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Odette Chef Julien Royer’s Tokyo Food Guide: Top 5 Restaurant Picks

This is part of Julien Royer’s The Stories of Odette.


 

Itravelled to Tokyo with my wife, Agnes, for the first time in January 2014 and was blown away by the incredible country. Whether you spend $5 or $5,000, the attention to detail is the same. It’s unbelievable. Tokyo is, without a doubt, the world capital of gastronomy. I returned in2015 to cook (at The Ritz- Carlton Asia-Pacific Food & Wine Festival) and fell even deeper in love with the city.

01: SUSHI IMAMURA

A photo posted by @mike_greene on

I went there with my two sous chefs, Levin and Adam, and my chef friend, Frankelie Laloum, and we had a blast. This is a tiny restaurant in the Minato area seating only eight persons – my friend who is a chef in Japan made reservations in advance. Our dinner was out of this world, and one of my favourite items was an aburi kinki nigiri.

5-8-13 Shirokane Shirokane Heights 1F, Minato

02: ESQUISSE

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The cuisine of Lionel Becca at Esquisse, such as this dish of ayu fi sh, exhibits a great sensitivity to Japanese culture.

Bruno Menard (who had a Michelin-star French restaurant in Tokyo) recommended this place – and who better to get advice on which French restaurant to visit than him? I went there with Agnes and we were really impressed by Lionel Becca’s cuisine. It is the perfect representation of a chef who clearly understands his country of “adoption” and has managed to adapt. We really enjoyed his very personal French-Japanese cuisine, including a dish of poached foie gras with Japanese squid.

03: TEMPURA TEN-ICHI IN GINZA

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Tempura with a cult status from Ten-ichi.

At this dining institution, a must-visit for many politicians travelling to Japan and a favourite of the artist Chagall, Agnes and I were blown away by the quality of the tempura, which is so light and non-greasy that it’s almost as if it’s not been fried at all. Yet, it is crisp and delicious.

04: LUGDUNUM BOUCHON LYONNAIS

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Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais provides an authentic taste of southern France.

My friend, Christophe Paucod, owns this lovely French restaurant in the Kagurazaka area, where he serves Lyon-style cuisine. I love it for many reasons, one of it being that the food is super comforting. The quenelles are the best I have tried outside of France. His saucisson en brioche is also to die for.

05: RYUGIN

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“A Message from the Coast of Japan” is a sampling of seasonal seafood at Ryugin.

We made reservations about a month in advance. For gourmets around the world, Ryugin is probably one of the most wellknown restaurants in Tokyo, but Agnes and I had so much trouble finding the place! We had an extremely patient cab driver who didn’t speak much English but stopped the meter twice to ask for directions. We eventually found it by chance in a small street. The dinner was fabulous; the most memorable dish we had was a seafood assortment that chef Seiji Yamamoto calls “A Message from the Coast of Japan”.

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Read more of The Stories of Odette.