Tokyo has lots of high-end restaurants, including Japanese-style ryotei restaurants, but there are also many reasonably-priced restaurants popular among students and working people. The prices are particularly good at lunchtime. This time, we introduce five select restaurants in Tokyo where you can have great lunches for 500 JPY.
1. Zenya Akasaka Main Branch
This is an izakaya (Japanese pub) that serves food made with fresh ingredients, including fresh fish from Tsukiji Market. The main focus is on dinner, but the lunch menu here consists of "teishoku" (lunch sets) at the amazing price of 500 JPY. This is especially cheap for the Akasaka area, which boasts luxury hotels and high-end ryotei restaurants. The menu includes Chicken Karaage Teishoku (500 JPY (excl. tax)), Pork Ginger Teishoku (500 JPY (excl. tax)), and Mixed Fries Teishoku (500 JPY (excl. tax)). Each one is a filling set that comes with rice and miso soup. The food is served in private rooms just like a high-end Japanese restaurant so you can enjoy a relaxing lunch in your own space.
2. Motusen Kanda Nishiguchi Branch
Kanda Station is one stop away from Tokyo Station in a business area surrounded by shared office buildings. Prices in the area are low for Tokyo, and it is a popular destination for after-work drinks. This izakaya in Kanda offers great drinks in an informal environment. It is lively both day and night thanks to its competitive prices. The Curry Rice (500 JPY (incl. tax)) and Hayashi Rice (500 JPY (incl. tax)) on the lunch menu are both the same price even if you ask for a large portion. You can also pay separately for extra toppings. You can enjoy a voluminous and satisfying lunch here.
3. Sakanatori Shibuya
Shibuya Crossing is a popular tourist destination where up to 3,000 people cross during a single green light. This izakaya is located about five minutes from there. The 500-JPY lunch here is the Kaisen Bara Chirashi (500 JPY (incl. tax)), which the owner says is the best lunch around. It is a chirashizushi of tuna, salted salmon roe, Japanese amberjack, seaweed and other items on top of vinegared rice that is served with soy sauce with sea urchin mixed in. It comes with miso soup and is usually sold out by 1:00 pm due to its outstanding value. The restaurant is on the second floor of a multi-tenant building so it may be a little hard to find, but be sure to get there early.
4. Genghis Tei
This is a Mongolian restaurant in Tokyo's working-class area that has the feel of a hideaway. Genghis Khan refers to a dish of lamb or mutton cooked as yakiniku (Japanese BBQ), and is known as a local cuisine of Hokkaido. The 500-JPY lunch here is a Lamb Roll Bowl (500 JPY (excl. tax)) made with lamb meat. It is a great deal with mango pudding included as dessert. The fresh lamb has mild flavors that lamb first-timers will find appealing. This is a great dish to energize yourself with.
5. CONA Shibuya Branch
This restaurant is located from the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station, three minutes away from the popular meeting place where the famous Hachiko statue stands. It is an Italian food and wine bar where you can enjoy authentic oven-baked pizza. More than 30 types of pizza are handmade everyday and priced reasonably at 500 JPY (excl. tax) each. The restaurant is even more affordable at lunchtime on weekdays when 500 JPY will get you a pizza of your choice plus a salad and drink. The pizzas that are baked at a high temperature of 500°C are crunchy on the outside and chewy inside. This is a standing-room only bar that is perfect for when you want to have a quick lunch.
Many restaurants offer great deals at lunchtime, partly as a way to promote their dinners. If you like the food at lunch, why not try the restaurant in the evening as well? Each restaurant has different lunch hours, so be sure to check before you go.
*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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