restaurant is the showcase for his modernist chops, but it’s the bistro next door that really has the city buzzing. The hottest tables are those on the open-air terrace that boast views (weather permitting) down over the iconic crossing in the heart of Ginza.
2-3-18 Jingūmae
Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō
+81-3-6455-5433
Visit Website
Leaving his iconic Jimbocho address behind, dynamic chef–owner Zaiyu Hasegawa has moved his essential Japanese restaurant to the Jingumae district. The look is very different — much brighter, more spacious, and more open — but the welcome is as warm as ever. Hasegawa’s innovative cuisine remains both complex and satisfying, with ideas and influences that are audacious and humorous. Expect foie gras in your appetizer and ants in your salad, along with his signature “Dentucky Fried Chicken.”

4. Esquisse Cinq

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5 Chome-2-1 Ginza
中央区 Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
+81 3-5537-7477
Visit Website
For the past four years, Kazutoshi Narita has been the man responsible for the exquisite dessert courses at Esquisse. Now he has his own place to showcase the patisserie skills that first brought him to prominence in Joël Robuchon’s Atelier group. Besides his choice of seasonal desserts, he also offers chocolates — with home-grown flavors such as yuzu persimmon — along with an array of colorful macarons.

5. Ginza Shinohara

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Ginza
Chuo, Tokyo
+81-3-6263-0345
Visit Website
Shinohara’s arrival in Tokyo was for many people the opening of 2016. After a decade in the hills above Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, chef Takemasa Shinohara’s restaurant had become a place of gastronomic pilgrimage where diners indulged in his creative takes on traditional cuisine featuring local wild ingredients such as bear, boar, and other game. His move to the capital has been near-seamless, and seats at his counter are now among the most prized reservations in the city.

6. Koffee Mameya

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4 Chome-15-3 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku
Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan
+81-3-5413-9422
Visit Website
Omotesandō Koffee is dead: long live Koffee Mameya. Coffee guru Eiichi Kunitomo’s much-loved espresso counter disappeared when the old building was torn down. Now, a year later, it’s been reincarnated in the same spot, but with a new name, a sharp new look, and a new approach. These days Kunitomo curates beans from a range of roasters, most in Japan but some as far afield as Melbourne or Hong Kong, and the focus is less on espresso and more on hand-drip.

A post shared by rin-ha (@rin_ha) on

7. Ginza Kazami

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4-13, Ginza 6-Chōme, Chuo
Tōkyō 104-0061, Japan
+81 3-3572-0737
Before opening his superb little ramen counter, Hidenori Ohata worked for a while at nearby Kagari (a chef favorite), but his ideas at Kazami are all his own. Just try his warming, umami-rich sake kasu (sake lees) ramen, or his fragrant shio (salt) noodles, to which he adds a dash of Noilly Prat vermouth to offset the seafood flavor he derives from five kinds of dried fish. Tucked away down a narrow Ginza alley, there is no finer or classier ramenya in the city right now.

8. Sincere (シンシア)

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東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷3丁目7−13, Tokyo
Tōkyō 151-0051, Japan
+81 3-6804-2006
Visit Website
Chef Shinsuke Ishii is back. After a year in limbo following the sudden demise of Bacar, the hugely popular super-bistro in Shibuya where he made his name, he finally has a place worthy of his skills. Sincere is a major step up in terms of both scale and style, with more tables, a larger kitchen, and a bigger team working under him. And while he still keeps many of his signature dishes on the menu — from his brilliant seafood cocktail to his trademark cubic brioche breads — his Japanese-inflected French cuisine is even better than ever.

9. Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

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5-6-23 Minamiaoyama
Minato-ku, Tōkyō
+81-3-6451-1539
Visit Website
Japan’s national drink, green tea, can be frustratingly hard to find in Tokyo. That makes Shinya Sakurai’s specialist tearoom, Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience, such an essential port of call. Book a seat at his beautiful counter and sit back as he or one of the other resident tea masters whisks up sharply bitter powdered matcha, steeps delicate sencha leaf tea, or brews aromatic roasted hojicha. It’s far from a traditional tea ceremony, but the effect is both energizing and wonderfully calming.

