Tokyo Restaurants: Cheap Eats

July 11, 2019

Paul Kay

I’ve worked in Tokyo on multiple occasions and have eaten all over the city. Some meals were with work colleagues, but most were with Madeline. She lived in Tokyo with me twice, and we enjoyed the city and its large selection of restaurants.

Madeline and I regularly cooked at home, but we usually explored Tokyo on weekends and ate somewhere during our travels. Sometimes it was mid-priced and other times it was special occasion and higher priced.

We also have posts for Tokyo barscafésmedium pricedhigh end, and of course, McDonald's restaurants.

Also check out our other Tokyo posts.

Hanamaru Udon Kayabacho

Hanamaru Udon was nearby when I worked in Chuo. It’s an interesting place. We went for udon noodles. I had them hot, so they stirred in daikon radish and sauce. Then I selected another plate of either tempura or curry. You can select a wide range of tempura, including chicken, seafood and vegetables.

Hanamaru Udon Restaurant Kayabacho Chuo Tokyo Japan

 Go to Hanamaru Udon to feel like a local

The prices at Hanamaru Udon are very reasonable. A satisfying lunch, without a drink, was 500 yen, slightly more if you sample some of the tempura offerings. The service is friendly and efficient. They offered me a soup spoon for my curry dish, since they knew chopsticks were not going to work. The staff speaks a little English and everyone is very friendly.

You feel like a local at this place.

Yoshinoya Kayabacho

Yoshinoya operates more than 1200 restaurants in Japan. Here it’s easy for a foreigner to order a beef bowl. This comprises beef or pork on top of rice with miso soup. I liked the ginger pork. You can also order broiled eel and curry, but most people come for the beef bowl. You’ll recognize the store by the bright orange sign.

Yoshinoya Restaurant, Nihonbashi, Kayabacho, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 Another noodle shop to feel like a local

We didn’t hear a lot of English spoken at Yoshinoya, but I easily navigated the menu. The noodle restaurants all over Japan are generally inexpensive. And many workers eat here, so you’ll eat like a local!

Jonathan’s, Hatchobori

Jonathan’s is a family-friendly restaurant open 24 hours a day. It feels like a Denny’s.

Jonathan's Coffee and Restaurant, Hatchobori, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 Tokyo's version of Denny's

It serves a wide variety of food. You can get pasta, pancakes and Japanese dishes. You’ll see some food choices that resemble what you might find in the United States (like those pancakes!), but the presentation and taste will be different. You’re in Japan so take a chance! The desserts are good. Since it’s open 24 hours, you’ll never be too early or late.

WENT Coffee Co.

We walked to WENT because of its proximity to my office. I was surprised to see how many international dishes were on the menu. English is on the menu, too. And they offer specials every day.

WENT Coffee Co., Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 WENT is a stylish brasserie in the heart of Tokyo

The interior has a feel of a brasserie. There are chalkboard menu specials, along with a printed menu. The food was delicious, and the service fast and friendly.

WENT Coffee Co. Counter, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 Baristas are stylish everywhere in the world but especially in Tokyo

I didn’t realize the company is more famous for their coffee than the restaurant. I did notice many customers drinking the coffee. But I went for lunch, which was delicious.

Aiyentep Turkish Kebab

The last time we were in Roppongi, there were three Kebab restaurants within a block of each other. Aiyentep (previously Kader Kabab) is right around the corner from Roppongi Station.

Serving chicken and a blended meat, Aiyentep is terrific. And you can choose the level of spice you want. They give you a little lentil soup in a cup while you wait for the guy to slice the meat off the spinning heater.

Very friendly people work here. And the meal is inexpensive and filling. I ate here on a regular basis to get my gyros-like wrapped sandwich. I also loved their free lentil soup.

Homework's Azabu

Homework's Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 Homework's looks like an Irish pub

We’ve been to Homework's a couple of times: once for breakfast and once for dinner. They offer a wide selection of sandwiches for dinner, including very good burgers. The burgers come in small, medium and large sizes and are reasonably priced—even for Tokyo.

Homework's Azabujuban First Gourmet Hamburger Restaurant In Tokyo, Japan

 Think homework as in home-cooked goodness

Homework’s has a proud heritage. They were the first gourmet burger place in Tokyo. The burgers are very good but so are their french fries. They are more like the fries you get with steak frites. There are plenty of other sandwiches to choose from. Homework’s even has onion rings and milk shakes. This is a very nice comfort food place.

Delivery cycles for Homework's Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 Get home-cooked meals delivered to your home

And they deliver, just in case you’re too tired to go out to eat after a full day of Tokyo exploring.


Nakau is a chain with locations throughout Japan, and we’ve been few times. You won’t hear much English here, but you can make out most of the meals quite easily by the pictures. I recommend the beef curry with udon noodles. I also like the curry with pork cutlet meal.

Nakau Udon Soft Noodles Restaurant Akasaka, Minato, Tokyo, Japan

 A chain you'll find all over Japan

Madeline and I have also been to Kyoto, and Nakau reminds us of places in ramen places in Kyoto. This restaurant has rice bowls (donburi) topped with a selection of meats and other items. The noodles are Kyoto-style udon soft noodles flavored with a dashi broth. Donburi and udon are two examples of reasonably priced everyday meals enjoyed by the Japanese.

The restaurant also serves a typical Japanese breakfast options, including grilled salmon, miso soup and egg. This is a great place to experience what the locals enjoy, and you will probably enjoy it too!

Burri Burrito & Tacos

Tasty tacos and burritos in Azabujuban

Unfortunately, Burri permanently closed. But we hear they’re trying to reopen. If you visit Tokyo, definitely see if they’ve reopened. And if we hear anything, we’ll update this post.

