Eat here even if there’s a line! 5 Popular Tonkatsu Restaurants in Tokyo

Have you ever had tonkatsu? Tonkatsu is a thick pork filet covered in flour, egg, and panko breadcrumbs, then deep fried. It's a very popular food in Japan. Here are 5 great tonkatsu restaurants in Tokyo, a gourmet battlefield.

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1. Tonkatsu Sugita

Tonkatsu Sugita is in the shitamachi (traditional working class area) of Tokyo. It's a very popular restaurant, and on the weekends there's always a line.
They use Dutch camellia lard for frying because it has a nice flavor. They use two pots with different temperatures, so they can fry it at medium heat, then low heat, and finally back to the medium heat. This technique makes it less oily and soft while still having great texture and flavor. They offer two sauce choices, their original blend of chuno sauce (semi-sweet sauce made from fruit and vegetables) or Worcestershire sauce.
This restaurant was added in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015-2016 Bib Gourmand. There are English menus as well.
For an example of the price, the Tonkatsu Hire (filet) is 2,400 JPY (excl. tax).

*Photo is to illustrate what tonkatsu looks like.

1. Tonkatsu Sugita

2. Marugo

Marugo has a line no matter what time of day it is. It's been picked up in foreign guidebooks, so it's popular with tourists as well.
This tonkatsu is carefully fried in order to bring out the flavor, sweetness, and juiciness. The crispiness of the panko and the aroma of the oil come together to make it an exquisite dish. You can eat it in whatever style you wish, using the shop's original sauce, salt, grated daikon radish, and/or wasabi soy sauce that are available.
It is listed in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015-2016 Bib Gourmand. There are English menus available.
For an example of the price is 2,100 JPY (excl. tax) for the tonkatsu set meal.

*Photo is of an example of tonkatsu.

3. Tonta

Tonta has been beloved by people of all ages for the past 40 years, and is a famous restaurant that always has lines.
The batter uses moist, coarse panko, so the tonkatsu is crispy and light. The thick meat is carefully fried at a low heat so it feels like it's steamed, which makes it soft and juicy. Since the aftertaste does not feel oily, their tonkatsu is popular among all sorts of generations.
Also, the cabbage paired with the tonkatsu is changed depending on the season because they want to offer the most delicious cabbage available. The fresh flavor helps make the tonkatsu taste even more delicious.
This restaurant is also in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015-2016 Bib Gourmand.
For an example of their prices, the special sirloin katsu set meal is 2,160 JPY (incl. tax).

*Photo is of an example of tonkatsu.

4. Maruichi

Maruichi is in a narrow, quiet street, and it's a popular restaurant that always has a line.
The tonkatsu is fried until it has a nice color, and it is presented with a crisp texture and an aroma that comes from the panko. The meat is a pork brand from Chiba called Hayashi SPF Buta. It has a relatively low amount of fat, so the flavor of the meat comes out even stronger. It's juicy, sweet, light, and delicious.
The nearest station, Kamata Station, is easily accessible from Haneda Airport, so why not stop by at the beginning or end of your trip?
For an example of the prices is 1,300 JPY for a sirloin katsu set meal.

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

5. Narikura

Narikura is also famous for having a regular line.
They only use Kirifuri Kogen pork from Tochigi that is known for being soft and mild or Sangentonpork from Yamagata's Hirata Farm that is smooth and has sweet fat that seems like it will melt in your mouth, carefully selected by the owner. It's fried in the highest quality lard over a long period of time, and finished off using the remaining heat in the meat itself. The outside is crisp and the inside is juicy. While you can eat it with sauce, it's recommended to make the flavor stand out even more by using rock salt.
An example of the prices is 1,600 JPY (incl. tax) for the Kirifuri Kogen pork sirloin katsu (130g) set.

*Photo is for illustration purposes.

Freshly fried crisp and juicy tonkatsu is truly delicious! Definitely visit these restaurants and enjoy these flavors.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: nakamura

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