Classic yakitori, one-of-a-kind shops, and the best sushi in the city. When in doubt, follow the chef. Tokyo fanatic and David Myers, master of the Comme Ça empire in the United States and SOLA in Tokyo, took us on a tour of his dozen favorite haunts.
TOKYO – My love affair with Tokyo runs deep, really deep. The city is unlike any other place I've ever been. You can find just about anything you would ever want, but it's without a doubt a city of hidden gems. A number of my favorite go-to spots are off the beaten path, hidden behind an unmarked door or down an inconspicuous alley. And some you would never think to discover for an authentic experience.
WHERE TO EAT
6-22-19 Shirogane; +81-03-5795-2950
Although it's a bit casual, it's the best yakitori in Tokyo, specializing in rare and unusual parts of chicken. The ambiance is cool, with burnt cedar decor and jazz music. It's very local and traditional, and the staff is super friendly. It's hard not to make this a weekly dining destination.
Aoyama KT, 5-50-8 Jingumae, B1F; +81-03-6418-5572
Hidden away off a side street in Aoyama, Maru offers a modern yet unpretentious take on classic izakaya dining. The small plates are meant to be shared, and the wild fish in the sashimi is caught daily.
Star Bar Ginza
Sankosha Building, 1-5-13 Ginza, B1F
I love the classic nature of this bar. They craft beautiful, fruit-forward cocktails using whatever is in season. Old school cocktails done right.
Best High-End Sushi
Nishi-Azabu Building, 4-3-10 Nishi-Azabu, XI 3F; +81-03-5485-0031
Sushi Shin perfectly combines the mastery of sushi with the artistry of the physical plates. This restaurant is truly one of a kind, from the rare selection boutique sakes to the handcrafted ceramic sake cups and plates that are specifically designed for the chef. This is some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, but it's the very serene environment that really makes this a fantasy restaurant for me.
Best Spot for Afternoon Tea
Pola Ginza, 1-7-7 Ginza, 2F; +81-03-5786-0024
The restaurant design and handcrafted glasses are stunning. Go for the green tea and the knowledgeable staff.
WHERE TO SHOP
Best Reading Material
17-5 Sarugakucho; +81-03-3770-2525
The fairly new shop in the T-Site shopping complex in Daikanyama has an incredible selection of magazines, books, and writing instruments. The space also has a large bar which stays open until 2 a.m.
Best Fish Market
This is the biggest and best fish market in the world. The tuna auction is worth the price of admission. It's difficult to believe the ocean could even produce this much fish on a daily basis. You will often ask yourself, "what is that?" The underground language specific to the fish market will bewilder you.
Daikanyama Building 4,1-5-2 Aobadai, 1F; +81-3-5459-5033
A great NYC-based surf shop that opened last spring in Daikanyama. It has a beautiful outdoor patio with incredible views of the city below.
6-16-8 Jingumae 1-2F; +81-03-5469-2100
A beautiful store in Shibuya with four floors of Patagonia merchandise. The aptly named Patagonia Ocean Floor is a nicely curated surf shop that often hosts guest artists and surfers.
WHERE TO STAY
1-3-18 Chuo-cho; +81-03-3719-8121
A very cool boutique hotel — a rare find in Toyko.
Park Hyatt Tokyo
3-7-1 Nishishinjuku; +81-3-5322-1234
Stunning view of greater Tokyo. I always get a kick out of staying there because of Lost in Translation. The bar makes a great mojito, too.