Living in Japan, where space is limited and proper ovens are scarce, doesn’t have to mean missing out on a satisfying Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. In recent years more and more Tokyo restaurants have begun serving special courses over the holidays, ranging from traditional ham and turkey roasts to more imaginative fare incorporating dishes from Japanese, French and even Chinese cuisine. If you’re staying in Tokyo for the holidays, you’ll be able to choose your Christmas dinner from among the city’s top restaurants. And the best part is that most places offer their special courses for several days or even weeks, meaning you can stuff yourself full of Christmas goodness more than once.
Those missing the goodness of a home cooked Christmas feast will find Roti Roppongi’s Christmas buffet more than satisfying. At just ¥3,900 for adults and ¥1,800 for children, the menu includes roast turkey, ham and prime rib with all the fixings, plus a range of sides. Three salads (including a delectable smoked duck and roquefort cheese one), a range of five appetizers, four vegetable dishes (including roast potatoes), and four desserts (including hot blackberry and apple crumble with whipped cream and a wonderful sticky pecan pie) round out the menu. The buffet is available on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and Roti is also offering a Christmas weekend brunch on December 26 and 27. For details check www.roti.jp.
The four restaurants at Shinjuku’s Park Hyatt hotel are going all out to offer a range of exquisite cuisine in a luxuriously modern setting. The hotel’s signature restaurant, New York Grill, will be serving its special Christmas menu from December 18 to 25. Priced at ¥22,000 per person, the five-course meal includes such delicacies as caramelised foie gras terrine, pistachio tempura, Yellowstone River caviar, mashed potatoes with truffles, and a bitter chocolate nemesis for dessert. If the food itself isn’t enough to sway you, the unrivaled view of Tokyo’s nighttime skyline will be, making this the perfect place for a romantic Christmas dinner for two. For more information see www.tokyo.park.hyatt.jp.
An Island Christmas
Hawaiian-themed restaurant Trader Vic’s in the Hotel New Otani will be serving Christmas dinner for the twelve days of Christmas—December 14 to 25. Diners can choose from a range of main courses, from duck to a prime beef filet to lobster, priced from ¥12,500 to ¥38,800. The menu also includes a choice of appetizer, a choice of soup (including a prawn and abalone broth served in a fresh coconut shell), a salad, homemade Christmas cookies, and coffee or tea. Trader Vic’s will also host an island-style Christmas brunch on December 20 and 23 from 11:30am to 2:30pm. For more details see www.newotani.co.jp.
Fine French Fare
Those with a discerning palate may want to try the very posh Restaurant Tateru Yoshino Ginza’s ‘menu noel’ of modern French delicacies. Priced at ¥25,000 per person including three types of wine (one being champagne), the six course meal is made with such fine ingredients as Hokkaido sea urchin, caviar, foie gras, and black truffle terrine. The two main dishes from which diners can choose are a Bordeaux-style beef filet and venison rossini. The menu will be offered from December 23 to 25, with two seatings every evening, at 6pm and 8:30pm. For details see www.tateruyoshino.com.
Something for Everyone
The Westin Tokyo is home to four fine restaurants, each with its own unique style. There is the modern Japanese Mai, the French Victor’s, a teppanyaki place called Yebisu, and The Terrace, which serves a mixture of European foods. Each of these restaurants will have its own Christmas dinner, but perhaps the most popular will be The Terrace, which has already begun its Christmas lunch (¥5,000) and dinner (¥8,500) buffets. There are two seating times per meal (12pm and 2:15pm for lunch, and 5pm and 7:30pm for dinner), and the menu includes roast turkey, roast beef and steamed vegetables. For more information check www.westin.com/tokyo.
A Twist on the Classics
Popular Shibuya chophouse Beacon will serve Christmas dinner on December 24 and 25. Perfect for meat-lovers, the ¥12,600 course includes smoked Norway salmon terrine and botan shrimp tartar, foie gras with porcini risotto, spice crusted fish with lime butter, and grilled sirloin with port wine sauce and roast potatoes. To finish it all off is a bitter chocolate mousse with mixed berries and vanilla gelato served with coffee, tea or espresso. After a meal as filling as this, there’s no doubt that diners will sleep soundly right up through Christmas morning. For details see www. tyharborbrewing.co.jp/restaurants/beacon_e.html.