Food & Drink Tokyo Life - August 20th, 2010

Maruyama-cho may not ring any bells with many Tokyoites, but this small residential district has some unexpected surprises waiting for its visitors. Just a few blocks away from the bustling main street of entertainment center Dogenzaka lies this quiet area, which offers a good variety of Japanese and Western restaurants, making it a neighborhood that will melt into the hearts of passionate foodies. When dusk arrives, a small handful of bars and izakayas open to people wanting to get away from the crowds of Dogenzaka. Maruyama-cho is also home to one of Tokyo’s most popular nightclubs, Womb. And the best part? All of this is conveniently located only ten minutes on foot from Shibuya station.

Osteria Baccano

3-1 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-3461-0515
Don’t be fooled by the ageing exterior—this restaurant offers top notch Italian cuisine. Baccano has a great atmosphere with an interior that one would expect to find in the dining room of a Tuscan villa. The menu includes a wide range of freshly prepared Italian dishes, from antipasti to homemade pasta and pizzas. Why not finish off your meal with your favorite Italian dessert, such as gelato or tiramisu? Osteria Baccano also offers reasonable lunch menus that are excellent value, although like many popular Tokyo establishments, it can get pretty packed from around noon.
So if you plan to come in a group  be sure to make a reservation or do a late lunch instead.

Tonkatsu Jyunya

Tonkatsu Jyunya

22-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku
Tel: 03-3461-5233

If you’re a fan of Japan’s famed breaded pork cutlet dish, Jyunya will satisfy your culinary needs. Although it may not be a big chain like Tonkatsu Wako or the much-hyped Maisen, it definitely delivers in terms of the food. Think of a family-run restaurant with a simple but comfy interior that is very inviting after walking around in the searing sunshine. It may not be as fancy as the big names, but it offers fresh, crispy meat at decent prices. The lunch roast pork katsu set was certainly the most popular order during my recent visit, with a stream of hungry visitors demanding the tasty food. And if you’re not a pork fan, the menu of course offers other meats as well.


Womb club

2-16 Maruyama-cho, Shibuya-ku

For any clubber in Tokyo, a visit to what is arguably the city’s holy grail of clubs is a must. Close to Dogenzaka, Womb is famous for hosting world-renowned DJs such as The Chemical Brothers, John Digweed and Steve Aoki to play alongside local and resident acts. On top of that is a stellar sound system and light show above a massive dance floor that is overlooked by three other floors. On big nights the cover fee can be quite hefty, edging up toward ¥5,000, while on regularnights the charge is usually ¥3,500. If you’re unfamiliar with the club, check a map before heading out, as it can be hard to find due to its unassuming exterior.


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