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10 Most Affordable Michelin-Starred Restaurants in Tokyo

unsTokyo is one of the cities in the world that has a substantial amount of Michelin graded restaurants, making it an ideal destination for food hunt by epicurean. Generally, Michelin restaurants are always thought to be pricey. Thus, today we are going to talk about top 10 of the most affordable Michelin restaurants in Tokyo that serve delicate cuisine at a reasonable price!

 

1. Masa’s Kitchen Ebisu

Looking for delicious Chinese food in Tokyo? Here it is, the one-star Michelin restaurant that serves Chinese food blended with Japanese and Western style. The food here is prepared with traditional method and is innovated with the essence of the Pacific.  The price of each course starts at ¥2,000 for lunch.

Location: B1F, BPR RESIDENCE EBISU, 1-21-13 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Website: http://www.masas-kitchen.com/en/

 

2. Tsuta Ramen

Tsuta Ramen is the first restaurant in Tokyo that received Michelin star for its ramen, which can be an indication of the deliciousness and quality of food. Only 150 bowls of ramen are served daily – priced at ‎¥1,000 to ‎¥1,500 a bowl. Thus, it’s vital to go there early to avoid the long queue. They serve soba in ramen style, while the noodles are made with four types of whole wheat flour and the chashu is served with black truffle sauce. The noodle texture is as if a cross between ramen and soba – firm with softness, chewy with bite. The soy broth base is made with three types of shoyu, two types are made in-house while another type is specifically made for the ramen as demanded by the chef to the shoyu brewer.

Location: 1-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo

 

3. Katsuzen

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korubota tonkatsu #michelinstar

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Katsuzen is Tokyo’s only Michelin star tonkatsu restaurant

In Japanese, Tonkatsu means breaded deep-fried pork cutlet. It is often served with rice and cabbage or used as a topping for ramen and udon.

At Katsuzen you’re getting slow-food tonkatsu as everything is made and fried fresh. Katsuzen is a family run business of more than 50 years. Thus, the chef has a perfect skill in making Tonkatsu. The pork comes from black Berkshire kurobuta pigs which is ensured to be healthy as it is sourced from stress-free farm. Not only that, the panko crumbs are also homemade. A set of lunch that includes appetisers as well as rice, miso and pickles costs around ¥3,800.

Location: 6-8-7 Ginza, Chuo 104-0061 Tokyo

 

4. Makimura

Makimura is a 3-star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo. It is owned by a pair of couples that normally serve food that is made of two ingredients only, like grilled eggplant with roast beef and deep-fried squid with ginkgo nuts.  The Chef Akio Makimura is well known in making kaiseki dishes, where each dish is meticulously decorated and handled with care. The signature dish of Makimura is sea bream rice with green tea. The dish is served in a bed of rice covered with fresh sea bream sashimi which then is poured with green tea stock to show the difference in flavour and texture, the latter known as “chazuke”. The green tea stock is made from a kelp dashi that has had the kelp rest in water for 12 hours. Each course is usually served with Japan seasonal fruits as dessert. Average price is ¥15,000. Although it is a little pricey, but the quality of food will make you feel worth of every penny for a Michelin 3 stars restaurants.

Location: 6-19-10 Minamioi, Shinagawa, Tokyo

 

5. Yamadaya

Yamadaya is the only Michelin 3-star restaurant in the world that exclusively focuses on the poisonous puffer fish, a renowned delicacy in Japan. The signature dish is fugu sashimi, which is arranged in a chrysanthemum shape that symbolizes death in Japanese culture. The flavor of sashimi is light and the thin translucent cuts would give a firm, rubbery-in-a-good-way texture. Adding the green shoots and monkfish liver, along with the ponzu vinegar sauce, which is the exclusive sauce of Yamadaya, would definitely enhance the overall flavour. To ensure the freshness of food, the puffer fish are caught and freshly bought daily. If you want to have a try of the wild puffer fish, the best season is from September to March of the following year as these times are the breeding season of puffer fish.

Location: 4-11-14, Nishiazabu, Nishiazabu, Minato 106-0031, Tokyo
Website: 
www.usukifugu-yamadaya.jp

 

6. Tempura Kondo

Tempura Kondo in Ginza, Tokyo, is a Michelin 2-star restaurant that prepare traditional tempura in innovative ways. With the passion of creating perfect Tempura dishes and over 30 years’ experience, chef Kondo in Tempura Kondo is renowned as one of the best tempura chefs in Japan. Chef Kondo makes tempura fries from extraordinary ingredients, such as shrimp heads, sea urchin, and all possible seasonal vegetables arranged in unique ways. Chef Kondo’s sense of aesthetics and culinary skills redefine the traditional concepts of tempura, although classical Edo-style methods are used for preparing the dishes. The shrimps are also freshly caught every day to ensure the freshness of food! Lunch starts at ¥7,500-9,500.

