Ok, I’m going to say this right now: Tokyo is easily one of the best food cities in the world. In the several days I spent there, I did not eat anything that wasn’t really good, from Japanese food to other cuisines. You really can’t go wrong, but here is a brief guide to how to really go right.
1. Eat sushi
I feel like this one is pretty obvious, but just in case it isn’t, I have to put it out there. Before coming to Tokyo, I had eaten a lot of sushi, much of which I thought was really good. However, the sushi here is head and shoulders above. Try a small local place near your hotel, or splurge for a Michelin star meal: either way, you will marvel at the quality of the fish you eat. (The cover photo is the toro from Sushi Iwa: the best bite of fish I’ve ever had.)
2. Try something weird
There are some odd fusions of cuisine in Japan. Some of it will seem to you to be really weird. My advice? Try it anyway. You’d be surprised how much is actually good. An example, pictured below, from an Italian restaurant: spaghetti with sea urchin and salmon roe in a sauce made of olive oil and soy sauce. Scrumptious!
3. Splurge on a fancy meal
This one is optional, because it is so pricy, but there is something wonderful about a city with so many amazing Michelin starred restaurants. I encourage you to try one for the experience. I went to Nihonryori Ryugin, a three-star gem, and was treated to a meal of flavors I didn’t know existed, an upscale version of traditional Japanese fare. It ranks among the best meals of my life.
4. Wait in line for Nakiryu ramen
It opens at 11:30. Get in line before 11, as the place only seats 12 at a time. Place your order in the machine (cash only): tantanmen ramen with extra noodles. You’ll be rewarded with a bowl of mana from heaven, a spicy, salty, noodle-y, goodness that will forever change the understanding man has with a bowl of soup. The extra noodles come when you’ve finished your first set, to be dumped in and slurped up with the rest of the soup. I am not overselling this. Just trust me.