New highs in haute cuisine come to life at the city’s five-star hotels, built into office towers hovering over grand parks and historic sites. The Conrad Tokyo’s Kazahana is the canvas of Chef Katsuhiro Tamura, known for fusing Japanese techniques with unexpected combinations of ingredients. The Shangri-La Hotel Tokyo houses Nadaman, go-to fine dining for executives throughout Japan. This means everything is prepared for the Japanese palate, and Westerners are assured authenticity. Craving Kobe and Waygu beef? The Peninsula Tokyo not only delivers, but also factors in postcard views of the Imperial Palace East Gardens and perfect cocktails. www.conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/japan/conrad-tokyo-TYOCICI www.shangri-la.com/tokyo www.tokyo.peninsula.com
The trick to finding Tokyo’s ultra-local eateries is to follow your nose. This is how we located Hounen Manpuku, packed with financial district professionals and luscious aromas emanating from grilled meats, and Curry Tsukemen Syuuichi in Ebisu, an exquisite shoebox-sized find where one pays upfront via vending machine and can eat lavishly for about US$10.
Curry Tsukemen Syuuichi, 1-9-2 Ebisu-Nishi, Shibuya-ku
Dens of Zen
The Hoshinoya Hotel Tokyo is the perfect introduction to the traditional Japanese “ryokan.” Guests remove their shoes upon entering and are welcomed with formal tea service. They are encouraged to wear full kimonos during the stay, and experience the rooftop onsen (hot spring pools). Western and Japanese breakfasts are served in impressive bento boxes, and washed down with more fantastic tea. The lush green park surrounding Shioiri Pond is the site of a villa of the 17th-century Shogun Tokugawa, and a traditional Japanese teahouse serving green tea and sweets as they may have been enjoyed in Tokyo’s Edo era (1603–1868).
To experience the future of Tokyo mixology, you’ll need Google Maps to chart out neighbourhood it-bars. Takuya Itoh and Rogerio Igarashi Vaz are the brains behind Bar Trench and Bar Tram in trendy Ebisu, featuring nuanced cocktails deftly blending Eastern and Western spirits. In a residential section of Shibuya, Gen Yamamoto transforms bartending into theatre in his reservations-only, eight-seat venue. His drinks are tiny sculptures of seasonal fruit, herbs, sake, gin, whiskey and other spirits. Codename Mixology offers cozy ambiance and wonderful made-to-order and barrel-aged libations in its three locations.