I’ve lived and worked in Tokyo. I’ve eaten all over the city. Some meals were with work colleagues, but most were with Madeline. She lived in Tokyo with me, and we enjoyed the city and its large selection of restaurants.
When you work for a while in Tokyo, as in any city, you find great restaurants for anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and other celebrations and special occasions. These special times call for a a special meal.
Here are some of the nicer restaurants we’ve experienced in Tokyo.
Also check out our other Tokyo posts.
The Oak Door, Roppongi
The Oak Door in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo is a higher priced restaurant in Tokyo but rewards patrons with very good food and attractive atmosphere.
As you approach the restaurant through the hotel, you have to weave through the hotel a bit.
There is some seating outdoors, but we ate indoors. If the weather cooperates, sitting outside does afford a view of the stars.
The Oak Door is likely to be a special occasion restaurant for most people. The prices are high, but you get what you pay for: linen tablecloths, excellent service and beautifully prepared food like steak. Steaks in Tokyo are more expensive than what you order in Texas.
There are set or prix fixe menus with a nice variety of choices. The food quality is good, but I would not say excellent. We came for a special occasion and although they accommodated us, I found that our service inconsistent.
In Japan service is the hallmark. In our case, my water glass was empty for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I drank from my wife’s glass and nobody seemed to notice. With great service, your waiter or busboy is never far away. In our case they seemed to be serving 20 or more tables, so we rarely saw them and only when they wanted to serve you the next course.
The venue is beautifully appointed. A lovely back-lit bar, dimly lit tables and good space around the tables, the Oak Door is inviting and comfortable. It has all the accouterments of a fine dining experience with linen napkins and quality dinnerware. It’s a truly beautiful space. The service is needs to be upgraded to match the space. However, all was not lost.
We had a nice bottle of wine with dinner. And the dinner was well prepared, presented attractively and tasted delicious.
The dessert provided, for free, shows the restaurant cares about their customers so Maybe we visited on an off day. I reached out to the restaurant manager after the meal, and he showed concerned for the poor service. He asked us to come back. We have gone back, and the service was better.
We recommend this restaurant for special occasions, especially romantic ones. Though we did experience poor service once, we think they’ll go out of their way to take care of you.
The French Kitchen, Roppongi
You might miss the sign for The French Kitchen restaurant. You’ll definitely notice the staircase.
Madeline and I loved this restaurant. She was particularly fond of their French onion soup. The French Kitchen offers plenty of other excellent items.
The French Kitchen offers private dining rooms for special occasions. We went on our anniversary and had a room reserved with champagne on ice and a set menu we chose ahead of time. Our room looked out to a garden. The service was excellent. One of the highlights of the meal was their version of French onion soup. It was terrific as were the other courses, including freshly baked bread and wonderful desserts.
Madeline also liked the whimsical sculptures all around the restaurant.
If you are in the mood for escargot, the French Kitchen has you covered.
There is plenty of seating, but make a reservation if you want a quiet table or a particular view.
You’ll enjoy yourself here. We liked it so much we ordered the French onion soup for room service a few days later. The French Kitchen offers great service and great food inside of the Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi Hills.
Wolfgang's Steakhouse, Roppongi
If you want steak in Tokyo, be prepared to spend a bit of money. Steaks are popular in Tokyo, but the prices prevent many from indulging. Wolfgang's Steakhouse charges more than other Tokyo steakhouses but imported their meat from New York.
The quality of the beef and its preparation were excellent. We tried the sizzling bacon for seven dollars per slice as an appetizer and split a Caesar salad. For our entrée, we had the steak for two.
Wolfgang's interior features a beautiful bar where you comfortably can linger until your table is ready. They serve appetizers at the bar, and I recommend that sizzling bacon.
Of note, this is not a Wolfgang Puck restaurant. Wolfgang's in Tokyo is part of the legendary American steakhouses chain in the United States.
Union Square Tokyo, Akasaka
Midtown is a relatively new area in Tokyo. A massive complex of buildings shops and restaurants, it opened in 2007 and was years in the making. It’s a short walk from Roppongi Station. You can even walk to it underground. If you go above ground, you can’t miss it because it has the second largest building in Tokyo.
Read more about in our Tokyo: Attractions post.
Union Square is a great reason to visit Midtown. But finding a restaurant there can be tricky as the complex is a maze. But signs abound and information booths that speak English.
Union Square is a fine restaurant and leans to American-style dishes with a French flair.
We tried the Wagyu beef tenderloin, and it was fabulous. Union Square serves it in various portion sizes. Yes, it is expensive. But Wagyu beef was on my bucket list, so I indulged. I’m so glad I did!
The menu has many choices, including many tempting entrées. Appetizers abound and a few salads appeal as well. We were impressed with the service and the presentation.
We visited Union Square with a close friend and work colleague, Rene, an occasion that called for champagne.
Desserts tasted equally terrific. Union Square has a great bar and an impressive wine list with a few affordable options. We loved Union Square’s food and service and will be going back.
Enjyu is a unique experience as it’s nestled in the Happo-en Garden in Shirokanedai. Happo-en is a splendid garden reminiscent of what a feudal lord would have enjoyed during the Edo Period. Happo-en Garden attracts many Japanese and is a secret tourist attraction for Americans.
At Enjyu large windows a gorgeous view of the garden while you eat a delicious meal. The restaurant offers specialized garden drinks, including Japanese sake made with plenty of brewer's love, and Japanese cuisine prepared with seasonal ingredients.
Happo-en contains more than eight acres of beautiful landscape. Many people visit the garden, and then eat at Enjyu. The restaurant has counter seating facing the windows and plenty of tables that afford a great view. They also have private rooms.
I ate at Enjyu with a group of people and since it was a Japanese restaurant in a well-known Japanese garden, I wondered if I could find something I wanted to eat. Enjyu’s staff presented a menu in English and what they offered was splendid. If you like sushi and sashimi, they offer amazing combinations. They use only the very freshest meat, fish and vegetables. We chose a set eight-course meal. While the individual portions seemed small, the meal satisfied all of us.
Go to Enjyu for a great meal. Or combine it with a trip to Happo-en Garden and enjoy good food and lovely nature.
KEI-KA-EN serves Chinese cuisine in the basement level of the Royal Park Hotel Tokyo. Madeline and I stayed at the hotel previously and knew of the restaurant. I dined here with business colleagues after a long workday and the meal was terrific.
But at KEI-KA-EN, I wasn’t sure the food would be what an American would consider to be authentic Chinese. But my colleagues knew and assured me that if I liked Chinese, I’d like KEI-KA-EN. All the items on the menu were terrific and very well prepared and presented. The service was excellent.
We had a private room, but you can just as easily eat in the main area.
You might think a hotel restaurant is not as good as other independents, but you’d be wrong. KEI-KA-EN’s prices were reasonable within Japanese standards. And the food quality and service was outstanding.
The Lobby Lounge Fontaine serves food and cocktails in the Royal Park Hotel Tokyo in Nihonbashi near T-CAT. It’s an elegant bar, not a pub, and priced accordingly. The Fontaine has an open floorplan, and there’s a lot of seating from which to choose.
The lounge offers happy hour prices on a few cocktails. The Fontaine house champagne is excellent. You receive quality service and quality beverages in a very nice hotel.
A pianist is often playing at the grand piano. And white glove service is always on tap.
From the Fontaine you look into the Royal Park’s magnificent lobby. It’s a great place to have a cocktail before dining either at one of the many fine restaurants in the hotel or if you’re headed back to your room or out on the town.