10. Miyasaka

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4-26-12 Minamiaoyama
Minato-ku, Tōkyō
+81-3-6805-0058
Visit Website
Even in the hierarchical world of traditional Japanese cuisine, few chefs pay as many dues before striking out on their own as Noboru Miyasaka did. He spent 11 years apprenticing in Tokyo before moving to Kyoto for another decade at the legendary three-Michelin-star Mizai. When he finally returned to open his own restaurant in Aoyama last November, he launched it with such discretion that it flew under the radar. One year in, he has two Michelin stars to his name, and these days seats at his minimalist eight-seat counter are at a premium.

11. Mixology Experience Roppongi

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6-2-35 Roppongi, Tokyo
Tōkyō, Japan
Self-styled “grand mixologist” Shuzo Nagumo has a new location to add to his growing stable of bars. Alongside many of the idiosyncratic creations that have made his name — foie gras vodka, a blue cheese martini, and the excellent tom yum cooler — expect to find Roppongi-only numbers such as a milk-washed hop gin tonic and his umami sour, topped with freshly shaved katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Marrying style and consummate poise with Nagumo’s eclectic drinks roster, the Mixology Experience is a welcome addition to Roppongi’s nightlife options.

12. Higashi-Azabu Amamoto (東麻布 天本)

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Higashiazabu 1-7-9, Tokyo
Tōkyō 106-0044, Japan
+81 3-6885-2274
Chef Masamichi Amamoto has pedigree aplenty. He spent nine years as second in command at Umi, the superb sushiya in Aoyama. He has also spent time in the kitchens at two of the most revered traditional Japanese restaurants, Shinohara in Shiga (which has now relocated to Ginza) and Gion Sasaki in Kyoto. So there was huge anticipation when he opened his self-named restaurant in Higashi-Azabu, combining the two aspects of his training. The two Michelin stars he won in only a few months are a testament to his skills.

A post shared by Satoko (@stk_hnd) on

13. Homemade Ramen Muginae

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南大井6-11-10, Shinagawa
Tōkyō 140-0013, Japan
+81 3-3298-5158
Visit Website
“Our passion for ramen makes the town a better place.” Muginae more than lives up to its (English) slogan: everything about this newcomer on the southern side of the city shouts quality. Homemade noodles, free-range chicken broth, a blend of artisan soy sauces, and zero chemical flavor enhancements — it all adds up to a superb ramen that more than justifies the train ride out from the center of town and the inevitable hour-long lines.

14. Yakitori Imai (焼鳥今井)

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神宮前3-42-11, Shibuya
Tōkyō 150-0001, Japan
+81 3-6447-1710
Visit Website
Grillmaster Takashi Imai began his career at Bird Land and its offshoot Bird Court, but he made his name at the intimate self-named grill that he ran solo in the Sendagi area until last year. Now he's resurfaced with a very different type of operation: The new Yakitori Imai is sleek and modern, with a crew of black-clad waiters and a spacious open kitchen. Alongside his excellent chicken, Imai offers premium meats such as French pigeon and Basque pork, plus a range of grilled vegetables from a second grill. A very welcome addition to the increasingly essential Jingumae district.

1. Argile

Royal Crystal Ginza 7F, 5-4-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
The progeny of the always-excellent Esquisse, Argile is in the same Ginza building (two floors down) but its look is very different: textured clay walls, lots of timber, and little natural light. The man in charge is Teruki Murashima, who worked under chef Lionel Beccat at Esquisse from the outset. The menus are simpler and the prices more affordable. What’s not to like?

