10 Delicious and Affordable Restaurants in Asakusa, Tokyo
In Japan, there is a category of food called "B-grade food", which refers to delicious everyday food offered at reasonable prices. Some examples of this are takoyaki, okonomiyaki, and ramen. While Asakusa is often thought to be a place for fancy restaurants, it actually has many casual eateries that offer B-grade dishes. If you're on a budget or you're just looking for some delicious common eats, check out this list of 10 inexpensive yet yummy restaurants in Asakusa, Tokyo!
Apr 09 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
Ramen, which is almost always available at a reasonable price, is a classic example of B-grade food. Ramen comes in a wide range of flavors, such as shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), and miso. Asakusa is said to be the origin of shoyu ramen, and this is what Yoroiya serves. The soup, made of chicken and pork bones, is very aromatic. The slight aroma of yuzu (a type of Japanese citrus fruit) wafting from the bowl of ramen will whet your appetite.
Another dish worth checking out is the popular Zaru Ramen (750 yen) in which the noodles and soup are served in separate bowls. The soup is seafood based and is what gives the ramen a refreshing taste. A small plate with arare (rice snack) and small shrimps is also provided. If you put them on the ramen as toppings, you can enjoy a crispy texture and the aroma from the shrimps.
Don’t let the narrow entrance fool you, as the inside of the restaurant is quite large with 32 seats. At the entrance, look up to see Akaboshi Juzaburo, a famous character from a kabuki (classical Japanese theater) show about thieves.
2. Benkei Asakusa Main Branch
Benkei offers rich tonkotsu ramen, which is a kind of ramen with soup made of pork bones. The pork bone broth is added into a soy sauce or miso based soup, resulting in a soup that isn't very greasy. It is very popular since it has a rich flavor but a not-too-heavy taste.
If you are a meat lover, the Char Siu Ramen (1,030 yen) is highly recommended. You can choose to have double or even triple the regular amount of char siu pork slices! The wonderous sight of the char siu pork slices almost pouring out from the bowl will no doubt shock you. It's a dish where you can enjoy tender char siu to your heart's content!
Besides ramen, there are a variety of other dishes available such as dumplings and fried rice. Voracious eaters ought to check out their weekday combo meals, where you can get ramen and fried rice together for a reasonable price.
Located near Senso-ji Temple, Tsukushi is a restaurant that serves up delicious "okonomiyaki", which is a pancake-like dish stuffed with vegetables, meat, and seafood. It is a classic delicacy that has long been enjoyed by the common people of Japan. You can even add your favorite ingredients to create a unique flavor!
They also offer "monjayaki". Though similar to okonomiyaki, it is more runny and enjoyed as a snack rather than a full meal. Similarly, you can add your favorite ingredients as you like. Try having them both to compare!
A special metal spatula is used for cooking both okonomiyaki and monjayaki. The unique sign above the shop is in the shape of the spatula used, and can easily be spotted from a distance.
4. Monja Croquette
In Asakusa, there are many convenient stores selling foods that are perfect for when you crave a snack or don't have a lot of time to sit down and eat. Monja Croquette is one such store that serves croquettes stuffed with monjayaki for takeout.
Although monjayaki is available all over Japan, this is the only place where you can have a croquette with monjayaki in it! Another unique offering is the Monkoro Burger (450 yen), which is made by sandwiching one of these croquettes, lettuce, and cheese with hamburger buns.
Though the shop mainly offers takeout, there are seats available in front of the shop. The croquettes are all made fresh to order, so you can have them hot. We recommend eating them while they're still crunchy!
5. Asakusa Menchi Main Branch
Asakusa Menchi Main Branch is a popular shop where you can get freshly-fried Minced Meat Cutlets (200 yen for 1 piece). Although all of their food is only available for takeout, there is a large space to sit and eat inside the shop.
The inside of the cutlet is a mixture of minced beef, sweet chopped onions, and ground Koza pork, which is known for its strong flavor. Bite into the cutlet and the delicious hot juices will gush out into your mouth.
There may be a line of people waiting in front of the shop on weekends, but since it is a takeout shop, you usually do not have to wait long. The cutlet isn't very large, so it is perfect when you’re up for a light snack.
