Tired of eating with tourists? Want to eat where Tokyo locals actually eat? Then check out our guide to some of Tokyo’s best local restaurants.
Sushi restaurant near Tsukiji Market - image © Jeena Paradies
If you crave authentic local food and want to dine with the locals, this page is for you. The other restaurants on this site are all great, but they’re all fairly well known to tourists. The restaurant on this page are largely unknown to foreign travelers and have a local clientele. However, most have some form of English menu. In cases where they don’t, we give you some menu translations so that you can order with confidence.
Most of the places listed here are reasonably priced, because locals certainly know the best values. The restaurants here are divided by district, so you can easily find a great local restaurant near you.
Shinjuku Eat Like A Local:
The “special” grilled flying fish ramen with egg, seaweed, and two types of chashu at Takahashi. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Funabashiya Honten
A short walk from Shinjuku Station takes you to Funabashiya, which is the place to go for elegant, tasty tempura set meals.
Need to impress someone with slightly more upscale surroundings, but also need to keep dinner affordable and delicious? Check out En in Shinjuku, the izakaya that ticks all these boxes and more.
Kabuto, in Shinjuku’s Piss Alley, takes you back to 1950s Tokyo with its no-frills head-to-tail (unagi) eel dining experience.
If you find yourself craving some delicious ramen in Shinjuku, Takahashi’s fantastically smoky ramen bowl will save your stomach and your soul.
- Roast Beef Abura Soba Beefst
When the fun and games are over and the hangover starts calling at 3am, few things are better for your soul than a janky bowl of ramen. Roast Beef Abura Soba Beefst in Shinjuku is the place to head to for your messy late-night noodle fix.
Roppongi Eat Like A Local:
Gomadare seiro soba - cold buckwheat noodles with sesame sauce at Honmura-an. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Mengekijo Genei
For a great bowl of Hakata-style ramen in Roppongi, try Mengekijo Genei. It’s truly delicious and it’s MSG-free!
For a slow lunch of soba in serene surroundings, try Honmura-an in Roppongi. It’s an oasis of calm amid the chaos of Roppongi.
- Bistro Shirube
For fabulous, inexpensive fare at the friendliest izakaya in town, head over to Shirube in Roppongi.
- Butagumi Dining
Craving a quick meal in Roppongi? Head to Butagumi Dining - a casual tonkatsu restaurant taking this B-grade cuisine staple to heavenly heights.
For slightly upscale but unpretentious, umami-packed Hakata-style grilled skewers, Jomon in Roppongi hits the spot.
Ueno Eat Like A Local:
Kashiwa-nan soba - buckwheat noodles with chicken and negi (Japanese leeks) at Okinaan. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo
Kaisentango Ami no Shokudo in Ueno serves up a hearty sashimi and egg rice bowl fit for a fisherman. Venture further afield from the station for this quiet cozy neighbourhood restaurant.
Hearty soba in an atmospheric, local noodle joint that’s just a stone’s throw from Ueno Station.
Lovers of sweets should make a beeline for Mihashi in Ueno for their Japanese-style desserts. Come for the anmitsu, stay for the red bean paste and soft serve ice cream!
Kadokura in Ueno is a standing izakaya for the people - it has a lively atmosphere, cheap drinks, flavorful small dishes. Set your expectations accordingly and come here for a fun night out.
- Izakaya Kanoya
Izakaya Kanoya in Ueno is a crowd pleaser of an izakaya. Like many places in the area, the food is decent and prices reasonable, but the best part is that it opens at 10am - so you can have beer and sashimi even before noon.
Ginza Eat Like A Local:
The hitsumabushi set meal. - image © Florentyna Leow
For hearty, homestyle Okinawan cooking, check out Chanpuru-ya, an underground izakaya in Ginza.
- Yomoda Soba Ginzaten
Ginza doesn’t have to be all about pricey eating. Yomoda Soba is a down-to-earth canteen-style soba and curry operation that’s a great choice for a quick, inexpensive meal.
- Mugi to Olive
Sometimes eating like a local means queuing like a local. Thankfully, at Mugi to Olive in Ginza, the lines don’t last long – which is a boon when you want some good shoyu ramen.
- Hitsumabushi Bincho Ginza
If you’d like a refined meal of unagi while exploring Ginza, then this Nagoya-style restaurant is sure to please.
- Tempura Mochiku
Mochiku is an intimate, counter seating-only tempura restaurant in a quiet part of Ginza. The food? Delicious and unpretentious, if slightly unorthodox for tempura.
Shibuya Eat Like A Local:
Uoriki's daily special sushi set. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Echigoya Sandayu
Echigoya Sandayu is a tasty, inexpensive teishoku lunch spot that’s open all afternoon in Shibuya. You can’t argue with that!
