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Traditional Japanese buckwheat soba is something highly recommended to try while you are in Japan. From selecting fine buckwheat flour, kneading and boiling the soba, to preparing subtle dipping sauce or broth, the whole process of creating a good soba dish is elaborate and requires attention to detail. Here are 10 must visit popular soba restaurants worth trying in and around Hamamatsucho, an area within an easy reach to and from Haneda.
1. Shinbashi Tokisoba (新橋ときそば)
Best kept secret near Onarimon, Tokisoba offers fine Jyuwari Soba (十割蕎麦- translates as soba using 100% buckwheat flour ) made from fresh stone ground buckwheat flour. There are 2 types of soba: thickly cut noodles and thin noodles. Side dishes like tempura and herb grilled duck are also very good.
5-33-3 Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
2. Soba Kakashi (蕎麦 案山子)
The motto of Soba Kakashi is to touch customers’ hearts. It doesn’t serve typical soba restaurant specialities like dashimaki egg rolls (だし巻き) or sobagaki (そばがき), but the chef’s works are based on culinary culture of Zen, which makes the dishes outstandingly unique. The price range is on the higher end but you will be truly mesmerized by its food.
http://sobakakashi.com/ (Japanese only)
3. Sagatani (嵯峨谷)ayu oshimi/Flickr
Sagatani’s signature dish is Jyuwari Soba. Jyuwari Soba can be generally pricey but here you can enjoy at a reasonable cost. In fact all the foods and drinks are relatively cheap yet very good, and beyond doubt, y you will understand its spirit of Omotenashi (おもてなし- Japanese term for ‘hospitality’).
Genzo Bldg. 1F, 2-3-22 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku, Tokyo
4. Kaichi (嘉一)
Kaichi puts so much attention to detail- from selecting the finest buckwheat flour, to kneading, stretching, and cutting the dough- everything is done by hand. Naturally the end product is a top quality soba. Not only the soba is outstanding, but also with dishes using fresh seafood and organic vegetables, no wonder this place is a popular haunt. The price for lunch costs more than 1000 yen- high range for a soba lunch. It is worth a visit nonetheless.
Svax 2, Hamamatsucho Bldg. 1F, 2-1-16, Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku, Tokyo
5. Koumiya (煌味家)
Soba served at Koumiya is made of carefully selected buckwheat flour from Hokkaido, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Nagano, and Fukui. Every morning the smooth textured soba is hand-kneaded using stone ground flour. Tasty side dishes served at night are prepared using selective ingredients. They go extremely well with good range of sake and shochu.
6. Shohei (昌平)M Murakami/Flickr
Shohei was a famous local soba eatery in Kawagoe, Saitama. It had moved to the current place in Shibakoen few years ago and has been going strong. The owner is known for kneading and making his Jyuwari Soba at a high speed, but its taste is never compromised. There is a good variety of sake available with tips on the menu as to which ones are best taken hot or cold. The restaurant has a retro Japanese ambience with furnitures like antique chest of drawers.
2-12-15 Shibakoen, Minato-ku, Tokyo
7. Shibadaimon Sarashina-nunoya Honten (芝大門 更科布屋 本店)
Founded in 1791, this soba place has a whopping history of more than 2 centuries. The signature dish is Sanshoku Soba (三色そば), a wickerwock tray of tri-colored seasonal soba noodles, which makes an ideal meal for a tourist who wants to try various flavors. Side dish of Tamagoyaki (卵焼き), an egg roll with grated radish, is also worth trying.
8. Daimon Iroha Soba (大門五六八そば)
This is a famous soba restaurant. The name of the venue is written: ‘five, six, eight’ in kanji (五六八), and pronounced: ‘Iroha’. The good news about this restaurant is that it serves generous portion of tasty soba. If you order an extra large portion at lunchtime, they’ll serve you the additional amount free of charge. We recommend set menus for lunch which come with tasty rice bowls.
Shiba Park Bldg. B1F & 1F, 2-1-15 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku, Tokyo
9. Soba Shubo Hongare (蕎麦酒房 本枯)
The concept of Hongare is half soba eatery and half izakaya, meaning you can try all sorts of Japanese dishes at one place. They are all very delicious, especially soba with dipping sauce using fine dried bonito.
Nakamura Bldg. 1F, 1-16-1 Hamamatsucho, Minato-ku, Tokyo
10. Sobadokoro Minatoya (そば処 港屋)
This is the equivalent of Ramen Jiro, the famous ramen place serving gigantic bowl of ramen with lard galore. The only difference is that Minatoya serves bowl of soba instead of ramen. The most popular dish is Niku Soba (肉そば), thick soba noodles cooked to al dente with abundant servings of flank steak, spring onions, and chopped seaweed. Note, however, it’s a stand-and-eat only place so it’s really not for people who don’t like to be rushed while eating.
3-1-10 Nishi-Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo