When any local or visitor to Tokyo is asked what they love most about the city, more often than not the cuisine makes it to the top of the list. Plenty of tourists come here purely for the food, and chefs around the globe rave about the quality of the ingredients. But when time is short, how can you manage to try out a wide variety of Japanese cuisine? New luxury department store GINZA SIX, which opened its doors in April, has solved this dilemma by launching an array of restaurants and shops that pretty much cover all bases. From yakiniku and tempura to tea cocktails and matcha parfaits, the shopping center is a paradise for foodies.
To help you navigate your way around, we’ve selected our top 10 restaurants serving local dishes. And just in case you’re craving a bottle of red from Bordeaux or a sweet pie from L.A., we’ve also rounded up five treats for those with more cosmopolitan tastes.
1. Tsukiji Bar with Uoriki at Ginza Grand Premium Food Hall
To sample a variety of Japanese dishes in one place, head to the Ginza Grand Premium Food Hall on the 6th floor. Counter-seating shops with noren curtains serve cuisine from selected restaraunts and shops from all over Japan. There are 10 eateries in total, including one tea salon known for its top quality tea.
If you choose just one of the 10 eateries, we recommend Tsukiji Bar with Uoriki, where you can enjoy a classic ceviche created by renowned pioneer of molecular gastronomy Chikara Yamada. The menu is designed to be enjoyed with a glass of champagne. Also, on the last Friday of every month from 3pm to 9pm, they host a Japanese sake-tasting event where you can sample renowned sake brands from around the country. For contact details, click here.
2. Hokkaido Uedagumi at Ginza Grand Premium Food Hall
While you can find exceptionally fresh fish pretty much anywhere in Japan, Hokkaido is particularly known for its high quality seafood. It’s also known for a dish called kaisendon, a seafood bowl that includes rice topped with sashimi and other ingredients. You can sample several varieties of this dish at Uedagumi, which only serves fish from Shibetsu, a city in Hokkaido that’s known for its excellent salmon, scallops, trout and shellfish. You’re in good hands with regards to the sushi chef too – Katsuharu Takano earned his stripes at Ginza Kyubey, often considered one of Tokyo’s top sushi restaurants. For contact details, click here.
3. Mixology Salon
Founded by master mixologist Shuzo Nagumo, Mixology Salon’s speciality is the “teatail”:
cocktails made with high quality Japanese green tea leaves. First-timers should try the Gyokuro Cocktail Course, which includes three infusions of gyokuro (the highest quality green tea in Japan) to allow you to experience different flavor strengths. At the end, you get to eat the remaining tea leaves with smoked oyster soy sauce, and you’ll also be treated to homemade gyokuro vodka. Those who’re looking for an autumn seasonal offering should go for the Pear and Taiwan Oolong Cocktail. For contact details, click here.
4. The Grand Ginza
Occupying 1,500m² on the top floor of GINZA SIX, this luxury space features a lounge, restaurant, bar, and teahouse all designed to stimulate the six senses and let visitors enjoy a sensual dining experience. Be sure to stop by THE GRAND VIP, which boasts extraordinarily beautiful Japanese décor with a contemporary touch – the folding screen, for example, is handpainted by kimono designer Jotaro Saito – and an exquisite tea ceremony room (reservations required). For contact details, click here.
5. Teppanyaki 10 Ginza
One of the most-loved cuisines in Japan, teppanyaki refers to food that is cooked on an iron griddle. If you’re in the mood for an extravagant meal, go for the lunch course at Teppanyaki 10 Ginza and enjoy specialties such as sea urchin, wagyu steak, and abalone. For autumn 2017, they’re serving a limited-edition champagne cocktail featuring ingredients such as orange, cinnamon and cherry. For contact details, click here.
6. Tempura Yamanoue Ginza
Even if this is your first time in Japan, you’ve most likely already heard of, and tasted, tempura. But don’t underestimate the ability of Japanese chefs to make everything taste – and look – better. At Tempura Yamanoue Ginza, the Ai dinner course highlights the senses of each season and the richness of Japanese ingredients. The tempura batter is silky and light, and you’ll be treated to a performance by culinary artisans to demonstrate the deep-frying process. To top off the experience, your meal is served in custom-made traditional Japanese lacquerware. Private dining rooms are available. For contact details, click here.
7. Imadeya Ginza
Founded in 1962, Imadeya Ginza stocks around 1,000 varieties of local sake, shochu and wine. Believing that “you can tell a story with each bottle of liquor,” Imadeya works closely with artisans around Japan to learn about their sophisticated brewing techniques and understand the back stories of each brand. If you’re looking for a souvenir or gift, consider the Imadeya original Ryujo Sherry, a blend of four different rice shochu aged for 11 years in a sherry cask. For contact details, click here.