Menu, Burri Burrito And Taco, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 The menu at Burri

We went to Burri for lunch and had a taco and a burrito. They offer a set meal with a drink for a reasonable sum. Burri offered chicken, pork, steak and vegetable choices. They had extra hot sauce for those who want it.

Burrito and Taco at Burri Burrito And Tacos, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 A burrito for Paul and a taco for Madeline

Everything was fresh and tasty. Burri made all their salsas in house. Their staff were very friendly.

The restaurant is on the second floor, so unless we were looking up, we might have missed it. (In Tokyo, you need to be in the habit of looking at the second floor of many of the buildings for other shops and restaurants.) It had free Wi-Fi as well.


Good lunch place with many tasty dishes

I worked in Chuo, which includes the neighborhoods of Kayabacho, Shingawa and Hatchobori. Tansha was a place I could walk over and grab a quick meal. Many times, our administrative assistant brought in the menu and arranged the meal via her mobile phone. Then we’d walk over, pick it up and pay for it.

Sumigurama, Kayabacho Hatchobori, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

Bento box

As a “take-away” place, it has no seating. Tansha offers a boxed lunch. But in Japan it’s called a bento box. A bento box is a reusable Japanese-style lunch box that typically holds a single-portion meal consisting of rice, fish or meat, and some vegetables.

I primarily ate the curry and chicken dishes, although I did like the salmon dishes. The food is always well prepared and quite tasty.

Cafe Dining Pali Kari

When I worked in Chuo, I regularly went to Pali Kari for lunch. It was walking distance from our office.

Pali Kari Restaurant, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 Pali Kari is a fun little bistro

Pali Kari is a small restaurant with very friendly service. They have a few outdoor tables, but seating is indoors. For those who can’t read Japanese, Pali Kari has a nice pasta or curry dish every day,and it regularly changes. Servers are willing to can translate the basics, so I never had trouble.

This location is in Shinkawa, which is part of the Kayobashi in Chuo City, the central ward of Tokyo.

Pronto Shinkawa

Pronto is a coffee shop with a good lunch trade. They have English translations of most of the items.

Pronto Italian Restaurant, Shinkawa, Chuo, Tokyo, Japan

 I enjoyed Pronto for lunch many times

The food quality is very good. Most of what they sell is pasta, but they have different sauces that most foreigners would recognize.

This location is in Shinkawa, which is part of Kayobashi neighborhood in Chuo City, the central ward of Tokyo. It’s popular for lunch, so I recommend arriving by 11:45 AM to beat the rush.

Rajavetta Azabu

Rajavetta was walking distance from our apartment at the Oakwood Residence in Azabujuban. We came here because we knew it had Indian dishes, but we also found that they had a wide variety of pasta dishes and pizza. And if we didn’t feel like taking a walk, they delivered to our apartment.

Our first time at Rajavetta, we ordered a couple of curry dishes with garlic naan. All were very tasty. They also offer salads, so there is something for everyone.

Later, we found out that Rajavetta is part of a delivery service. We went to Maishoku and ordered what we wanted in English. Then it was delivered to our apartment. If you are an English speaker only and want to look at a wide variety of food options, Maishoku might be for you.


We lived in an apartment at Oakwood Residence in Azabujuban for several years and regularly went to Man-Riki-Ya.

Closeup of beer at Man Riki Ya Noodle Shop, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 "Beer refreshes you after work."

It’s a terrific noodle house with great gyoza. The staff is very friendly, even with very little English spoken. The food is exceptional, and we've worked our way around the various noodle soup dishes. There’s a great deal of cooking expertise here, and we see the same people still serving and cooking every time we go, year after year.

People Waiting to Enter Man Riki Ya Noodle House Restaurant, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 They come from all over Tokyo for Man-Riki-Ya's noodles

Man-Riki-Ya is situated along the main shopping street of Azabujuban. It looks very old-school Japanese, from another era. In the same neighborhood, you have McDonald’s, Starbucks and a confectionary shop.

Form the outside, you can tell they have a sense of humor. You’ll notice an overturned barrel of sake with a sign that reads, “Take free bottle of sake, let us know.”

Interior of Man Riki Ya Noodle House Restaurant, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 The inside of Man-Riki-Ya is simple, clean and comfortable

Madeline usually goes with gyoza, rice and miso soup.

Paul with Beef Noodle Soup at Man Riki Ya Noodle Shop, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 Yep, I'm using chopsticks with soup

There is plenty on the menu, but I go for noodles. Who eats a noodle soup with chopsticks? Me! To grab the noodles and vegetables and meat, chopsticks are very handy. They have a soup spoon for the rest.

We had each of our kids to Tokyo, and we always took them to Man-Riki-Ya.

Andrea and Dad at Man Riki Ya Noodle House, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan
Jason Reading a Printed Google Map at Man Riki Ya Noodle Shop, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan
Kristi and Paul at Man Riki Ya Noodle House, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan
Justin Sleeping at Man Riki Ya Noodle Shop, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

All our guests enjoyed Man-Riki-Ya

Most of the items offered at the restaurant are ramen dishes, but my beef noodles have pappardelle flat noodles. Almost all of the ramen dishes are under $10 for a filling meal (not including beer!). The ones I see people eating regularly are the breaded pork noodle soup, hot and spicy beef noodle soup, shrimp wonton ramen and the tantanmen which is a spicy sesame noodle soup.

The food quality is high, and the service is friendly and prompt. Lunch is between 11:30 AM and 3 PM and dinner service starts at 5 PM.

What's not to Like About Beer Refreshing You at Man Riki Ya Noodle Shop, Azabujuban, Tokyo, Japan

 What's not to Like About Beer Refreshing You

You can't go wrong at Man-Riki-Ya, and we keep going back.

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