Soba may look simple but this heartwarming noodles are actually complex and considered the most artisanal compared to ramen and udon. Depending on where they source their buckwheat flour, which is primarily the main ingredient of soba, the perfect ratio of wheat and buckwheat flour used, along with its kneading techniques produces the perfect noodles. Some of the most skilled masters are known for being purists when it comes to soba, using only a hundred perfect buckwheat flour for the noodles. It takes time and skill to achieve this technique but it’s all worth it in the end. There are two kinds of soba which are equally great: the cold soba where one dips the chilled noodles in a separate sauce and the hot soba which is served in a bowl of warm dashi broth accompanied with different toppings. Whether you prefer it hot or cold, soba is your go-to meal. It’s one of the best dishes to eat at the end of an exhausting day at work or at school.
To get that soba goodness in your belly, we came up with a list of the five best soba restaurants in Tokyo. Whether you want to indulge and splurge or maybe look for some cheap thrills, there’s always a budget for everything soba.
A veteran and perhaps considered the best soba restaurant in the city, Kanda Matsuya serves delicious soba meals for everyone. Built in 1884 and had a successful renovation in 1924, it has been said that the best way to eat their soba is with their variety of side dishes such as toasted seaweed, tempura, or maybe some yakitori. Everything is made simple in Kanda Matsuya but the flavors are rewarding. With handmade soba noodles served with mouth-watering dashi broth, this powerhouse meal will put a smile on your face after you’ve finished it. It tastes unlike any other soba meal you’ve ever had and the history behind the restaurant makes it all worth it.
If you like it old school that will help you learn the basics of soba, then Kyorakutei is the place to go. They serve two different types of buckwheat noodles here: the regular soba which is made with just a small amount of wheat flour and juwari soba made from a hundred percent buckwheat flour. It is recommended to order up the juwari soba which has a darker color compared to regular soba. Have it served cold and dip it into the sauce. Their soba meals are best served together with their seasonal tempura, which is the ayu (sweetfish) and pike conger. Other items on the menu are available if you’re feeling adventurous but a good old combination of their soba and tempura never fails.
Tokyo Dosanjin is located along Meguro river and is probably the perfect place to go to if you feel like eating soba with other delicious Japanese dishes. The great thing about this restaurant is that the noodles are made from scratch and special requests are open if you like some changes in your noodles. They can adjust how you would like it to taste, its texture and consistency. Pair your choice of soba with their classic tempura and you’re good to go. The line for lunch and dinner may be long and will probably take most of your time but the reward of a simple yet great soba will keep you in your toes.
With limited seating capacity that will help you appreciate more of your soba, Osoba no Kouga offers a rather intimate meal time for its guests. The reason the place is small is that owner Hiroshi Kouga wants to make sure he’s paying attention to the quality of the soba he’s making. This also makes him interact with them. He sources his buckwheat flour from Iruma in Saitama Prefecture where farmer mills give him the best quality of buckwheat flour there is. He’s careful with his mixture for the noodles and every finished product tastes unlike any other noodles out there. Other items on the menu are their lunch sets and a decadent uni soba which you can indulge too.
Nagasaka Sarasina has been in operations since the 1780s and there’s no wonder that their soba meals are to die for. Carefully made and with two varieties, you can choose between the darker noodles made with buckwheat flour and the silky smooth noodles made with polished buckwheat noodles. They also have a special dipping sauce which will be given to you, a sweet and spicy sauce which is served separately. Dip your noodles in it and you’ll be surprised with how flavorful it is. The great thing about this restaurant is that they have dried versions of their noodles packed and ready to cook for you to recreate that delicious dining experience at home.
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.