8. Yakiniku Sansui
Imagine an indoor barbecue, with beef and pork sliced into bite-sized pieces, cooked on a miniature grill that sits in the center of your dinner table, and eaten with chopsticks. This is yakiniku: a very civilized yet no less entertaining version of the Western barbecue. At Yakiniku Sansui, the experience is taken to the next level with a selection of only the best quality kuroge wagyu, which is considered Japan’s highest grade of beef. It’s fatty and succulent and full of flavor. The chef here carefully selects the best parts of the meat each day, and insists that it is served without cold storage so as to preserve its fine taste. For contact details, click here.
9. Nakamura Tokichi
Originally founded in 1854, Nakamura Tokichi uses a selection of precious Japanese teas to develop unique desserts. Definitely try their custom-made matcha parfait which lets you choose different ingredients such as kuri (Japanese chestnuts), raspberries, and arare (roasted rice crackers). From October 1 to November 30, you can enjoy a special autumn afternoon tea set including a variety of cakes and two types of tea. For contact details, click here.
10. Ginza Sennenkoujiya
If you can’t make it all the way to Japan’s Niigata Prefecture to visit the Hakkaisan sake brewery, you’ll be pleased to know you can browse almost the entire Hakkaisan lineup right here at Ginza Sennenkoujiya. For a truly unique sake, we suggest picking up a bottle of snow-aged Junmai Ginjo, which is matured for three years in a store room that’s naturally chilled by an abundance of snow. The snow acts as a refrigerator, keeping the temperature at three degrees Celsius. For contact details, click here.
FIVE GINZA SIX TREATS FOR GLOBAL FOODIE FANS
1. The Pie Hole Los Angeles
First opened in Los Angeles in 2011, The Pie Hole is a family-run business known for their unique sweet pies. Their branch in GINZA SIX sells all the firm favorites from L.A. along with a few extra Japanese flavors. For a taste of everything, the Sweet Assort Box is ideal as it’s “a pie made up of different pies” (think apple crumble, matcha, pecan pie and more). For fall, try their Chestnut Mont Blanc (until October 31, 2017). For contact details, click here.
2. Wine Shop Enoteca
Incorporating a wine shop and cellar, a café and bar, and an art corner, Enoteca caters to the wine connoisseur’s every need. You’ll find more than 1,600 varieties on offer, from easy drinking daily wines to renowned premium brands. One of their newest products is Rose Del Borro 2016, produced by Il Borro winery, which is based in Tuscany, Italy, and owned by fashion designer Salvatore Ferragamo. If you have time to linger longer, Enoteca sells wine by the glass for just ¥500 each, giving you the chance to sample before you buy (be sure to try one of their wine cocktails). For contact details, click here.
3. Jasmine Washinkansai
The philosophy of this restaurant is reflected in the store name, as washinkansai means “Chinese cooking with a Japanese spirit.” Essentially, they seek to merge traditional Chinese cuisine with the Japanese sensibility of wa (harmony). The speciality is their mouth-watering chicken dish that’s flavored with 15 spices, and served in a bowl of original black vinegar and chili oil sauce. Also highly recommended is the spicy Sichuan-style sukiyaki (hot pot) dish featuring roast beef, negi mochi (sticky rice cake with spring onions), edible chrysanthemums, and tofu. For contact details, click here.
4. Salt Grill & Tapas Bar by Luke Mangan
This is the first grill and tapas concept restaurant by Australian star chef Luke Mangan, who now runs a total of 21 restaurants around the world. Settle into the modern rustic atmosphere and prepare to relish premium-grade Aussie beef, which you’ll find on the a la carte menu in the main dining room. For a more casual affair, relax in the bar and lounge area while tucking into tapas paired with handcrafted cocktails – we love their quirky names such as Flying Kangaroo and Office Romance. For contact details, click here.
5. Il Cardinale
Love Italian food? Il Cardinale is afiliated with the long-standing Ristorante Sabatini di Firenze, which is legendary in Florence, Italy, so you know you’ll be getting the real deal here. Focusing on genuine Italian cooking and traditional Tuscan cuisine, Il Cardinale serves a superb Bistecca alla Fiorentina. The thick slab of T-bone steak is roasted at a high temperature so it’s perfectly charred on the outside but still soft and succulent on the inside. For a fall treat, they’ll be serving a special grilled lamb and porcini mushroom dish, designed to be enjoyed by two people (available from October 2017). For contact details, click here.
For map and contact details for GINZA SIX, go to our Concierge listing.