A narrow back street in Dogenzaka houses some of the best soba noodles in Shibuya - a great lunch between all the shopping.
- Yakitori Tetsu
Tetsu is a cheap and cheerful yakitori restaurant right by Shibuya Station. Just stick to drinks and grilled skewers - avoid everything else on the menu.
For an old-school yakitori experience in the heart of Tokyo, eat some grilled chicken with the regulars at Shibuya’s Morimoto.
If you’re in Shibuya and craving fresh, tasty sushi that won’t break the bank, look no further than Uoriki.
Harajuku Eat Like A Local:
Mokubaza’s keema curry - the moment after breaking the yolk. - image © Florentyna Leow
If you’re looking for a healthy lunch option for a reasonable price in Harajuku, then head to t.shizen, an unassuming neighborhood teishoku (set lunch) spot that’s popular with the local office workers.
Looking for tonkatsu in Harajuku? Skip the queues at Maisen and visit Fukuyoshi instead - a charming mom n’ pop shop with tasty pork cutlets.
- Teuchi Soba Matsunaga
For high-quality soba noodles in quiet, relaxed surroundings, Teuchi Matsunaga Soba is a great choice when you’re in the Harajuku area.
Mokubaza’s keema curry is the heavenly holy trinity of stewed meat, melted cheese and egg yolk. It’s a great way to fill up while exploring Harajuku or Shibuya.
- Mi no Ringo
Mi no Ringo’s keema curry is saucy, soul-warming, and spicy - a perfect lunch break on a chilly autumn day in Harajuku.
- Ohitsuzen Tanbo Omotesando
Wander down Omotesando’s back streets for solid set meals at this hole-in-the-wall teishoku restaurant.
Tokyo Station Eat Like A Local:
A delicious, spicy bowl of vegan tantanmen at T’s Tantan. - image © Florentyna Leow
- T’s Tantan
Looking for a tasty vegan bowl of noodles while in Tokyo Station? Then look no further than T’s Tantan Ramen for a delicious and spicy meal.
- Manten Sushi
There’s no shortage of high end sushi restaurants in Tokyo, but very few can match Manten Sushi Marunouchi’s cost performance in this category. This is one of the true must-visits for affordable sushi dining.
- Soranoiro NIPPON
Think ramen’s all meat and fish? Think again. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, the vegetable noodle bowls at Soranoiro NIPPON in Tokyo Station’s Ramen Street are sure to steal your heart.
- Suju Masayuki Raku
Soba restaurant Suju Masayuki Raku near Tokyo Station doesn’t go in for refined slurps. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but their rustic, unabashedly hearty noodle bowls are sure to win some folks over.
Even with hundreds of lunch options around Tokyo Station, Ippei is a clear favorite with many office workers in the area. Hearty, solid, inexpensive set lunches of Japanese favourites that arrive within 5 minutes - what’s not to like?
- Yoshinozushi Honten
If you’re pressed for time but still want decent sushi, skip the conveyor belt chain restaurants and come over to Yoshinozushi Honten in Nihonbashi. Their reasonably-priced lunch nigiri sets put the fast in fast food.
Dominica’s soup curry is a fine example of the genre - spicy and hearty, generously portioned with meat and vegetables in equal measure. It’s no wonder this Kyobashi restaurant is so popular with local office workers!
Asakusa Eat Like A Local:
Tentou’s signature ten-don. - image © Florentyna Leow
Tentou’s tempura rice bowl is hearty enough to power you through a full afternoon of sightseeing in Asakusa – so long as you don’t mind the smell of frying oil clinging to you afterwards.
- Asakusa Naniwaya
Fried noodles and shaved ice to start the day? Don’t knock till you’ve tried it - this combination at Naniwaya in Asakusa makes one hell of a power breakfast.
- Asakusa Ramen Yoroiya
If you’re in Asakusa over the Japanese holidays and you need a place that’s open for business, Ramen Yoroiya serves a very decent classic Tokyo shoyu ramen year-round. It’s a good place to have on your list when you’re in the area.
Whether it’s lunch, tea, or supper, you can’t beat a good sushi meal. Hinatomaru, a stand-and-eat sushi bar in Asakusa, serves up fresh, well-made sushi that’s great value for money.
Akihabara Eat Like A Local:
Black curry rice with garlic pork and a marinated egg. - image © Florentyna Leow
- Karē wa Nomimono
Curry rice isn’t pretty, but it is soulful and immensely satisfying. Karē wa Nomimono in Akihabara serves voluminous plates of curry rice that’s pure comfort food on every level.
Tokyo Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Tokyo guide
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- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare airline flight prices and timings for the best Japan flight deals.
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- A prepaid Suica card makes travelling around Tokyo much easier - here's how
- Get esssential travel insurance for Tokyo – World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)