With its traditional wood-beam architecture, old-fashioned snacks and laid-back atmosphere, this long-established standing bar is a fun place to stop in for a glass of sake or a Belgian beer. The main sake list features fourteen labels from well-regarded craft breweries, and there are also three or four seasonal specials at any given time.
If you’re more in a beer-drinking mood, you can choose from a nice selection of bottled Belgians, as well as several beers from Nagano-based craft brewer Shiga Kogen. Sake is priced at Y420 for a 150-180ml pour, while beers start at around Y700 a bottle.
A wide range of inexpensive packaged bar snacks is available for your enjoyment, including sembei crackers, dried salami, mini-cheese slices and Doritos. Park yourself at one of the overturned barrels scattered around the inside of the shop, and don’t forget to return your sake glasses to the front counter when you leave.
Note that there isn’t a great deal of separation between the interior of the shop and the outside elements, so keep your coat on if you come in winter. You may also notice cigarette smoke “inside” even though the smoking area is out front. …continue reading
These are my top 5 picks for unique tsukemen in Tokyo. They’re all creatively delicious – from rich lamb tsukemen to tomato and pesto tsukemen.
#1 Lamb Tsukemen at Mensho Tokyo
Mensho Tokyo (自家製麺 Mensho Tokyo) elevates the use of lamb like no one else could. Their lamb tsukemen broth is part lamb, part pork bones. Furthermore, it’s assisted by spices exotic to ramen, like cumin.
The wonderfully potent broth works so well next to thick and firm noodles. These in-house noodles are special, made with a bit of tapioca flour and durum wheat.
Don’t forget to order with all toppings – the lamb meat is divine.
Shop Hours: 11 am ~ 3 pm // 5 pm ~ 11 pm, Every day
#2 Italian Tsukemen at ajitoism
Alongside their orthodox shoyu tsukemen, ajitoism (アジトイズム) serves an unusual tsukemen. It’s tomato-based. But this makes sense – the owner’s background is in Italian cuisine. He simply decided to bring two worlds together. I’m glad he did.
The “rosso” broth is just as acidic as it is salty. It’s also packed with garlic. But it’s awesome. To drive home the Italian point, the noodles are topped off with fresh basil, tomatoes, and grated cheese.
Source: Tokyo Cheapo
Everyone knows about the Robot Restaurant in Shinjuku. It’s where you go to watch giant mechanized insects fight robo-dinos in mid-air, while your senses are traumatized and your adrenaline is triggered. While you’ll no doubt be seeing plenty of the traditional side of Japan on your travels, this is the other side of the coin: the “weird japan” featuring girls, robots and all-round crazy vibes. Designed to satisfy tourist desire for the neon, modern and odd, you have to take the place for what it is—and leave any expectations at home. Here’s how to get cheap tickets for the Robot Restaurant experience.
Among shops peddling ramen in Jimbocho, Totoko (麺ダイニング ととこ) is one of the most famous. They use the freshest ingredients from Yamagata in all of their ramen.
Yamagata Style Shoyu Ramen
Totoko’s top seller is a Yamagata-inspired shoyu ramen. Almost everything is from Yamagata – from Marusei shoyu to crispy, charcoal-roasted chicken strips from Yonezawa.
The broth is salty but relatively light. It’s also marketed as healthy – there’s no chemical seasoning. The most unique ingredient in the broth is a mild tasting apple vinegar. It’s from Yamagata of course.
The ramen comes hot or cold and the cold version is perfect in the summer. Ice cubes in the broth cool you down and take away some of the saltiness.
Refreshing toppings include tsukune meatballs, cucumbers, and wakame providing a taste of the sea. Lastly, the ultra thin noodles are almost similar to reimen.
Limited Time Tomato Ramen
If you want to change it up, their tomato ramen is equally delicious. The thin angel-hair like noodles work harmoniously with the sweet and sour broth.
Choose from 1-20 for the spice level in this ramen. It’s more of a peppery spice than a chili oil one. Be warned – even at 5, it’s relatively powerful. A little bit of cheese …continue reading
Ramen Manrai (らあめん 満来) has been dishing out humongous bowls of shoyu ramen since 1961. Of all ramen shops in Shinjuku, Manrai might have the most devoted following.
Big Bowls of Classic Shoyu
Ramen Manrai is known for more than generous portions. Their regular ramen (¥950) is already quite hefty. But for those seeking a challenge, ¥1,550 will get you dinosaur-sized slabs of pork.
I’m personally not one that gets excited about big portions though. So how about the taste at Manrai? Let’s just say this is a ramen shop I visit once a year. I think they do a fine bowl of nostalgic shoyu ramen.
But I prefer my classic shoyu ramen to have a bit more punch – either a certain bone richness or niboshi fish accent. The broth here is also quite sweet and this further compounded with sweet memna toppings.
In summary, the broth is a bit too sweet and simple for me. However, I do love their noodles – they’re thick and slippery.
Nostalgia X Factor?
Regardless of flavor, Manrai does have a mystical charm. Any shop that’s survived this long would. From the cheesy saxophone-heavy elevator music to the rustic wooden interior, this ramen shop exudes nostalgia.
Note that you will have to wait a bit – there’s a line once …continue reading