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Indian food, and especially curry, has gained popularity in Japan. While the Japanese culinary world has created their own sweet and spicy version of curry, classic Indian restaurants still have a strong following all throughout Japan and Tokyo. While Indian restaurants have several vegetarian options, (vegetarians rejoice!), Ueno is home to an Indian restaurant that is 100% vegetarian and even has a few vegan options! If you are a lover of vegetables, Vege Herb Saga in Ueno is sure to please your special palate as well as your meat eating friends! Every person will walk away satisfied no matter what their diet is!

While the outside of Vege Herb Saga is a bit innocuous, you will be lured in by the smells of herbs and spices floating out the door day and night. Vege Herb Saga bakes their own naan bread and has their own special mix of masala that they make as well so everything at this Indian restaurant is super fresh. Along with making everything in house, Vege Herb Saga believes in excellent food quality. Everything that is served at this Indian restaurant is 100% meat, egg, fish, and dashi broth free (which is extremely difficult to find in Japan). Also, all of their food is made without ingredients that are from processed sources and all of their ingredients are organic and GMO free. When you order a dish from Vege Herb Saga, not only will it be delicious but your body will thank you for the lack of processed ingredients and chemicals!

Vege Herb Saga specializes in Southern Indian Cuisine. Whether you are in the mood for some delicious Vegetable Masala, a crispy samosa, or Dal Makhni you will not walk away hungry. Most people are familiar with dishes like Vegetable Masala and curry but Vege Herb Saga has such a wide variety of little known and less popular (but still wildly delicious) Indian dishes so do not be shy when ordering and branch out! Also, no matter what dish you order, you will get a side salad, naan, or rice with each dish. To end your meal, try some of their dessert lemon rice, Rose Lassi, or Mango Kulfi!

If you are a vegetarian or vegan out and about in Japan, be sure to stop by Vege Herb Saga to fill up on some 100% vegetarian Indian fare!

Address:東京都台東区上野5-16-9
GPS:35.7058159, 139.77529060000006
Telephone:03 – 5818 – 4154
Web:http://www.vegeherbsaga.com

October 22, 2014 0 comment
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A good Mexican place is difficult to find in Tokyo. Either you will find a place that serves decent rice dishes but their burritos are drowning in sauce, or everything is just a Mexican dish with heavy Japanese flavors. Either way, tradition is often overlooked. But have no fear Mexican food fans because there is hope in the quiet suburb of Daikanyama! Get ready to experience authentic Mexican food while feeling like you are an A-list celebrity! On the ninth floor of a gorgeous Daikanyama skyscraper is the incredibly sophisticated and upscale restaurant, Hacienda del Cielo, where Tokyo’s hippest and most fun loving people go for good drinks, good atmosphere, and fantastic Mexican food!

First of all, if you are ready to dive into Hacienda del Cielo’s food and drink, you absolutely need to make a reservation at least one day in advance. Whether it be a Tuesday or a Saturday, this place is always packed and without a reservation be prepared to be waiting for at least one hour. With you reservation in place, put on your dinner jacket or your sexiest heels!

Their menu is a wonderful compilation of classic Japanese appetizers like picked vegetables and potato salad and authentic Mexican dishes that you rarely see even in American Mexican restaurants. Try their calamari and grapefruit ceviche, or their shrimp mint and avocado mini tacos, or get adventurous with their ajillo of pork tongue and mushrooms! While the smaller plates at Hacienda del Cielo are perfect for sharing with the table, their larger dishes are both more familiar as well as equally delicious and authentic. You can get burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas, and fajitas that are both light as well as flavorful. You will not be digging through sauces and cheeses to find your food at this restaurant. At Hacienda del Cielo, all of their dishes utilize fresh herbs and spices to bring out the best in their food.

If you think that their food menu is extensive, just wait until you see their cocktail and drink menu. All of their cocktails are made with fresh ingredients and juices, nothing from concentrate, and all have their own unique flair. With home made sangria, three different kinds of mojitos, and more than 10 different signature cocktails, it can be hard to pick just one! If fruity cocktails are not your cup of tea, Hacienda del Cielo also has an extensive selection of more than 8 kinds of Mexican beers. But what people really go for are their frozen margaritas, which are served by the pitcher and are perfect for sharing.

