Tokyo has seen a spate of new restaurants opening recently, and we’ve picked up a distinct trend towards importing cuisine and brands from abroad. If you’re British, German, Italian, Greek, or from Sydney or New York, you’re bound to find a favorite here…
The speciality Juicy German sausages served with authentic sauerkraut and German draft beer.
The story German founders Markus, Marc and Christopher started their business as a food truck at Aoyama’s Farmer’s Market, then opened a stall at 246 Common before officially launching their first restaurant. Who knew the demand for hearty German cuisine was so strong in Tokyo.
The food Pop by their Akasaka beerhaus for signature dishes including a variety of nine sausages, produced by a Japanese butcher who trained in Germany. Or opt for extra large schnitzel served with cranberry and apple sauce. Pair all of it with one of eight German draft beers, three of which (Bergbaum, Hafenstoff, Edelweiss) they produce locally with a craft beer brewer. All their beers are brewed under the German Beer Purity Law. And definitely don’t leave without trying the spaghetti ice cream.
What’s in a name? “Schmatz” is a German expression for the sound you make when eating something truly delicious.
The speciality Farm-to-table Italian cuisine that highlights tradition, simplicity and freshness.
The story A neighborhood restaurant originally founded in the heart of New York’s Greenwich Village, Rosemary’s is known for sourcing ingredients from the on-site vegetable garden. Their first international branch opened in Tokyo on March 25 inside the brand-new shopping complex Newoman. They plan to cultivate an urban garden and work closely with local farmers.
The food Chef Wade Moises has worked with the Japanese team to ensure the restaurant’s classics are all on the menu. Look forward to homemade mozzarella, freshly baked focaccia, and handmade orecchiette pasta with broccoli rabe. For dessert? Tiramisu, natch.
What’s in a name? Rosemary’s is named after owner Carlos Suarez’s mother and is inspired by the warmth and comfort of her home in Lucca with its beautiful garden that overlooks the Tuscan valley.
Swan & Lion
The speciality British chutneys, meat pies, cakes and sweets.
The story Ian Gibbins already had a fanbase when he opened this shop – he’s been selling his home-made chutneys at Aoyama Farmer’s Market for two years. But now you can dig into other British comforts too.
The food Stop by for a lunch-set takeaway (online ordering service coming soon) that includes delicious daily salads. We tucked into a pulled pork stew, which was rich, spicy, and made us wish our office was in Kudan-Minami so we could eat it every day.
What’s in a name? Swan & Lion will make Britons nostalgic for quirky pub names, but it also refers to the lion as a symbol of Britain, and the Sydney Swans because Gibbins became a fan after living in Australia.
The speciality American-style casual food with artisanal attention to detail for every item on the menu.
The story The Shake Shack phenomenon started off with a hot dog cart in New York City’s Madison Square Park. Twelve years later, they have opened Shake Shack Ebisu – the 90th shop worldwide, and the company’s second in Japan.
The food As Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s culinary director, explains, “We don’t see this as just a hamburger, this is an experience.” If you’ve never been experienced, start out with the basic ShackBurger, or a double if you’re feeling hungry. A relatively new item on the menu is the SmokeShack, which adds bacon and the spicy kick of cherry peppers. Ready to splurge? Go for the Shack Stack, a delicious beast made from a hamburger patty topped with a roasted portobello mushroom, which has been stuffed with melted cheese, and then deep fried. Rosati explains that when the shops open in new locations, “we want them to be ‘Shake Shack,’ but also reflect the culinary heritage of the community or city we’re moving to.” This translates to beers like Yebisu and Hitachino White on tap and desserts like the Black Sesame Shake and the restaurant’s “concretes.” These custard concoctions include two Ebisu-specific varieties: The Third Man’s Mix, which features Dominique Ansel brownies, and the E-bean-su, which is made with caramel and azuki (Japanese red beans).
What’s in a name? They started off with hot dogs and are now famous for their burgers, but they wouldn’t be Shake Shack without a callback to the American casual food joints of old – and the promise of some mighty tasty frozen offerings.
The Apollo Tokyo
The speciality Greek cuisine known for its simple yet delicious ingredients, unique flavor combinations, and healthy portions.
The story The Apollo got its start in Sydney, Australia, helmed by Jonathan Barthelmess – who became a star chef on the Sydney scene thanks to his blend of traditional Mediterranean techniques and modern sense of culinary style. Opened at the end of March 2016 in the Tokyo Plaza Ginza Building by Barthelmess and fellow Sydney restaurateur Sam Christie, The Apollo Tokyo offers tastes that will satisfy long-time Greek food fans and neophytes alike.
The food You can order plenty of dishes a la carte, but one of the best ways to experience the full range of flavors on offer is “The Full Greek”. It starts off with a selection of olives and then moves on to the taramosalata (mullet roe, lemon juice, and olive oil) dip, served with warm pita bread. Next up is a Greek salad, saganaki (pan-fried cheese), and a main dish of slow-cooked lamb.
What’s in a name? Apollo was a Greek god. That is all.
– Reviews by Annemarie Luck and Alec Jordan