I owe finding out about Kameido Gyoza to a British fellow who works as a recording engineer and also runs a part-time delivery service out of his van. As he was driving me and a secondhand IKEA sofa across town, from the west side of Tokyo out to Kinshicho –home to one of the last major stations you’ll find in Tokyo before you head east into Chiba on the Sobu Line – he said, “There’s a place you should try nearby here; it’s called Kameido Gyoza. They have a pretty good special. You can order two plates of gyoza and a beer for less than ¥1,000.”
That was one of two pieces* of advice that I remember him giving me, and I was grateful for both of them.
I must have first gone on a Saturday, a few weeks or months later. There was a fair-sized line out the door, which is always a good sign if you’re looking for what just might be the best gyoza in Tokyo. After my first gyoza, I was wondering why I’d waited for so long to make it there in the first place.
The only thing they do at Kameido Gyoza are fried gyoza, and they do them right. There’s nothing else on the menu, aside from drinks. Their dumplings are crisply fried on one side, making for a perfect, crispy-chewy complement to the perfectly seasoned meaty filling.
They come five to a plate, and the system at the restaurant is simple: you have to order at least two plates if you sit down at the counter, or one of the few table seats. After that, they keep bringing you plates until you say stop – and to keep things moving, they’ll ask you once you’re down to about two or three gyoza on the plate you’re working on. Each time you get a new plate, it’s stacked on top of the ones before it. Depending on your personality type – and just how hungry you are – this can lead to unspoken, friendly competition as you eye the stacks of plates of other diners sat around the snug counter, and think about ordering just one more plate of five.
You can dip the gyoza with soy sauce and vinegar, but the two condiments that truly stand out are their homemade rayu (chili oil) and karashi (spicy mustard), which add as much heat as you might want, should you feel the need.
Otherwise, the restaurant is a simple affair: it’s not the kind of place that’s going to wow your Instagram followers, but Kameido Gyoza has an undeniable charm, thanks to the friendly staff and the constant sizzling of freshly frying gyoza. I’m guessing that the atmosphere of the place makes them taste that much better.
So is it worth the trip? In my humble opinion, they’re the best gyoza in Tokyo, so I think so. (You can also try this writer’s three faves for comparison’s sake…) But if you’re making your way over from the western part of town and want to add to the experience, you could combine it with a visit to some to some eastside shitamachi neighborhoods like Kuramae or Asakusa, or a trip up to the top of Skytree and you’ve got a Saturday or Sunday that’s flavorful and culturally enriching.
But however you go, you should go at least once in your Tokyo life. For details about Kameido Gyoza, visit our Concierge listing.
*The other was a trick that some newer elevators in Japan can do – if you accidentally push the wrong number floor, you can double-tap the button and it will cancel your selection. Not nearly as tasty, but you may able to put it to use a couple of times.