For foodies all over the world, Japan is, by far, the culinary mecca. There are so many fantastic restaurants within 1 block of each other, especially in a metropolitan city like Tokyo. It comes as no surprise that when the new Michelin restaurant guide was released in 2016, Tokyo was well represented. The city had 13 restaurants with 3 stars and a mind blowing 217 restaurants that have Michelin stars in total!
With all of these restaurants, which one to choose? Sadly, with cost restrictions, it can highly limit which of these places one can go to. Luckily, I have done some reconnaissance for you (such a hardship!). Below is a quick guide to the three budget-friendly Michelin-starred restaurants in Tokyo (in no particular order). The best bet is to go during lunch as prices are by far lower than at dinner.
You know this place is legit when they have their own millstone in-house, guaranteeing the freshest of milled soba that is made the day it’s served! They also have light and crisp tempura with a variety of newly harvested vegetables for the discerning palate. The prices are a steal, starting at an unbelievably low price of 980 yen for lunch and ranging upwards to 2500 yen. Some other dishes include a curry dipping broth, eel tempura and even a duck meatball.
You read that right. A sardine restaurant on the list? They must make crazy good sardines. Judging by the daily lines out the door for lunch, they sure do! With lunch sets starting at only 800 yen this really is the steal of the century. I came here with a friend of mine and together we ordered three dishes for less than 3,000 yen. This was literally 75% of the menu as there are only 4 dishes total on the set menu. Crazy. I was not a sardine fan before coming to this restaurant but now I am honestly a convert.
For the first time in 2016, a ramen restaurant has finally made the ranks! Averaging 1,100 yen per bowl, this ramen is one of a kind. The soba noodles are made of 4 kinds of stone-milled wheat with a mix of chicken and seafood broth accented with soy that was aged for 2 years! The piece de resistance, however, is the Italian white truffle oil and red wine notes in the background. A must-taste for any ramen lover!
No matter which of the above you choose, be prepared for the wait. The lines even before the Michelin announcement were long, and now are even longer. Even Tsuta has instituted a ticket claim to return at certain block hours to prevent the congestion in the small town it is situated in. So come prepared and with a hungry stomach.