The food and drink is just as good as the atmosphere. You can sit inside underneath a lovely chandelier in leather booths with warm red walls or you can sit outside underneath the night sky in comfy lounge sofas with a wonderful and clear view of Tokyo tower.

If you want to pamper yourself while enjoying some great Mexican food, make a reservation for Hacienda del Cielo in Daikanyama!

Address:10-1, Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0033
GPS:35.6515836, 139.70184719999997
Telephone:03 – 5457 – 1521
Email:hacienda@huge.co.jp
Web: http://modern-mexicano.jp/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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There is nothing like a good meal. Whether it be after a day of sight seeing, shopping, or after a long night out on the town, a good plate of food that is both fast and delicious can make everything feel better. Sure you can go to a McDonalds or another fast food joint, but when in Japan go where the Japanese go to refuel. With locations all over Japan, many of them open 24 hours, CoCo Curry Ichibanya can give you a delicious meal that is cheap and delicious.

If you have yet to try Japanese curry, then CoCo Curry Ichibanya is a good place for your first plate. Unlike the curry at your favorite Indian restaurant, Japanese curry has a delicious balance of sweetness and spiciness. With the combination of rice, Japanese curry is elevated to a level that is absolutely irresistible. At CoCo Curry Ichibanya, however, you are offered more than just your standard curry and rice because the options and side dishes are endless. For the meat lover, you can get anything from tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet) to a burger with a soft boiled egg in your curry. If fish is your thing, try come calamari curry or mixed seafood curry. When in Japan, why not try some truly Japanese toppings such as natto or omurice curry. The vegetarian can also have a good meal at CoCo Curry Ichibanya with options like roasted vegetable curry as well as a variety of salad options that will keep anyone full and happy.

If you want a little something extra with your curry than just one topping, CoCo Curry Ichibanya has a menu of sides to make your curry just the way you like it. Their sides include options like okra, soft boiled egg, or sesame seeds. To finish off the meal, you can also get some excellent dessert options like a mango pudding parfait or ice cream.

When you are out and about and need a fast but delicious option to satisfy yourself, go a head and seek out a CoCo Curry Ichibanya for the perfect meal.

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Little TGV

Akihabara is known for its quirks and individual atmosphere. From the game centers that are on every street corner to the otaku that flood from the stations to collect merchandise from their favorite anime or game series, Akihabara is certainly one of a kind. The anime and gaming culture that purveys Akihabara is not the only thing that is infamous about this particular area of town for their eateries and cafes are also what make Akihabara special. Maid cafes and other kinds of specialty restaurants are famous worldwide for their attention to detail and pure Akihabara-ness. However, being served super sugary waffles by a waitress wearing cat ears may not be everyone’s cup of tea because, it is true, the maid cafe experience could get a bit overwhelming at some times. For those who are still looking for an Akihabara kind of dining experience, but are not looking for a maid cafe. you are in luck! Just past the JR Akihabara station and only one block off of the main road, Chuo-dori, is the restaurant Little TGV. This hybrid of maid cafe meets train dining car is just right to have that special Akihabara meal that you are looking for!

You are in for a real fun time when you go to Little TGV! The waitresses are all dressed as super cute train conductors in a tasteful but still adorable way. Also, these waitresses at Little TGV are extremely attentive and hard working, so you won’t have to worry about being left hanging while waiting to order for hours on end. For those familiar with the language of the train platforms of Japan, you will recognize some of the same phrases used by the waitresses which is a nice little touch for those who are enthusiastic about the Japanese language.

While the waitresses at Little TGV are spectacular, it is the food and drinks that are really special. Every dish and ingredient that can be morphed or molded into some train-themed object has been. Your tamago maki (cooked egg roll) will be placed on train tracks of nori in miniature train car shapes. If you order an onigiri (rice ball) appetizer, it will arrive in the shape of a Shinkansen conductor car instead of the classic triangle shape. Drinks are named after specific railways and you can get the “Shinkansen Special” drink if you would like something a little stronger. The menu you order from will also be familiar. If you have ever looked at a map in a train station, you will be able to recognize it on your menu. Each stop is a different dish, appetizer, dessert, or drink which could be fun to see what your home train station has to offer!

