Dive into futuristic Tokyo for Japanese pastries, authentic sake and tasty tempura

CHEF CONCIERGE • December 2018

Nobu Matsuhisa’s foodie guide to Tokyo

Nobu Matsuhisa
Nobu Matsuhisa


Known for his eponymous empire of Japanese restaurants, sushi chef Nobu Matsuhisa has brought world-class Japanese food to the masses, with 38 sleek, exquisitely designed restaurants across five continents. Here, he shares his top picks of must-eat spots in the buzzing city of Tokyo

Lunch venue for taking care of business
Shiba Tofuya Ukai is a large, upscale restaurant at the base of Tokyo Tower. It’s known for world-famous homemade tofu, and a calm and serene atmosphere, making conversation easy.

Tastiest street food spot
Ten-ko in Shinjuku has some of the city’s best tempura. The batter is light, and they serve you one piece at a time so you’re never uncomfortably full. Even though the owner has retired, whenever I go he personally makes me tempura. 

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Where to impress on a date
Of course Nobu Tokyo (pictured above) is the perfect spot, where you’re guaranteed a mix of fun, theatrics and outstanding food. For a sweet treat afterwards, I recommend Toshi Yoroizuka in the lively district of Roppongi. You can get pastries made to order, which the chef prepares in front of you.

Where to drink sake 
Hokusetsu Sake. The brewery exclusively produces sake for all of Nobu’s restaurants. Since 1987, the brand has developed eight sake variations – Nigori, Ongakushu, Junmai Daiginjo, Junmai, Onigoroshi, Yukino Hibiki, TK 40 and YK 35, which complement our dining style. 

Most memorable sushi 
This has to be Sukiyabashi Jiro (pictured below), one of the city’s finest Michelin-starred restaurants. With only 10 seats, getting a reservation is difficult, but the food is incredible because the chef is wonderfully talented and uses only the freshest fish.

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Best grab-and-go snack
Sembei (rice crackers) are a great grab-and-go snack. I think they remind people of home, especially for me, as my hometown of Sugito is famous for them. Some of the best places to get them are Ginza Matsuzaki in Ginza and Hinode Senbei in Anakusa. Both have been around for over a century and sell a variety of flavoured versions, ideal for snacking and gifting.

Food souvenir to take home 
High-quality green tea, Japanese sweets, or wagashi, and sembei. I want to introduce sembei to the world because there is nothing else like it. It would be great if we could inspire other countries to make their own variations.

Interview by Marisa Cannon

British Airways has daily services to Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita airports, and will begin flying to Osaka in March 2019

This article has been tagged Food + Drink, Destination