Eating out in Tokyo can be expensive but if you know the right places to go then you can get good food at a low price as well as a nomi-hodai (all you can drink) over a set time. A great place to have both is the yakitori (grilled chicken) chain Marukin which has branches in downtown Tokyo near both Shibuya and Shinjuku stations. Yakitori sticks start at just 60 yen and you will be given a small grill at your table to keep them warm. Try dipping them in Marukin’s own chili-garlic sauce to spice up the flavour – a pot of this will also be on every table.
The real selling point of Marukin though is the nomihodai deal which costs just 299yen for 30 minutes unlimited drinking time. There is a minimum stay of 1 hour and a maximum stay of 2 hours, so we went for 90 minutes which set us back just under 900 yen – the same as a large beer in many nearby bars. “The service must be slow and you’ll only be able to get a few drinks?” I bet you’re wondering. Typically this may be true of many nomihodai deals when the last order comes 30 minutes before the time ends and your glass is sitting empty for much of the time while the bar staff deliberates on your last order. However, not in Marukin as the beauty here is it’s all self-service so it really is drink as much as you want.
Beer is poured out of a nifty machine where all you need to do is press a button and it’ll fill up your glass whilst there are a variety of spirits such as vodka and whiskey, Japanese sake, shochu and umeshu in addition to a number of mixers which allow you to create your own cocktails. There is no last order so you can drink until your heart (but maybe not liver) is content right up until your allotted time slot ends. The food is decent as well and as mentioned, much cheaper than other izakayas in the area; we recommend the tsukune (chicken meatball), negi (chicken and spring onion) and momo (chicken thigh) to get you started.
All in all you can have a hearty meal with a good number of drinks for a very reasonable price of around 1,500 yen per person which is a great deal given the locations in central Tokyo. Check out the website for details of where to find each restaurant.
There are many branches, so we will introduce the Shinjuku Main Branch.
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・ Yummytori or Yuckytori? Weird Parts in Yakitori You Never Knew About
・ Hodai: A Japanese Term Useful for All Food Lovers, Boozers and Movie Junkies!