If you have been looking for a wholly Akihabara style meal but are nervous to go and try the infamous maid cafes around town, then give Little TGV a try for some fun train items!

Address:101-0021 東京都千代田区外神田3-10-5
GPS:35.7013635, 139.77063829999997
Telephone:03 – 3255 – 5223
Web: http://www.littletgv.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Bangkok Oriental

With so many different restaurant choices to satisfy your curious palate, it can be hard to decide on one place to sit down and eat (especially if you are in a group of more than three people). There are dishes in the Tokyo area that you absolutely must try before you leave Japan such as the classic tonkatsu curry or shabu shabu. Of course there is the famed Japanese restaurant experience of kaiten sushi (the super entertaining conveyor belt sushi) as well as the never ending variety of sweets that you can indulge in. However, if you have been hitting up solely Japanese restaurants there is hope on the horizon for a little bit of variety. If you are in the bustling yet cozy area of Meguro, take a look around you and you can see that there are culinary options from around the world such as Italy and France. There is a fantastic little gem snuggled between a Seven-Eleven and a Starbucks by the name of Bangkok Oriental. Here you will be able to dig into some wonderfully delicious and authentic Thai food that will not disappoint.

Step off the bustling Meguro-dori, just a few blocks away from the JR Meguro station, and up the stairs to enter the Bangkok Oriental restaurant. Get ready to be transported from an urban Japanese landscape and into an upscale Thai atmosphere. Bangkok Oriental is tastefully ornamented with various bronze statues, floral arrangements, and sweet little elephants in a way that is not overwhelming or cluttered in the least. The tables are extremely clean and everything seems to glitter in the dim lighting, especially your waitresses whose traditional uniforms are embroidered with gold and beaded with petite flowers. For the comfort of the customers, and very distinct from other restaurants, the smoking and non smoking sections are in separate rooms entirely so that both parties are able to dine in complete comfort.

The food at Bangkok Oriental is exquisite and wholly represents traditional Thai flavors that so many are fans of. If you are thinking that you will be getting a Japanese inspired Thai cuisine, you will be pleasantly surprised, although their drink and alcohol menu does have a Japanese flair. Bangkok Oriental does not skimp on the spices and sauces so therefore, if the menu describes something as “spicy,” you have been warned. Of course you can have classic favorites like Pad Thai and shrimp spring rolls but it is highly recommended that you try some of the less popular traditional Thai favorites at Bangkok Oriental. They have a wide range of soups that are both delicious to look at as well as dig into and their variety of lightly fried shell fish and crab is both crispy and flavorful. Their dipping sauces are just as good as their food and does not overpower the dish in the slightest and it is tempting to use the garnish to get just one last taste of it. Their traditional desserts like taro cubes in coconut cream and Thai layer cake are the perfect way to end the meal.

If you are looking for a little something different for dinner this evening, Bangkok Oriental in Meguro is certainly a place to consider. What is even better, they have menus in Japanese, English, as well as Thai!

Address:153-0064 東京都目黒区下目黒1-3-1
GPS:35.6341809, 139.71323389999998
Telephone:03 – 5719 – 0082
Web: http://www.bangkok-oriental.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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FAI AOYAMA

Fai Aoyama is located close to Omotesando station and is a medium-sized club by Tokyo standards, with a maximum capacity of 400 people. They have a good sound system and generally their DJs play house music. They often have visiting DJs and musicians though, so there can be more variety depending on the night. It’s best to check out the event scedule on their website before going there. Most of the DJs playing hear aren’t so well-known, so it makes for an intimate setting and attracts people who know underground or emerging DJs.

Fai Aoyama is a restaurant as well as a club, so they have a food menu available on most days. The menu consists of a range of pasta, soup and steaks, all made with the finest ingredients with a prcie tage to match. For example, they offer spaghetti arrabiata for 4000 yen.

Drinks are more reasonable, with beers and basic cocktails priced at 700 yen and more complicated cocktails priced at 900 yen. Also, if you come hear for a nightclub event, a drink or two is often included in the ticket price. The entrance fee for nightclub events depends on the event

The crowd at Fai Aoyama, is generally friendly and up for a good time. Most people who come hear are into their music and dancing, so it’s a great place to come for a good night out and to escape the chaos of Roppongi and Shibuya.

