Japanese beef restaurants in Tokyo

Sukiyaki at Hiyama and Imahan, Yakiniku at Yoriniku and Beef burger at Fellows (Oct 2013)
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After my trip to Izu with Y and LY, we drove back to Tokyo on the 2nd October, and stayed there for 3 nights. It was jam packed with shopping and of course eating, trying to just squeeze in lunch and dinner and possibly tea as and when we could to eat all our favourite food. We wanted to do as much BEEF meals as possible, and yes, to me, there can never be too much red meat especially when we are in the Land of the Rising Sun, which has one of the most amazing beef! This is my run down of the few Japanese beef restaurants in Tokyo to visit if you are a beef fan like me.

Fun image of cow from zazzle.comFun image of cow from zazzle.com

Here are my 4 “beef go-tos” from this trip, and yes surprise surprise one of them is a humble hamburger joint.

1. Hiyama (日山)
2−5−1 Nihonbashiningyocho, Chuo, Tokyo 103-0013, Japan
+81 3-3666-2901
www.hiyama-gr.com
Take train to Ningyocho station and walk for about 5 mins to the restaurant.

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Our first beef stop in Tokyo was Hiyama, a old traditional Japanese sukiyaki restaurant that opened in 1935, built in the style of a tea-ceremony house. It also has a meat store on the ground floor which has operated since Day 1. Naturally, the Hiyama wagyu is from this butcher’s shop and its quality is consistently good. Although it has a Michelin Star, it is not so much in the radar compared to some of the bigger Sukiyaki and Shabu chains such as Imahan.

We were brought to our private room – yes I have to add that I always like to dine in private rooms especially when it’s sukiyaki or shabu shabu. We were served hot tea, and while Y and I went to the bathroom, LY started to order like a maniac, ordering enough for 4 persons. Think the Japanese lady that served us was shocked.

Just arrived at the 2nd floor, and being brought to our room.
Just arrived at the 2nd floor, and being brought to our room.

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The pot was already set up, and the Japanese lady that was going to serve us and cook our beef wasted no time in bring all the beef that LY had ordered. The beef looked sooo good!

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The lady would cook the beef and some onions and vegetables each time, and then serve it into our individual bowls which had a raw egg in it. Once we finished our portion, she will continue the same process with a fresh raw egg until all the beef was eaten by us. I had to say I was almost rolling out by the end of the meal, think LY over ordered but she was beaming with glee at all the yummy beef in her tummy.

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Oh how I miss this..

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The meat store

Remember to buy back the sukiyaki sauce when you are here. We tried it back home in Singapore and it’s wonderful as it’s not too sweet or salty compared to the ones we buy off the shelves in Isetan Singapore.

2. Imahan Asakusa
3−1−12 Nishiasakusa
Taito, Tokyo 111-0035, Japan
+81 3 3841 1114
www.asakusaimahan.co.jp

Founded since 1895, this brand has come a long way, and I always make it a point to visit any of their branches when I visit Tokyo as the quality is pretty good and consistent. This trip, I wanted to make a visit to the original branch in Asakusa, also near Kappabashi-Dori or the “Kitchen Street” where you can buy all sorts of wonderful things for for the kitchen (See my next post on that). This branch had the most extensive menu compared to the other branches in Shinjuku that I have been to, with premium cuts available such as Kobe Beef and Matsutake mushrooms which were in season.

We were seated in the main hall rather than a private dining room but we didn’t mind it at all, as it was not very crowded. Here, it was self service rather than having someone cook the meat for us. I noticed in my experience going to Imahan, so far they cook the beef for us, but only in this branch they didn’t, not sure why.

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We were served some light appetizers after which we went full on with Kobe Beef sukiyaki. As usual, LY ordered extra portions, but this time round we asked her to order 1 additional portion to the 2 sets ordered, otherwise we were afraid of over ordering again.

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As you can see from the pictures above, the Kobe beef was amazing, we ate our fill since we can’t get Japanese Kobe beef in Singapore! And you must remember to have the scrambled eggs in sukiyaki sauce after you finish the beef and vegetables. I asked the server about it, and she told us to just crack the egg in the sauce and do it ourselves. I must say LY did a fantastic job, it looked just like how Y and I remembered having it in the Shinjuku branch last year during our December trip.

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Similarly to Himaya, they also have a beef store and sell their in-house sauces. We had plans to buy the beef from Isetan on our last day in Tokyo so we gave this a miss.
3. Yoriniku (よろにく)
Omotesando 6-6-22, Minato-ku, Tokyo
+81 3 3498 4629
Omotesando Station (Exit B1)

After having had disappointing recommendations from previous hotel concierges to go to places such as Jumbo Yakiniku, I googled and researched intensely in local guides to find a yakiniku place that was truly authentic with high quality beef. I finally found this rather hole in the wall place on some local Japanese blogs. This was located in the basement in the Aoyama area, with a very discreet looking entrance at the ground level.

They have a fantastic selection of plum wines – something that struck me when we first descended the stairs into the entrance to the restaurant and saw a long bar. Y & I just went for the kill and did a medley tasting of Ume-shus, probably I had around 4 types during the meal. The most memorable was the Godai Imojyochu Jikomi, the taste was really interesting and unusual, not commonly found among the plum wines I have had to date.

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Huge selection of plum wines “ume-shu”

We left the ordering to the manager, asking him to arrange an Omakase menu for us, and it was rather cute how they placed this cow statue on our table. As different servers came and cooked the beef for us, they conveniently pointed the part of the beef they were serving to us, as some of them weren’t so proficient in English, which made sense! I liked how with each cut of beef, we were told to eat it with certain sauces or just on its own. There was even one where a tiny rice ball was served and we had to eat the beef with it (see picture below). The beef was excellent here, really delicate. Our favourite parts were definitely near the side of the tummy and the shoulder. This place is a definite place to return to for me.

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4. FELLOWS
3 Chome-8−11 Kitaaoyama
Minato, Tokyo, Japan
+81 3 6419 7988
www.fellows-burger.com
Omotesando Station exit (located just around the corner from behind the Tod’s boutique on Omotesando Street itself)

Having heard about this burger place through other friends, LY told us we had to squeeze this in somehow, and so we came here for a late tea on one of the days we were doing some shopping in Omotesando area. It was a rather cute shop that was split over 3 floors.

The patties using premium Aussie beef are handmade daily here ensuring its freshness. LY ordered the fried egg and cheese burger for us to share. It was served on a grease proof paper and once we cut it in half, we devoured it in no time. The patty was so tender and juicy and buns were really soft and crisply grilled. I liked that smoky charred taste the patty had and yet it wasn’t too oily at the same time.

I still like my Shake Shack in New York, but am glad I have found another favourite burger joint much closer to home in Tokyo. Now I know where I can go for my burger fix in future!

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GLORIOUS BURGER!!!

And this ends my medley of yummy beef meals in Tokyo, look out for my next post on my Michelin eats I had this trip.

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