Restaurants in Tokyo are known for shokunin, the people who focus on a single skill to the point of obsession. These chefs dedicate their lives to the smallest details of a cuisine: the optimal temperature for the oil when frying tempura, the perfect texture for sushi rice, the ideal sear on grilled unagi. This long-term commitment separates Tokyo from the other great dining cities in the world, and it has fostered a lot of continuity in the restaurant scene; some of the earliest restaurants in Tokyo also served sushi, tempura, and unagi, along with oyakodon chicken and eggs over rice, soba, sukiyaki, tonkatsu, and other specialties still represented in restaurants today.
Though Tokyo is infamous for a few highly regarded spots that are impossible to get into without an introduction by a regular, visitors will find more than enough to love across the massive dining metropolis: a casual stand-and-eat noodle shop, sake-friendly sweets, a whole street dedicated to the local take on okonomiyaki, and more.
Yukari Sakamoto is the author of Food Sake Tokyo and offers guided tours to markets in Tokyo. She is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, a sommelier, and a shochu advisor.Read More