Here’s our pick of some of the best spots for fine dining in Tokyo, whether you’re looking for lunch in a stylish locale or an intimate night out.
arcana Tokyo Karato
Located on the top floor of one of the newest, most popular buildings in town, arcana has established itself as a modern take on healthy and French cuisine. Floor-to-ceiling windows encase the 80-seat space, giving it a light, airy ambiance that complements the light food served along with it. Instead of the heavier base of butter and cream French food is typically prepared with, head chef of arcana, Yasushi Karato, focuses on a healthier approach with many vegetables, light fish and lean meats.
The presentation of dishes, particularly their signature dish, which is dubbed “the amusement park of veggies,” is an art that equally appeals to the sense of sight as it does the sense of taste. Vegetables are taken to a whole new level, and some of their best desserts are created with produce, including pumpkin, potato, carrot, and even asparagus.
After celebrating their one-year anniversary in March, arcana plans to open up their terrace this summer for guests to enjoy an evening of drinks and small dishes, with a stunning view of Marunouchi. The restaurant serves as the perfect spot for lunches with clients or friends during the week, or for romantic dinner dates during the evenings. arcana attracts both an international and foreign clientele, thanks to their Japanese, English, and French-speaking staff, as well as a full menu in each language.
Table seating is available for “a la carte” dishes or prix fixe three-course lunches or eight-course dinners, refreshed every two months with seasonal ingredients. Two private rooms are available for prix fixe diners.
The balance of flavors and textures makes arcana the optimal middle ground between rich flavors and light cuisine.
Tokyo, Chiyoda, Marunouchi, 2 Chome-7-2, JP Tower 6F, 100-7006
Lunch: Monday through Sunday, 11:00–16:00;
Dinner: Monday through Saturday 18:00–23:00; Sunday and holidays 18:00–22:00
Quite simply, Yoichiro Yarita, the chef/owner of Indulge, is an artist, and the medium on which he works is his restaurant. Every element of the space is thought out: the seven-course menu that changes monthly, in keeping with the changing seasons’ freshest ingredients; the elegant, minimal atmosphere of the dining space; and even the plates and dishes on which he serves his creations—Yarita designed Indulge’s interior, and collaborated with a glassmaker to create many pieces of custom tableware for the restaurant.
Despite the control that he puts into creating this unique dining environment, Yarita gets his greatest satisfaction as a chef from seeing the spontaneous enjoyment that his customers take from his work: Indulge only seats one group a day, and this allows him to pay complete attention to his guests, and to his cooking. Yarita uses a variety of locally sourced Japanese ingredients, but combines and prepares them in novel ways, using the techniques of classic and contemporary French cuisine that he learned in the United States while studying at Chicago’s Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and working at several of the city’s finest restaurants.
Take, for example, one of Indulge’s signature offerings: a savory flan, topped with a foam garnish (During our visit, it was a white asparagus flan with Parmesan Reggiano foam). All appearances led us to expect the sweetness of a dessert, but instead the flavors of asparagus and Parmesan were presented in a unique consistency that had us curious to try the entire course menu. Indulge also features a wine list drawn entirely from Japanese varietals, which provide an ideal complement to each dish.
In a city where you can spend an inordinate amount of money for the name of a restaurant’s famous chef, this oasis close to Asakusa offers a culinary experience that truly lives up to its name: it is a place where you can take a few hours away to surprise, delight, and indulge your senses.
Indulge serves only one party a day, so book your reservation well in advance
3-19-17 Kotobuki, Taito-ku
511 Kobe-Beef Kaiseki
A meal at 511 Kobe-Beef Kaiseki will make you rethink what you know about Kobe beef. The restaurant takes its name from the two grades of beef that the restaurant exclusively uses—A5 is the highest quality of Japanese beef, and 11 is the almost the highest grade of marbling, as measured on a 12-point scale.
One of the things that makes the restaurant stand out is the beef itself. First, 511 uses meat only from thoroughbred cows, and rather than buying individual cuts, the restaurant buys the entire cow, from shoulder to rump, and takes advantage of the unique characteristics of each cut for its menu. Kaiseki ryori cuisine features a variety of small dishes, made with seasonal ingredients, and 511’s take on kaiseki ryori uses beef in almost every course, and finishes with a steak as a main.
Instead of preparing their steaks teppanyaki style, on a hot iron grill, the restaurant roasts them in a brick oven at nearly 1000°C, a process that seals in the juices, making for steaks that are rich, flavorful, and tender. As a unique touch, they are served with a light and airy foam that you cut into small slices and melt on the pieces of steak.
The food is served on exquisitely crafted pottery and lacquer, and the restaurant itself has a lush, yet contemporary look, with brushed concrete and daring architectural features. In addition to the main dining area, the restaurant also offers booth seating that can be curtained off, as well as completely private dining rooms, making it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or a convivial group meal.
In addition to the kaiseki course, 511 also offers a sukiyaki course and a mixed Kobe beef/seafood course. But don’t say we didn’t warn you: after trying the beef at 511, you just might not be able to enjoy Kobe beef anywhere else.
Open: Lunch 11:30–14:30 (L.O. 14:00) Dinner 18:00–23:00 (L.O. 22:00)
Closed: Sundays, National Holidays
B1, Dear Plaza Akasaka, Akasaka 4-3-28, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052
03-6685-0511 | Fax: 03-6893-0511
fine dining in Tokyo