Address:5-10-1 Minamiaoyama, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
GPS:35.6632642, 139.71441419999996
Telephone:03-5466-3181
Web:http://www.fai-aoyama.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Toraya Cafe

The Japanese love for sweets and cute food becomes immediately apparent walking down Harajuku’s Takeshita-dori past the dozens of cake shops and crepe stands. Even savoy foods like オムライス (omelet rice) are molded in some specialty shops into the shape of a chick or a sleeping bear. The search for a place to sit and eat that has that perfect balance of light food, coffee, but also that touch of sweetness that makes Japanese pastries and other desserts oh so irresistible is difficult to find. Its a good thing that one cafe with a location in Omotesando Hills has been creating and carrying on that balance since it originated about 500 years ago. In the heart of Omotesando’s shopping district and not far from the Tokyo Metro’s Omotesando station and JR’s Harajuku station is Toraya Cafe on the first basement floor of the super stylish multiplex of Omotesando Hills. Here you’ll find just what you need whether it be a little something to calm a sweet tooth or something light to eat with a friend over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine. Whatever it is Toraya Cafe is sure to please.

The interior of Toraya Cafe sets the tone for a relaxing but modern cafe experience. The unique design of the signage outside the cafe is innovative and the rounded yet concave light fixtures make looking at your atmosphere just as appetizing as the food that you are about to enjoy. No matter what time of day or what it is that you are craving, there is something to satisfy everyone at Toraya Cafe. If you arrive early enough for breakfast time, you can order one of their specialty breakfast sets which range from the classic bagel with cream cheese to a more Japanese style あんペーストトースト(sweet bean paste on sandwich style toasted bread). If you have arrived to the Toraya Cafe later in the day, you will not be disappointed in the least! The Toraya’s claim to fame are their Japanese style pastries and sweets with a worldly twist. Choose from a variety of options such as a maccha pound cake, or a chocolate brownie yogurt parfait, or maybe go out on a limb and dry the dango submerged in a traditional style sweet Japanese soy sauce. The Toraya Cafe is also a prime location for a later evening sit down snack on you own or with a friend for the Toraya Cafe offers more savory items like a pesto pasta tossed with fresh veggies or a personal pizza cooked on a piece of flat bread. Choose from a variety of wines to go with your meal or select a tea that peaks your interest!

No matter what it is you are looking for to nosh on, the storied and experienced Toraya Cafe will be sure to please! If you are in the Omotesando area, be sure to stop by the Toraya Cafe for something delicious.

Address:Omotesando Hills B1F, 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6691904, 139.707501752
Telephone:03-3569-7061
Website

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Every street corner in Japan is brimming with a selection of different restaurants, コンビニ (convenience stores), and パン屋 (bread and pastry shops). Finding, let alone selecting, the perfect restaurant to sit down and eat after a long day of exploring can be a challenge in and of itself. It can be tempting to get your self to an izakaya and have some kind of meat dish or even give in and go to a familiar Subway for a homesickness-curing sub, but why not extend yourself a little bit and experience traditional Japanese food and sweets like you never have before? Get yourself back home and put on your little black dress before getting on a train bound Higashiya in Ginza. If you are able to get yourself to Higashiya’s secluded location close to the Tokyo Metro’s Ginza-Itchome station, your taste buds will be blessed with expertly prepared foods and desserts.

Higashiya is nothing like the several Tsukiya’s that you probably passed on your way to Ginza. The interior is understated, yet delicate. The dining room and reception desk is bathed in a warm light emitted from a spattering of delicate hanging lights suspended around the room. The soft light that seems to be sinking into every corner of Higashiya is made even more apparent with the use of blond wood furniture and panelling offset by their use of black place settings, utensils, and dish ware. The lattice work of the chair that you sit in on its own will make you feel like you are in for a very special meal.

