As one of the last major fashion weeks on the global calendar, this year Tokyo Fashion Week takes place from March 16– 21, and for five days becomes home to tired and travel-weary industry professionals.
As one of the last major fashion weeks on the global calendar, this year Tokyo Fashion Week takes place from March 16– 21, and for five days becomes home to tired and travel-weary industry professionals. So as a reward, why not indulge and take advantage of the city with the greatest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world? Offering a truly diverse mix of cuisine ranging from ramen to haute cuisine, we present City by City’s Tokyo eateries of choice. –Darren Gore
ART MASASHIYA RAMEN
2-8 Nanpeidai-cho, Shibuya-ku / 81 (0)80 4437 5511
Our recommended lunchtime option: this ramen joint is acclaimed by many locals as one of the very best in the city, thanks to an emphasis on freshness of ingredients that also makes for a perhaps surprisingly healthy meal (Art Masashiya also has a strict no-MSG policy). There’s a fashion connection too: in a radical change of career this place was opened by a former Beams creative director, Gen-san, who has bedecked the walls with giant, childlike fabric collages and prints in a playful stylistic twist on the regular ramen shop vibe.
1-17-22 Meguro, Meguro-ku / 81 (0)3 5496 0567
Don’t be fooled by this bistro’s modest location and size: Beard is a culinary hot ticket in Tokyo having won acclaim from Monocle magazine who elevated (bearded, of course) chef Shin Harakawa to cover star status. Having worked under Patrick Gauthier at his two-starred Michelin restaurant La Madeleine in Bourgogne France, Harakawa combined that experience with what he subsequently picked up on extensive travels to conceive this laid-back, French-informed restaurant offering a perfect balance of the hearty and the healthy. Think roasted meats complemented by beet salad and fresh figs, alongside organic wines and original cocktails.
CHATEAU RESTAURANT JOEL ROBUCHON
Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-1 Mita, Meguro-ku / 81 (0)3 5449 0083
An experience for the senses, Joel Robuchon’s Tokyo presence consists of a replica 18th century chateau housing no less than three restaurants plus a bar and bakery. Our no-holds-barred pick here would be the Michelin three-starred main dining room opulently decorated in shades of black and gold topped off with Swarovski crystals, setting the scene perfectly for the famed “Menu Degustation” course which Robuchon has offered continuously for over two decades.
1-9-19 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku / 81 (0)3 3467 3479
This popular, relaxed and accessibly priced restaurant offering a healthy, “slow food” approach to Italian cuisine has been such a hit since opening a few short years ago that it has already spawned two spin-off locations and a couple of recipe books. Chef-proprietor Shoichiro Aiba, serves up soul-satisfying dishes such as country-style pizza and a carbonara infused with yuzu, a citrus fruit indigenous to East Asia and widely used in Japanese cuisine.
Side Roppongi Bldg. 1F, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato-ku / 81 (0)3 3423 8006
As if the well-worn but nonetheless true cliche of Japan being a land where the traditional and ultra-inventive comfortably coexist were given culinary form, RyuGin’s chef Seiji Yamamoto has taken time-honoured kaiseki cuisine (highly refined small dishes served in succession) and applied imaginative new techniques in order to elevate it even higher. Another of Tokyo’s three-starred Michelin locations, RyuGin is largely credited with introducing the concept of molecular cuisine to Japan.
4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku / 81 (0)3 3535 3600
Now the world’s most iconic sushi spot after owner-chef Jiro Ono became the subject of 2011 documentary film “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” a meal here promises to become a cherished memory, provided one of the ten wooden seats can be snagged. Renowned for its beautiful presentation as well as heavenly taste, with the restaurant holding three Michelin stars, fresh fish is sourced each morning by Ono’s son and planned heir to the business, from only the most discriminating suppliers in the Tokyo region.