Going for lunch in Tokyo is always the highlight of my day. Great food made more appetising with fantastic presentation. Just look at the colours of my lunches.
Lunches for less than USD30 in Tokyo can be found quite easily, and they are of very good quality. Bring it down to $20, the challenge gets a bit higher, especially if you are located in the CBD area. Less than $10, you are stuck with takeaways bentos and ramens.
Here’s some of my favourites around the office that you can get for $20 or less.
Located in a hotel, it is part of the dining options of this 3-star hotel. They have a buffer restaurant that I didn’t really fancy not because one can get really drowsy after a heavy lunch, but the really the buffet was pretty bad. However they have a Washoku restaurant called Bairin that offers great value-for-money lunch tenshoku 定食
Today, I had their sushi set for ¥2,100. 11 pieces of nigiri sushi with tekka maki to round off the meal. While the quality is not as good as the top notch sushi restaurants, it is still way better than your conveyor belt sushi chains. I would put their quality between Zanmai (OK) and Itamae (slight better).
都市センターホテル, 〒102-0093 東京都千代田区平河町2-4-1
Tel : （03）5216-8809
Nice little Washoku restaurant just the next block from my office, Asano also caters bento boxes for seminars and meetings ranging from ¥900 – Y2,500, depending on how extravagant you want the catering to be. Even their Y900 bento boxes are quite good.
I have the daily special at ¥1,900. The bento came with 3 pieces of tempura, some sashimi and usually simmered vegetable and pickles for the rice. Good food, but the downside is that smoking is allowed indoor.
日本料理 割烹 あさ乃
102-0083 東京都千代田区麹町3-7-10 浅野ビル本館1～2F
Tel ： 03-3263-5161～3
Located in a 4-star hotel, this Washoku restaurant only specialised in sushi sets for lunch, and it serves a very high quality sushi though it is slightly more than $20 for lunch. In the evening, it becomes a proper sushi restaurant.
The all-tuna set is ¥2,800, but it comes with a chirashi tuna bowl with three cuts of tuna, 3 belly cut nigiri sushi (not quite chutoro but close enough), and a tekka maki that is of Kyubey quality. One of the best sushi lunch sets I had.
ホテルグランドアーク半蔵門, 〒102-0092 東京都千代田区隼町1番1号
Tel : 03-3288-0111(
They import their own seafood from the island of Yakushima. The seas around Yakushima is famous for their flying fish (tobio) and mackerel (saba). This fish restaurant serves several choices of fish as part of their tenshoku for lunch.
I had their bluefin tuna rice bowl set. What really caught me off guard were the delicious meat balls that came with the set that’s only ¥1,900.
〒１０２-００８３ 東京都千代田区麹町１－６－３ クレール麹町ビル１階
Tel : ０３-３２６３-７７４７
Kyogyuso is a Korean-style BBQ in the evening serving very good cuts of Japanese wagyu on a grill. For lunch, they have 6 choices of grilled beef with rice and side dishes that range from ¥1,800 – ¥2,500.
This is the daily cut set lunch 120g of Kuroge beef at ¥2,000. Not quite wagyu quality, but still well marbled than most Australian and American wagyu, and tastier. There’s no choice of doneness, but they never do their beef more than medium. Comes with a fantastic sweet soy sauce dip that’s almost teriyaki like but not as sweet and more watery.
〒102-0083 東京都千代田区麹町1-5-4 ライオンズステーションプラザ 半蔵門
Tel : 03-3221-1129
The owner/chef of this fish restaurant is an avid angler. Decorated round the walls of the tiny restaurant are photos and fish prints (gyotaku 魚拓) of the fish he caught over the years. And every day, there’s a special fish on offer. These are either in season so are caught in abundance and therefore the price comes down, or it’s one of chef’s own “catch” over the weekend. No, they don’t lower the price because the fish is not sold the dinner service the night before.
Today, the special fish was bonito. This species of tuna is usually made into processed food, but when really fresh, they are as good as their more expensive cousins, the bluefin tuna. For lunch at ¥2,200, you get a generous 11 slices of thick cut bonito. You are also given a glorious raw egg to be beaten and pour on your warm rice and then consumed with the raw fish. Really healthy and nutritious lunch.
Tel : 03-3265-6097