Tokyo's 6 Premium Unagi Restaurants Honored by World Top Gourmands
If you are after exquisite unagi during your stay in Japan, here’s an essential list of excellent places to taste dishes featuring eels. They are loved by not only Japanese but foreigners so much that they are one star awarded by Michelin.
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1. Nodaiwa (野田岩)hiroooooki/Flickr
Nodaiwa, with a history over 200 years, serves natural domestic eels from spring to autumn though the numbers are decreasing. The atmosphere is warm and homey with the interior using the materials from Japanese old house. Most of menus are accompanied by clear soup with eel liver, Japanese pickles, and small dish. You will find their char-broiled eel melting in your mouth. The price varies from 3000 to 10000yen depending on the portion of eel and the market price. It’s very close to Tokyo Tower.
Address: 1-5-4 Higashi-Azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
2. Sekine (勢きね)
The owner-chef of this cozy restaurant trained at a unagi restaurant in Hamamatsu and another Japanese cuisine restaurant. Sekine serves only course menu (around 16000yen) consisting of fine delicacies as well as strong-tasting eel. There are excellent wine and Japanese sake lists, then let him chose the best marriage for each dishes. Reservation is required to dine at Sekine with a capacity of 3 groups. You are required to take your shoes off.
Address: Akasaka Residential Hotel 1F 9-1-7 Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
3. Yama-no Chaya (山の茶屋)This unagi specialized restaurant is located in the ground of Hie Shrine and you can relax in a tranquility. They serve two courses day and night: 9000yen and 15400yen for lunch, 13000yen and 17400yen for dinner (consumption tax and 10% service fee excluded). Melting char-broiled eel free of excess fat, their specialty, is worth for money. There are only 4 private rooms and reservation is required. You may ask for a horigotatsu-style room with a hole under the table so that you can be seated with ease, while you need to take off your shoes.
HP: yamanotyaya.jp/about/information.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-10-6 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
4. Hashimoto (はし本)
To dine at Hashimoto, with a history over 180years, reservation is recommended despite its low appearance in the residential area. Unajyu, their specialty priced for 2600yen or 3300yen, come with tasty, tender and fluffy steamed eel on rice covered with original sauce. It takes around 30 minutes to be served, enough to enjoy side dishes with various parts of carefully selected eels. It opens on Sunday as well and accepts only cash.
HP: www.unahashi.com (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-5-10 Yaesu, Chuo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
5. Ishibashi (石ばし)
Ishibashi serves high quality domestic eels. The menu mainly consists of unajyu packed in beautiful lacquer box accompanied with eel liver soup and Japanese pickles (4000yen and up above), and courses (10000yen and up above). They are so keen about serving eels in its best condition, you are asked to order main dishes on reservation and need to wait some time as they start preparation on your arrival. It’s worth waiting to satisfy your palate together with the selection of Japanese sake. Please note that you might be seated on Japanese-style where you need take your shoes off. Cash only.
HP: unagi-ishibashi.com/access.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-4-29 Suido, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
6. Obana (尾花)Yu-Hsin Hung/FlickrNorio NAKAYAMA/Flickr
Obana attracts unagi lovers from afar though it doesn’t accept any reservations. You need to wait before entering this Japanese style restaurant and after you place your order, when they start preparing. All dishes are recommended by regulars: unajyu, fluffy grilled eel over rice, shirayaki, plain grilled eel without seasoning served with soy sauce and wasabi (both costs from 4300yen), or other side dishes such as uzaku and umaki. Please note that you are required to take your shoes off and there’s only tatami room. They open on Sunday as well and accept cash only.
Address: 5-33-1 Minami-Senju, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo (Google Map)
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The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.