Where to Try Japanese Beef Yakiniku BBQ in Tokyo

  • FOOD
  • Tokyo
  • Yakiniku, also known as Japanese barbecue, is one of several Japanese do-it-yourself collaborative culinary experiences. Just like shabu-shabu hot pot, or okonomiyaki savoury pancakes, you cook your meal on a table in front of you, just as you like it! It’s fun, great for showing off your grilling skills and perfect for gourmands who know how they like their meat exactly. In Japan, yakiniku is usually eaten as dinner and all restaurants offer all-you-can-eat packages, so you can just grill and chill and order as much your stomach can handle.

    yakiniku

    Yakiniku simply means grilled meat (焼肉), and it’s true to its name. In Japan they use mostly beef and pork, and at times there’s also a bit of chicken and offal on the menu. This is accompanied by a tiny bit of vegetables like mushrooms, onions and leeks, and after grilling the taste is finalized by dipping the meat in a sauce. In Japanese style barbecue all pieces are bite-sized so that you can pop a piece in your mouth without any bothersome cutting or maneuvering involved. Same principle as sushi and other Japanese foods, think of it as savoury candy. The small and thin pieces of meat and vegetables also cook faster and more easily.

    yakiniku raw

    An interesting fact is that Japanese people consider yakiniku, or barbecuing small cuts of meat in front of you, a Korean food, because yakiniku was modeled on the very popular Korean BBQ (samgyeopsal). Before that, in the Meiji era, barbecue was considered Western food and was greatly encouraged. This was right after lifting the long ban on beef in Japan in 1871, as the Meiji Emperor wanted to promote Western culture and even ate beef publicly to lead by example. The yakiniku as we know it today, has evolved after the Second World War to suit Japanese tastes, so we can at least consider it “a Japanese take on BBQ”. But tasting is believing, so here are some places where you can try yakiniku BBQ with Japanese Wagyu beef.

    1. MANPUKU Yakiniku, (Roppongi Hills)

     

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    Manpuku in Japanese means “to eat until you’re full”, and this restaurant is making sure they feed you the best of the best. Manpuku has 70 years of history, with the secret sauces and marinades of the owner’s grandma being used to this day. Their signature dish is “negi-tan”, salted beef tongue with finely chopped fresh green onions, but they have a wide variety of creative dishes to try. In Manpuku they offer high quality Japanese wagyu beef cuts, both to grill and thin and mouth-watering raw beef served as nigiri sushi and topped with gold flakes! In addition, they offer unique starters like tofu corn soup shots, as well as dessert fusions like matcha affogato (hot matcha tea poured over vanilla ice cream).

     

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    Manpuku yakiniku restaurant is a great option if you want to try Japanese beef BBQ elevated to a high cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. Manpuku yakiniku BBQ can be tasted in 11 locations, 5 in Tokyo, 4 in Los Angeles and 2 in Yangon, Myanmar. The flagship restaurant in Japan is the Roppongi one, located in B1 of Roppongi Hills. The interior design itself has a modern Japanese touch, elegant feel with traditional elements. Lunch is from 1000 yen and up, while a dinner course of high-quality meat starts from approximately 5000 yen.

    Website
    Google Maps location

    2. MISONO Yakiniku, (Ikebukuro)

     

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    Normally, yakiniku BBQ comes in courses and portions for more people and can be a very social event. But this should not discourage solo diners out there! Japan in general accommodates single customers, and even group dining like yakiniku BBQ has a solo version. Misono yakiniku restaurant in Ikebukuro caters to solo gourmands, and the word 一人焼肉 (BBQ for one) is part of their name and sign board. Customers are sat at a counter, similar to a bar or a sushi place, and have a mini grill in front of them. You even have the wagyu cuts on display to see what you’re getting, whether you pick and choose or you opt for the omakase course. Omakase course starts from around 3000 yen.

     

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    Apart from good food, Misono has good service, friendly staff, multilingual menus and a detailed chart explaining the different meat cuts. Feel free to chat with the staff and ask about meat recommendations – dining solo doesn’t mean no chatting or socializing with others. For that matter, you don’t even have to go eat alone, you can go with others, sit next to each other and get grilling!

    Google Maps location

    3. STAMINA TARO, (various locations)

    This all-you-can-eat yakiniku franchise offers almost 130 different dishes in unlimited quantities if you have THE STAMINA to digest it all! Not just bottomless quantities of meat for barbecuing, the buffet here has other foods like sushi, Japanese curry, takoyaki, ramen, desserts and much more. It truly is a dream come true for people with big appetites and competitive eating ambitions! It’s great for big groups, and the variety of food means that everyone will be happy with the menu. Most importantly, it’s very affordable even for those not big on spending, and thus it’s popular with students, so better make a reservation!

    They have multiple locations around Tokyo, and different prices depending on your age, and depending whether it’s lunch or dinner. All-you-can-eat lunch costs only around 1400 yen for adults, and dinner is around 2300 yen, whereas for children and elderly there are substantial discounts. The time limit is 90 minutes, and drinks or an all-you-can-drink plan can be added to the price. You can check the details on the official website of Stamina Taro below.

    Website
    Google Maps location (Asakusa store)