6. Denkiya Hall
Denkiya Hall is a well-established cafe with over 100 years of history. Their signature dish is the Omumaki (650 yen), where fried noodles are wrapped with a thin layer of cooked eggs. The sweetness of the egg matches well with the salty-sweet sauce. Ketchup is the traditional topping, but adding shichimi (7-spice blend) is also recommended.
Another flagship dish is the Yude Azuki (500 yen), a hot drink filled with plenty of boiled sweet red beans. It is common to have boiled sweet red beans in oshiruko (sweet red bean soup) together with mochi (glutinous rice cakes), but the style of a hot drink is recommended if you want to enjoy the original taste of the sweet red beans. People tend to enjoy this drink as a dessert.
The interior of this historic coffee shop has a retro atmosphere. There are even game tables that you can actually use for a fee!
7. Bistro Fukushotei
Bistro Fukushotei offers a classic B-grade dish - Curry with Pork Loin Cutlet (1,300 yen). This is a very satisfying dish, with a thick pork cutlet over an enormous plate of rice.
Though Japanese curry is already not all that spicy, this restaurant offers Hayashi Rice with an Omelette (1,200 yen) for those who just can't handle spicy curry. It comes with demi-glace sauce which isn’t spicy at all. Instead of eating the demi-glace sauce with regular white rice, patrons will get to eat it over rice wrapped in a thin layer of egg!
They mainly serve yoshoku (Western-style Japanese food), but since it used to be a Chinese restaurant, it also offers Chinese dishes like Shumai (650 yen) and the lunchtime special Ramen (950 yen), which comes with a main dish, a small bowl of ramen, and a bowl of rice.
8. Tonteki Genki x Chanko Ba
"Tonteki" is a dish where a thick cut of pork is cooked like steak. Though tonteki alone can satisfy most people, at Tonteki Genki x Chanko Ba, diners can savor a combo meal of tonteki and hamburger steak!
Another one of their specialty dishes is the Chanko Nabe (3,200 yen), which is a dish that was originally made for sumo wrestlers. It is a hearty meal that warms up the body and is made by boiling vegetables, meat, and fish in a pot.
If you're looking to enjoy a Japanese atmosphere, sit on the cushions laid on the tatami floor. However, if you find sitting on the floor difficult, you can make use of the table seating instead.
Takomaru offers Takoyaki (500 yen for 6 pieces / 600 yen for 8 pieces), which is a B-grade dish originating from Osaka. They use large pieces of octopus in each takoyaki ball, which is crispy on the outside but fluffy on the inside. Enjoy their takoyaki with salty-sweet sauce or mayonnaise!
One of the store’s attractions is being able to see how they actually cook the takoyaki. Watch and be impressed as the skilled chefs prepare the takoyaki at amazing speeds using special takoyaki machines.
Takomaru offers not just takoyaki, but also oden (fish cakes, vegetables, and other ingredients boiled in a savory sweet sauce), French fries, sausages, and more! It's a great place for enjoying a wide variety of B-grade dishes.
Located on Hoppy Street, a place that's lined with izakaya and bars, Koji is a store that offers many B-grade dishes that match well with alcoholic drinks. One popular dish to check out is the Beef Sinew Stew (450 yen). It consists of stewed beef, tofu, and konjac, and has a salty-sweet flavor that goes well with sake (Japanese rice wine) and beer.
Since it's a casual izakaya, most of the snacks and alcoholic drinks here are only around 500 yen, making it the perfect place to try out a variety of dishes. The menu mainly consists of classic izakaya offerings such as tamagoyaki (rolled egg omelette) and potato salad, so this izakaya is highly recommended to those looking to experience a genuine Japanese izakaya.
Another great feature of casual izakaya is that the staff and other customers are both extremely friendly. You will often find strangers treating each other to drinks. It is not uncommon to get along with other customers just by drinking together, even if you may not share the same language.
While it's great to eat at a restaurant that serves high-class food every now and then, it's worth experiencing the working-class side to Japan while you're actually there. Restaurants that serve B-grade food are particularly easy to answer and often reasonably priced, so if you're looking for that kind of experience and you're in Japan, use this article as a guide and get eating!
Title Image: poludziber / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.