A post shared by Keiko.K (@kelko_u) on

Royal Crystal Ginza 7F, 5-4-6 Ginza
Chuo-ku, Tokyo

2. Bistro Marx

Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo, 中央区Ginza, 5−8−1 GINZA PLACE 7F
It was only a matter of when, not if, avowed Japanophile chef Thierry Marx brought his Michelin-two-star Parisian expertise to Tokyo, and he’s made up for lost time by opening two places at once. His eponymous compact fine-dining restaurant is the showcase for his modernist chops, but it’s the bistro next door that really has the city buzzing. The hottest tables are those on the open-air terrace that boast views (weather permitting) down over the iconic crossing in the heart of Ginza.
Japan, 〒104-0061 Tokyo
中央区Ginza, 5−8−1 GINZA PLACE 7F

3. Den

2-3-18 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō
Leaving his iconic Jimbocho address behind, dynamic chef–owner Zaiyu Hasegawa has moved his essential Japanese restaurant to the Jingumae district. The look is very different — much brighter, more spacious, and more open — but the welcome is as warm as ever. Hasegawa’s innovative cuisine remains both complex and satisfying, with ideas and influences that are audacious and humorous. Expect foie gras in your appetizer and ants in your salad, along with his signature “Dentucky Fried Chicken.”
2-3-18 Jingūmae
Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō

4. Esquisse Cinq

5 Chome-2-1 Ginza, 中央区 Tokyo 104-0061, Japan
For the past four years, Kazutoshi Narita has been the man responsible for the exquisite dessert courses at Esquisse. Now he has his own place to showcase the patisserie skills that first brought him to prominence in Joël Robuchon’s Atelier group. Besides his choice of seasonal desserts, he also offers chocolates — with home-grown flavors such as yuzu persimmon — along with an array of colorful macarons.
5 Chome-2-1 Ginza
中央区 Tokyo 104-0061, Japan

5. Ginza Shinohara

Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
Shinohara’s arrival in Tokyo was for many people the opening of 2016. After a decade in the hills above Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, chef Takemasa Shinohara’s restaurant had become a place of gastronomic pilgrimage where diners indulged in his creative takes on traditional cuisine featuring local wild ingredients such as bear, boar, and other game. His move to the capital has been near-seamless, and seats at his counter are now among the most prized reservations in the city.
Ginza
Chuo, Tokyo

6. Koffee Mameya

4 Chome-15-3 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku, Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan
Omotesandō Koffee is dead: long live Koffee Mameya. Coffee guru Eiichi Kunitomo’s much-loved espresso counter disappeared when the old building was torn down. Now, a year later, it’s been reincarnated in the same spot, but with a new name, a sharp new look, and a new approach. These days Kunitomo curates beans from a range of roasters, most in Japan but some as far afield as Melbourne or Hong Kong, and the focus is less on espresso and more on hand-drip.

A post shared by rin-ha (@rin_ha) on

4 Chome-15-3 Jingūmae, Shibuya-ku
Tōkyō-to 150-0001, Japan

7. Ginza Kazami

4-13, Ginza 6-Chōme, Chuo, Tōkyō 104-0061, Japan
Before opening his superb little ramen counter, Hidenori Ohata worked for a while at nearby Kagari (a chef favorite), but his ideas at Kazami are all his own. Just try his warming, umami-rich sake kasu (sake lees) ramen, or his fragrant shio (salt) noodles, to which he adds a dash of Noilly Prat vermouth to offset the seafood flavor he derives from five kinds of dried fish. Tucked away down a narrow Ginza alley, there is no finer or classier ramenya in the city right now.
4-13, Ginza 6-Chōme, Chuo
Tōkyō 104-0061, Japan

8. Sincere (シンシア)

東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷3丁目7−13, Tokyo, Tōkyō 151-0051, Japan
Chef Shinsuke Ishii is back. After a year in limbo following the sudden demise of Bacar, the hugely popular super-bistro in Shibuya where he made his name, he finally has a place worthy of his skills. Sincere is a major step up in terms of both scale and style, with more tables, a larger kitchen, and a bigger team working under him. And while he still keeps many of his signature dishes on the menu — from his brilliant seafood cocktail to his trademark cubic brioche breads — his Japanese-inflected French cuisine is even better than ever.
東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷3丁目7−13, Tokyo
Tōkyō 151-0051, Japan

9. Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience

5-6-23 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō
Japan’s national drink, green tea, can be frustratingly hard to find in Tokyo. That makes Shinya Sakurai’s specialist tearoom, Sakurai Japanese Tea Experience, such an essential port of call. Book a seat at his beautiful counter and sit back as he or one of the other resident tea masters whisks up sharply bitter powdered matcha, steeps delicate sencha leaf tea, or brews aromatic roasted hojicha. It’s far from a traditional tea ceremony, but the effect is both energizing and wonderfully calming.
5-6-23 Minamiaoyama
Minato-ku, Tōkyō

10. Miyasaka

4-26-12 Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tōkyō
Even in the hierarchical world of traditional Japanese cuisine, few chefs pay as many dues before striking out on their own as Noboru Miyasaka did. He spent 11 years apprenticing in Tokyo before moving to Kyoto for another decade at the legendary three-Michelin-star Mizai. When he finally returned to open his own restaurant in Aoyama last November, he launched it with such discretion that it flew under the radar. One year in, he has two Michelin stars to his name, and these days seats at his minimalist eight-seat counter are at a premium.
4-26-12 Minamiaoyama
Minato-ku, Tōkyō

11. Mixology Experience Roppongi

6-2-35 Roppongi, Tokyo, Tōkyō, Japan
Self-styled “grand mixologist” Shuzo Nagumo has a new location to add to his growing stable of bars. Alongside many of the idiosyncratic creations that have made his name — foie gras vodka, a blue cheese martini, and the excellent tom yum cooler — expect to find Roppongi-only numbers such as a milk-washed hop gin tonic and his umami sour, topped with freshly shaved katsuobushi (bonito flakes). Marrying style and consummate poise with Nagumo’s eclectic drinks roster, the Mixology Experience is a welcome addition to Roppongi’s nightlife options.
6-2-35 Roppongi, Tokyo
Tōkyō, Japan

12. Higashi-Azabu Amamoto (東麻布 天本)

Higashiazabu 1-7-9, Tokyo, Tōkyō 106-0044, Japan
Chef Masamichi Amamoto has pedigree aplenty. He spent nine years as second in command at Umi, the superb sushiya in Aoyama. He has also spent time in the kitchens at two of the most revered traditional Japanese restaurants, Shinohara in Shiga (which has now relocated to Ginza) and Gion Sasaki in Kyoto. So there was huge anticipation when he opened his self-named restaurant in Higashi-Azabu, combining the two aspects of his training. The two Michelin stars he won in only a few months are a testament to his skills.

A post shared by Satoko (@stk_hnd) on

Higashiazabu 1-7-9, Tokyo
Tōkyō 106-0044, Japan

13. Homemade Ramen Muginae

南大井6-11-10, Shinagawa, Tōkyō 140-0013, Japan
“Our passion for ramen makes the town a better place.” Muginae more than lives up to its (English) slogan: everything about this newcomer on the southern side of the city shouts quality. Homemade noodles, free-range chicken broth, a blend of artisan soy sauces, and zero chemical flavor enhancements — it all adds up to a superb ramen that more than justifies the train ride out from the center of town and the inevitable hour-long lines.
南大井6-11-10, Shinagawa
Tōkyō 140-0013, Japan

14. Yakitori Imai (焼鳥今井)

神宮前3-42-11, Shibuya, Tōkyō 150-0001, Japan
Grillmaster Takashi Imai began his career at Bird Land and its offshoot Bird Court, but he made his name at the intimate self-named grill that he ran solo in the Sendagi area until last year. Now he's resurfaced with a very different type of operation: The new Yakitori Imai is sleek and modern, with a crew of black-clad waiters and a spacious open kitchen. Alongside his excellent chicken, Imai offers premium meats such as French pigeon and Basque pork, plus a range of grilled vegetables from a second grill. A very welcome addition to the increasingly essential Jingumae district.
神宮前3-42-11, Shibuya
Tōkyō 150-0001, Japan

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