Location: 5-5-13, Ginza – Sakaguchi Bldg. 9F, Chuo, Tokyo

 

7. Zurriola

The name of the restaurant, Zurriola, is a place in San Sebastian coast where the chef once lived. Zurriola is a Michelin restaurant that serves Spanish food. Specialities include foie gras flavoured with Pedro Ximénez and lightly smoked caviar ravioli. Each course is a perfect blend of Japan and European food art, intricately prepared and can even be described as an artwork. You have to try it as each course is ranging at ¥5,500-7,800.

Location: 6-8-7, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Website: 
http://zurriola.jp/

 

8. Ryuzu

Ryuzu is well-known for its fusion of Japanese food and French cuisine. The signature dish of the Ryuzu is shiitake mushroom tart made with filo pastry, pancetta and lardo. There is a wide variety of wine selection, mostly though not entirely French. It starts at ¥7,500 and there are a decent number of choices. If you’re looking for an affordable yet highly rated French restaurant, Ryuzu is definitely your choice!

Location: 4 Chome−2−35, Roppongi, Tokyo
Website: 
www.restaurant-ryuzu.com

 

9. Saito

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In the days before I joined social media, I used to be caught up with snagging a seat at difficult-to-book eateries. Eg: The Fat Duck the year it was crowned World’s Best Restaurant (2005), Ferran Adria’s El Bulli (2006). Those were exhilarating times. These days, I tend to be more blasé, preferring to wing it during my makan holidays. This means I now experience an equal amount of joy and disappointment when it comes to discovering new dining establishments – mostly casual, some swish. So it was through @kevintangram contacts (I didn’t bother with my usual media ones) and pure luck that we managed to secure reservations at Sushi Saito in Tokyo — just 6 days before the actual dinner. If you haven’t heard, Sushi Saito is the top-ranked eight-seat sushi joint on Japanese foodie site Tabelog, and winner of 3 Michelin stars since 2011. Every lover of Japanese food lusts after a meal here. An acquaintance told me he has unsuccessfully tried to get reservations at Saito for a whopping 7 years. Frankly, I was initially turned off by the fact that attempting to get a booking here is like trying to win a Golden Ticket to Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. It is impossible — unless a favoured regular customer, usually Japanese, helps you claw your way in by way of introduction. It’s elitist and frustrating – having a meal shouldn’t be this sadistic. But that being said, and having had equally priced – yet inferior – sushi meals in Japan (about $300+ a head, like *koff, koff* Sushi Ishiyama), I now see why Saito–san has reached near–deity status. The sushi here is unlike any I’ve experienced before. Just before the meal begins, hunks of gleaming fish are brought out by the chef and beautifully sliced in a mesmerising show of blade to flesh. Some pieces are dipped in a soy marinade briefly, then laid out on hinoki wood to come to almost room temperature so the fish's latent oils are coaxed out. The result is neta (fish topping) that has the buttery mouthfeel of oceanic lard. It melts on the tongue, melding with the warm shari (rice) in a way that made me want to close my eyes as I chewed on each nigiri (mercifully, I didn’t. Review continued in comments below). #sushisaito #sushi

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Sushi is one of the must-eat food in Japan and Saito is the first sushi restaurant to be awarded the three-star rating from Michelin. Chef Takashi Saito is one of the best sushi masters of the world that meticulously prepare sushi and seek for perfection throughout the preparation process. This is proven by the statement of Chef Joël Robuchon, who holds the most Michelin stars in the world of any chef, that described Sushi Saito as “the best sushi restaurant in the world”. He is also the youngest 3 starred Michelin chef. What’s surprising, though, is the restaurant is actually rather affordable if you go during lunch. Lunch courses start ranging from ¥6000 with a great diversity of sushi.

Location: 1F Ark Hills South Tower, 1-4-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

 

10. Nakajima

Nakajima is a restaurant that specialise in serving Iwashi(sardines) cuisine. Iwashi is freshly carted over from Tsukiji market to ensure the quality and reputation of food. Iwashi can be served in any one of the five ways: sashimi tossed with sesame, fried with panko, salt baked, simmered in a soy sauce dashi, or rendered into an egg casserole on a sizzling hot plate. The set menu includes miso soup, rice, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), and green tea. Reservations are necessary to avoid the long queue and get a front-row view sitting facing the kitchen to have a look of how the Michelin graded chefs prepare the set lunch that costs from ¥800 to ¥900.

Location: B1 Nichihara Building 3-32-5 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Website: www.shinjyuku-nakajima.com

 

All in all, reservations are required if you are longing to get the best experience when dining at these Michelin restaurants, including getting the fresh seasonal food and good seating with a view. Try out these restaurants if you are visiting Tokyo next time!

 

Judy Jiang

A freelance Chinese columnist/translator currently living and working in Tokyo, Japan. I’m fascinated to see new places and experience the beauty, food and people of different regions. I travel from time to time around Japan and love to share all these experiences.

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