A narrow back street in Dogenzaka houses some of the best soba noodles in Shibuya - a great lunch between all the shopping.
Tenseiro soba at Fukudaya. - image © Florentyna Leow
Ever since living in Japan, I’ve become a bit of a soba snob. I’ve been lucky enough to eat soba several times in Nagano, which is particularly famous for their excellent buckwheat noodles. And my best friend from Fukui won’t even consider soba from anywhere else, since he thinks his prefecture makes the best buckwheat noodles. But since I can’t go all the way to a small mountain town for my noodle fix, Fukudaya in Shibuya is a very reasonable restaurant to scratch that soba itch at.
The view from the road opposite H&M and Donkihote. - image © Florentyna Leow
The restaurant itself is a short walk away from Shibuya Station. You’ll want to cross the scramble to L’Occitane, walk a few meters, and then cross the road again to Shibuya 109. From there, take the right fork in the road until you see H&M.
Turning into the road where Fukudaya is. - image © Florentyna Leow
Turn into the road directly opposite H&M. Walk past the skeezy sex shops, Taco Bell outlet, nail salons, and conveyor belt sushi restaurants.
Stairs to Fukudaya - image © Kevin Croft
You’ll arrive at a brewpub called Ottotto. Take the stairs up to Fukudaya on the second floor.
The bright, warmly-lit, tasteful interior of Fukudaya. - image © Florentyna Leow
If I’m being honest, I already loved this place before I even had the noodles. I love that a quiet, dignified-looking soba restaurant like Fukudaya is right in the middle of a rather gritty street like this. I love the beautiful wooden carvings lining the walls above, I love that they were playing some very tasteful jazz music. There were people reading the newspaper! It’s so nice to see that people don’t just look at smartphones all the time.
A quiet place for lunch in the heart of Shibuya. - image © Florentyna Leow
Like most soba specialists, the menu is pretty straightforward. You have hot or cold soba. Hot with a dashi and shoyu-based broth; cold with a dipping sauce on the side. You can have vegetable and prawn tempura, a mound of grated mountain yam, hot curry, duck, cold eggplant, natto (fermented soybeans). You can also have tempura rice bowls, chicken and egg (oyakodon) rice bowls, and even udon wheat noodles - but if you’re at a soba shop, why would you?
A mix of vegetable and prawn tempura - hot and not at all greasy. - image © Florentyna Leow
I ordered the tenseiro cold soba, which is perfect for a warm spring day. It’s a beautiful meal to look at. There’s a huge mound of buckwheat noodles, bright and colorful fried vegetables and a single prawn, tempura dipping sauce, a small plate of sliced negi for your noodle dipping sauce. I almost couldn’t finish all of it.
Radish stirred into the dipping sauce. - image © Florentyna Leow
Take the heap of grated white radish and stir it into your bowl of dipping sauce as above. You don’t have to, but the grated white radish clings to the nooks and crannies of the battered tempura along with the sauce, adding a lovely sweetness to each bite.
Unlike many soba noodles I’ve had in the city, these were nicely firm, properly rinsed (one rinses off the noodles after boiling them to remove all the starch clinging to the strands), with a gently nutty flavor to them. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had watery noodles around town.
In short: Fukudaya is worth your time. The food comes quickly - service is efficient and unobtrusive - but you can take your time if you like, or slurp as fast as needed. It’s a good place to have on your restaurant list for Tokyo.
Name in Japanese:
2-25-15 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
東京都渋谷区道玄坂2-25-15 福田ビル ２Ｆ
Mon~Fri: 11:00am - 3:30pm, 5:00pm - 8:30pm
Sat: 11:30am - 3:30pm
Closed Sundays and public holidays
:: Read customer reviews of Fukudaya on TripAdvisor
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