Reach for the Stars: A Guide to Tokyo’s Michelin Star Restaurants

March 18, 2016

Sharon So serves up her guide to Tokyo's top-rated, Michelin-Starred restaurants.

In in 2010, Tokyo surpassed Paris as the city with the most Michelin Star restaurants in the entire world. Follow our guide to six of Tokyo's best restaurants and you'll find that a gastronomically great trip is written in the stars. 

Ishikawa

Creative Michelin-star Japanese cuisine.

If you can manage to get a table at Ishikawa, you're in for a very, very special treat. Chef Ishikawa is renowned as one of Tokyo’s most prestigious chefs and cleverly combines traditional Japanese cuisine with new and initiative ways to present food. The wait staff are highly trained and more than happy to offer their expert recommendations and speak to diners enthusiastically about each dish. Of course, being a very well known, very successful restaurant means that getting a table can be difficult and advance booking is a must.

Kanda

A chef seasoning food in a pan on the hob in a kitchen.

Located in Moto-Azabu, Minato-ku, Kanda is the proud recipient of three Michelin stars. Kanda is all about natural ingredients and the food is designed, created and cooked with freshness, creativity and intimacy in mind. Every dish is concieved with its own story and meaning. It is a very small restaurant with a cosy feel and meals are prepared in close proximity to dining tables so that diners can be part of the entire process. Interaction with the chefs is encouraged, who are known to quiz patrons on their tastes to craft beautiful, personalised dishes. 

Quintessence

A reservations book on a table at a fine-dining restaurant.

Managed by Chef Shuzo Kishida, Quintessence is also a prestigious three Michelin-starred restaurant. Getting a table is known to be quite difficult, with notoriously long waiting lists an unfortunate reality. The menu is a unique fusion of Japanese and French cuisine and prizes itself on three core values: respect for the product, care with the cooking process and attention to the most minute of details, from seasoning to presentation. Quintessence has a strict no photo policy as it's felt that photography is distracting to guests and takes away from the experience. 

Saito

Michelin-star sushi at a Japanese restaurant.

Satio is known as one of Tokyo's five best sushi restaurants. Despite its big reputation, it's small inside so booking as far as you can in advance is heavily advised. Once through the doors, you'll be rewarded with the opportunity to sit in front of the chef and the preparation area for a fully immersive experience. Watch as every single piece of sushi is made in front of your eyes with determined care and precision taken to ensure a pleasing combination of complimentary flavouring and pristine presentation. 

Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten

A man eating a Japanese dish with his fingers in a restaurant.

Chef Jiro is said to be the ultimate master at his craft – sushi making. You can expect delicate pieces that are both perfectly flavoured and beautifully presented. Sukiyabashi Jiro Honten is known for its extremely quick, almost in-and-out service so it’s not recommended if you’re after a longer dining experience. Some people comment that the price is a bit steep, and it’s true that the menu is definitely not cheap, but there's no denying that you get for what you pay for: extraordinary sushi made by a man who has perfected his craft. 

Yoshitake

Someone using chop-sticks to pick up sushi in a Japanese restaurant.

Yoshitake is small. Really small. With only seven seats at a time, diners have the chef's undivided attention and personalised dishes are the order of the day. A meal at Yoshitake can feel like a sushi masterclass as lucky diners have the opportunity to watch Yoshitake’s skill with the knife and rolling mat. 

Sharon So Sharon spent many years in Hong Kong working as a teacher and travelling around Asia. She has now moved back to England, but still feels the pull of wanderlust. Korea and Greece are next on her list.