Known to be Tokyo’s busiest district and a business hub, Shinjuku has seen millions of people go through its famous station but the great thing about these people is that they know it’s not all work and no play. Both locals and tourists flock to this neon-lit district where tall buildings tower over small ones, streets filled with pretty unique boutiques and of course, mouth-watering dishes found in Shinjuku restaurants.
People in Shinjuku might be busy every day but they sure do know where to eat best Japanese food when hunger strikes. Not only it is home to 39 known Michelin restaurants but Shinjuku also boasts of hole-in-the-wall cheap thrills you can’t find anywhere else. If you want to splurge on your dinner in a fancy restaurant or simply snack on something truly delicious in a local street food cart, Shinjuku got you covered. One can always find a restaurant fit for their budget and go home happy and contented. Shinjuku has also some of Japan’s old favorites such as udon and okonomiyaki, dishes in which one can taste home and culture. There’s always a good ramen-ya around the corner, serving tonkatsu ramen and shoyu ramen, perfect for an afternoon delight or early dinner reward for yourself. The great thing about the restaurants in Shinjuku is that despite the buzz of everyday life and how busy everything can be, it all boils down to how each of them can cater to varying ages. It’s a sacred place for those people who love to eat and the convenient thing about it is that you can always find something delicious and satisfying cooking in every corner.
Best Restaurants in Shinjuku
It might look like the hustle and bustle of the city won’t let you in any restaurant sooner but Shinjuku actually has a lot of restaurants to offer to its guests. From the carefully crafted sushi pieces to smoking grilled skewers, you can almost say that you can find everything in this district. Below is a list of some of the best restaurants in Shinjuku.
Sushi Rosan (3-14-1 Shinjuku Shinjuku Tokyo) is a great place to go to when you’re craving for some sushi but don’t want to break the bank from buying one. Just a stone throw away from Shinjuku Station, this inexpensive sushi restaurant has loyal guests who say that they had some of the best servings of sushi in really fair prices. While it can be busy and crowded, lunchtime is still the best time to visit the place and get your sushi cravings fix in an instant. Walk-ins are accepted but calling ahead of time for a reservation is strongly recommended.
Kyourakutei (Kagurazaka hall 1F, 3-6, Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) is a one-star Michelin soba restaurant which specializes in making hand-cut soba noodles and is milled, made, and cooked fresh daily. You can even watch the chef make the noodles right before your eyes as you enter the restaurant. Sitting at the counter seats gives you the best view of the open kitchen where you will see how your bowl of noodles is made. Grab a menu and you’d hand-drawn doodles of the noodles in it. Aside from their signature soba dishes, you can also find other dishes such as big Japanese tiger shrimp and conger eel dipped into a thin layer of tempura batter and fried until golden brown. It’s a comfortable restaurant where you can dine, relax, and be at ease with your family and friends.
Nothing beats a big bowl of ramen to end the busy day in which you can find in Menya Syo (7-22-34 Nishi-Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo). This ramen-ya is popular for serving delicious bowls of ramen at cheap prices. Shio ramen, also known as salt flavored ramen, is their most recommended item on the menu. This light but filling bowl of ramen has that definite taste of chicken broth which increases the appetite more. It’s almost heaven in a bowl and in every mouthful of serving is bursting with different flavors and texture. No wonder people line up for this simple dish.
Kohaku (3-4 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) is known for earning its three-star Michelin restaurant status for serving some of the simplest yet sophisticated dishes in the city. Everything exudes elegance, harmony, and beauty from furniture to tableware and of course, their signature dishes. Balance has always been the key in making the dishes in Kohaku and chef Koizumi makes sure that it’s neither underwhelming nor overwhelming and flavors and texture go well together. He makes traditional Japanese dishes with a twist and a perfect example of that is his shinjo dumpling where his charcoal-grill the fish first to make it more flavorful and sumptuous. He makes sure everything is paid attention down to the smallest details and all ingredients are fresh and top-quality.
If you want to splurge a little bit, try Cheese to Wagyu Kikori no Ouchi (205, Plaza Nishi Shinjuku, 7-5-5, Nishi Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo). Japan is known for its melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu dishes and rare cheeses imported from all over the world and in this restaurant, they combined the two glorious ingredients and produced a heavenly dish you can only taste here. Imagine your usual grilled Wagyu topped with melted cheese and the result? A perfect marriage of different flavors and textures. The melted cheese actually enhances more the flavor of the beef, making it extra flavorful in every bite. The restaurant also serves an assortment of wines to complement to your dish. The nice thing about Cheese to Wagyu Kikori no Ouchi is that they can hold private rooms suitable for dates, business meetings, or maybe a night out with family and friends.
Waiting can be long at Udon Shin (Tokyo, Shibuya, Yoyogi 2-20-16) but give this restaurant a shot and you’ll know why people line up for this for a long time. Their menu boasts of both traditional and unique udon dishes you won’t find anywhere else. One of the bestsellers is their cold udon served with delicate pieces of char siu slices and egg tempura but if you like it hot, try their warm udon with cheese, butter, bacon tempura, and pepper. It may sound rather bizarre to some but the ingredients actually complement each other and create a delicious creation. Once you’ve tasted their one of a kind udon dishes, you can never go back to your usual ones.
Kagurazaka Ishikawa (5-37 Kagurazaka, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo) is unlike any of the Michelin restaurants you’ve been to. Inside, you will instantly feel the hospitality and aesthetics of Japan. The chef-owner, Hideki Ishikawa, who stands by the counter will greet you with the warmest smile and will probably strike a conversation or two with you. Every dish is prepared delicately and is paid with attention even to the tiniest details. Chef Hideki sources all of his ingredients locally and uses familiar ingredients which you can find anywhere in Japan but he puts his special twist in his dishes. Imagine wild vegetables and wagyu in a small pot in spring, grilled or served with nimono soup with hamo matsutake in autumn, or maybe grilled ayu in the summer. It’s everything simple taken up to another notch and even the tableware and counter seats are elegant and pleasing to the eyes.
She’s cooking and baking for her family and friends. She finds grocery shopping therapeutic, always takes the longest time in the Asian section and debates with herself whether she needs that extra pack of instant ramen. A lover of sweets, she dreams of owning a patisserie and publishing her book but most of the time, she’s just really thinking of what to eat for breakfast the next day.