【2018 Version】Top 10 Must-Visit Shops for Delicious Yakiniku in Tokyo
It is probably only natural that the major metropolitan city of Tokyo is home to many joints that serve yakiniku (grilled meat), a dish that is also popular among tourists visiting Japan. Below are 10 famous shops that are especially recommended if you are craving for yakiniku.
Kankou is a well-known restaurant in Jiyugaoka offering extremely fresh beef that is delivered every day. Recommended here are the Tan Shio (1,300 JPY (excl. tax) for serving that is good for one person) that uses thick and juicy tongue, where the aroma of the spring onions and the sweetness of the meat are extracted with the help of salt, and the Atsugiri Sagari (2,500 JPY (excl. tax) for a one-person serving) of thick-sliced skirt. The Teuchi Reimen (1,000 JPY (excl. tax)) for a one-person serving) that uses homemade and handmade noodles with a slippery and chewy texture is also popular.
2. NO MEAT, NO LIFE 1st
NO MEAT, NO LIFE 1st is a popular restaurant located in a prime spot that is just a minute’s walk from Shinjuku Station. This shop purchases the entire cow for their Grade-A5 Japanese Black beef, so guests can enjoy a great variety of fine meats, including rare cuts. Some of the dishes recommended here are the Gensen Atsugiri Akaminiku (handpicked thick-slice red meat) (1,580 JPY (excl. tax)) that is eaten with truffle salt, the No. 1 bestseller Kuroge Wagyu no Yukke (a dish of raw Japanese Black beef topped with egg yolk) (1,480 JPY (excl. tax)), and a unique beef sushi called Kuroge Wagyu no Nigiri (480 JPY per piece (excl. tax)). There is also an extensive list of wines, and the fancy vibe inside the restaurant can be quite appealing. English menu available.
3. Nishi-Azabu Kenshiro
Located within walking distance from Roppongi Station, Kenshiro is a restaurant that can be found in the trendy Nishi-Azabu area. While many yakiniku restaurants usually vacuum-pack their ingredients, this restaurant only purchases meat that can be consumed immediately, so it serves extremely fresh meat that has not been preserved in any way. It uses carefully chosen wagyu (Japanese beef) from all over Japan, including the rate Ozaki Beef. Recommended here are the specialty Kenshiro-yaki that makes the red meat smell great with sakura chips, and the Tokusenzen Course (20,000 JPY per person (incl. tax)) that incorporates the Yamagata-gyu no Gensen Akami Sashimi (carefully selected red meat sashimi of Yamagata beef).
※ Photo shows Kenshiro-yaki
Misuji is a restaurant that is descended from the famous Yoroniku in Minami-Aoyama that carries the finest Japanese Black beef in all of Tokyo. It may be look like a quiet hideaway place, but in reality it's a popular spot that is always fully booked. Its specialty is the Silk Rosu (silk sirloin) (1,480 JPY (excl. tax)) that was created by Yoroniku. As its name suggests, the beef that is delicately cut like silk is grilled and then eaten with a side of bite-size rice ball. The meat is characterized by the fine fat content of the marbling, so it is extremely juicy. By adding a little bit of rice, the flavors of the meat will be drawn out. Aside from the above, there are various other dishes offered, especially red meat.
Handung is a popular restaurant that is situated in an excellent site that is just a minute’s walk away from Tsukishima Station. Out of the numerous dishes on its menu, the one that is particularly recommended is the Tan (Tongue) (prices start at 1,800 JPY (incl. tax), and the prices vary depending on the part). This restaurant buys the whole cow, so you can enjoy various parts along with the tongue. It also enjoys immense popularity for its rare serving method wherein the meat is only cut when you order, so you can specify the thickness of the meat, such as thinly or thickly sliced. Another exquisite offering here is the Takkanmari (4,980 JPY per chicken (incl. tax)) that is simmered in savory rich sauce. Only five servings available per day. Korean-speaking staff available.
Gyuzo, located in a spot that is just a short walk from Fujimidai Station on the Seibu Ikebukuro Line, is a reservation-only restaurant that is constantly packed with customers and is popular with adults. The secret behind its popularity is its great cost performance that is one of the best in Japan. This restaurant serves Japanese Black beef of the highest quality, with a Grade A5 classification. In most restaurants, the ordinary class of Japanese Black beef costs 1,000 JPY or more per plate, while the rare parts would generally cost a few thousands. But at Gyuzo, you can taste those meats for less than 1,000 JPY. For instance, you can enjoy Jo-bara (high-quality ribs) for just 819 JPY (incl. tax). Note that on weekdays, you can reserve a table for a party of at least two guests, but on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, you need to have at least five people in your group to make a reservation.
7. Yakiniku Shimizu
Yakiniku Shimizu is a famous restaurant where you can enjoy great quality beef at affordable prices. One of the reasons why it is so popular is because its homey atmosphere makes it easy for customers to enjoy even when they have kids in tow, and they are allowed to bring in baby food. Recommended here is the rare Atsugiri Kuroge Wagyu Tan (thick-sliced Japanese Black beef tongue) (1,500 JPY (excl. tax) per piece, requires advanced reservation by phone, and may be sold out) that incorporates just five of the 3kg total weight of domestically bred Japanese Black beef tongue. The Kisho Bui Omakase Mori (a course where the chef will choose the rare part to serve) (prices start at 2,100 JPY (excl. tax) for three kinds of meat) is also recommended.
8. Ushiwaka Honten
Ushiwaka is a popular restaurant that is located in Monzennaka-cho, which is the old merchant area of Tokyo. It is characterized by its serving of “thick-sliced” meats that are thicker than the cuts served in ordinary yakiniku shops in line with its desire to have guests better savor its specialty ingredients such as A5-ranked Japanese Black beef that it buys as a whole cattle. Recommended here is the Omakase Course (6,000 JPY (excl. tax)) (a course in which the chef decides on what to serve) that requires reservation at least a day in advance. It is a great-value course that offers a selection of kimchi, namul (dish of seasoned vegetables) and meat with the right balance of lean and marbled parts.
9. Yakiniku Rin Honten
Yakiniku Rin Honten is a popular restaurant that has been operating in Tsukishima for more than 30 years now. Its specialty is the Ganso Atsugiri Gyu Tan Shioyaki. It is this restaurant’s most popular dish that gets even more delicious the more you grill the meat. The course meals that come with various dishes incorporating duck and other meats aside from beef are also recommended (orders can be placed for at least four guests at 5,000 JPY and above per person).
Located at a site that is a 10-minute walk from Hiroo Station, Kirakutei is a popular restaurant that is constantly crowded, even during lunch. It serves Grade-A5 Japanese Black beef at reasonable prices, with the Tokusen Tan Shio (special salted tongue) (3,000 JPY) especially recommended. The meat may be thick, but it is soft and juicy, and filling. If you come during lunch, then the Wagyu Harami Lunch (1,350 JPY (incl. tax)) is recommended since it is fully loaded with yakiniku, as well as kimchi, salad and soup.
This article featured shops where you can enjoy various kinds of yakiniku, from the standard menu, to the rare parts. If you ever visit Tokyo, try to check out these spots.
*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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