It is suggested that you order something from their drink menu to start your expertly planned and executed dining experience. Higashiya prides themselves in their high quality and Japanese sourced teas which you get a full pot of all to yourself, or to share if you are so inclined. If you are dining later in the night or if tea is not your thing, Higashiya also has an impressive selection of Japanese beers, sochu (a kind of distilled rice liquor), wine, and other kinds of liquors based on what suits your palate. To better add something special to your meal, ask your server which alcoholic beverage best goes with your meal. Each carafe that your beverage will be served in is more impressive than the last, which makes it difficult to order just one!

The drinks offered at Higashiya are just the beginning. The menu at Higashiya may be small, but you can beassured that that simply means that what you will be ordered is crafted like a beautiful work of art. In the traditional Japanese style, your meal is served in separate delicate bowls and each is filled with something that looks too beautiful to eat. Though the portions may be small, looks are deceiving because the taste of the food will fill your senses and leave you happy. If you want a little bit of Higashiya to take home with you, then go to their sweets shop where you can get traditional dango and other Japanese sweets that will be beautifully wrapped up for you.

If you are looking for a dining experience that is above and beyond, get to Higashiya for something extraordinary.

Address:104-0061 東京都中央区銀座1-7-7 ポーラ銀座ビル2F
GPS:35.6743041, 139.76786360000006
Telephone:03-3538-3230 / 03-3538-3240
Web: http://www.higashiya.com/

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Clinton St. Baking Tokyo

Not many restaurants in the Tokyo area have been so renowned as to have been praised by the New York Times, Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay, and the Today show. If this restaurant and bakery has gained such praise in the States, then it must be worth a visit! The Clinton St. Baking Tokyo restaurant and bakery is located just South of the Omotesando Hills shopping district and will be a welcome place to nourish your shopping self after an afternoon of beefing up your wardrobe. While the bakery opens at 8 am and closes once their stock of delicious muffins, scones, and brownies run out, their restaurant is open until 11.

Whether you are a kid or just a kid at heart, the Clinton St. Baking Tokyo has a wide selection of “breakfast for dinner” options that have been updated for your adult palate. In the mood for scrambled eggs? Try Clinton St.’s updated salmon scramble, which is a delicious mix of smoked salmon and goat cheese. They also mix up their menu with more down home country offerings of chicken and waffles, eggs benedict, and huevos rancheros. If breakfast is not on your mind at dinner time, try their selection of Angus burgers, crap cakes, several scallop dishes, or selection of tacos. The diner who is more vegetable inclined will certainly not leave hungry either. The progressive Clinton St. Baking Tokyo offers a delicious and delicate beet salad or veggie burger. But with all this upscale food on your plate, why not pair it with one of their selections of boozy adult milkshakes or maybe a Bloody Mary?

It is not like Japan is devoid of classic American favorites in their restaurants. Just like in America, Japan is jumping on recent dining trends like goat cheese and avocado. However, a restaurant that has perfected it to a level that has gained American culinary acclaim is hard to find, especially on a budget. Your wallet and gullet will be very pleased with the Clinton St. Tokyo Restaurant and Bakery located in the Omotesando shopping district.

Address:YHT Minami-Aoyama Bldg, 5-17-1 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
GPS:35.6636369, 139.724855636
Telephone:03 – 6450-5944
Email:info@clintonstreetbaking.co.jp
Web: http://clintonstreetbaking.co.jp/

Monday:8:00 – 23:00
Tuesday:8:00 – 23:00
Wednesday:8:00 – 23:00
Thursday:8:00 – 23:00
Friday:8:00 – 23:00
Saturday:8:00 – 23:00
Sunday:8:00 – 23:00

October 20, 2014 0 comment
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Oak Door Bar, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan

The Oak Door Bar, located in the Roppongi Grand Hyatt, is a popular spot for an elegant evening out. A grill restaurant is adjacent to the bar, so either before or after your drinks, you can savor the a premium cut of meat. The atmosphere is sophisticated and intimate, and both the bar and restaurant are decorated with warm, rich tones.

Oak Door Bar, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan

Address: 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan 106-0032
Hours: Daily 11:30Am – 1:00AM
Telephone: 03-4333-8784
Web: http://restaurants.tokyo.grand.hyatt.com/oak-door-restaurant/bar.html

Photo: creative commons licensed (BY) Flickr photo by Ömer Ünlü: Light and Glass

 

October 13, 2014 0 comment
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