There are a few things that are must-dos for food in Tokyo. One, dining in their Michelin-starred sushi-yas; Two, sitting roadside guzzling beer and nibbling on sumiyaki in smoky little cramped izakayas; Three, trawling for food in the maze-like depachikas (food basement halls) of their massive malls. So we hit up all three when we were in Tokyo last Summer.
We stayed in the Ginza area, and there's a Yakitori Street lined with dozens of excellent izakayas, within a 7-minute walking distance from the hotel.
And because the izakayas open till late, we had supper twice here, at 2 different izakayas. It was a close fight, but Onegi Izakaya takes our pick for our favourite izakaya. Every little beautifully charred stick was redolent of the smoky grill, simply seasoned with salt and so unbelievably delicious.
One thing we discovered at the izakayas, is that the Japanese like to mix tomato juice (yes, those generic canned tomato juices you get on an airplane) with their beer. It sounds gross but I swear, it's insanely good!! And in the height of summer, the red-hued beer is a most refreshing thirst-quencher.
From left to right: Nama Tsukune (JPY$320) mashed pork ball, Pork & Asparagus (JPY$250), Chicken Skin (JPY$170), Chicken (JPY$300), Quail Eggs (JPY$170), Shitake Mushroom (JPY$300), Gingko Nut (JPY$300), Shisito Pepper (JPY$250).
Fresh raw cabbage and a slightly sweet miso paste to cleanse your palate in-between the courses of grilled skewers.
A must-try, the Asahi Red Eye Tomato Beer (JPY$540), fruity in a savoury way and absolutely refreshing.
The Edamame (JPY$380), chilled and nutty and a wonderful little snack.
The restaurant front for reference. Onegi is a little tough to find, as it's tucked away behind the main Yakitori Street. But its hidden address also means that the restaurant is breezier and less frenzied than the other izakayas, which cramped premises can get quite claustrophobic.
1, Yurakucho building
Open Mondays to Thursdays & Saturdays from 5pm to 11.45pm;
Fridays from 5pm to 12.30am;
Sundays from 3pm to 11.45pm