Best Restaurants (Casual) in Tokyo

Tokyo is home to a whopping 160,000 restaurants. Ask a local for tips on where to eat, and they’ll most likely tell you that you can’t go wrong no matter where you go. Generally, they’re right. Across the board, Japanese restaurant standards are high. Chefs take such pride in their crafts and local ingredients are the norm. Not surprisingly, we didn’t suffer through a single bad meal. My best dining tip? Go for a wander and see where you end up. Sometimes it’s fun to choose a restaurant based on your gut rather than a food blog.

If you’re a planner, however, here’s a small list of casual spots that I really enjoyed…

Dominique Ansel Bakery

5 Chome-7-14 Jingumae | 81-3486-1329 $$ | Patisserie / Chocolaterie

@dabjapan | Visit website

The Tokyo location of New York City's most famous bakery (home of the Cronut) was not on our dining list, but a sidewalk sign advertising avocado toast (with a whole half avocado) lured us in. This two-story patisserie, chocolaterie and cafe offers a small lunch menu of salads, sandwiches and omelets along with the usual sweet treats like Dominique's Cookie Shot, Frozen S'more and impeccable cakes.


2-14-14 Honey Shimokitazawa 1F | $ | Okonomiyaki

As the saying goes, trust the locals. Hiroki was the restaurant recommendation of our favourite Tokyo barista that blew us away. Specializing in okonomiyaki, a savoury Japanese pancake filled with a variety of other ingredients, this tiny hole-in-the-wall offers an experience that's as enjoyable as the food. Sit in awe and watch the chef build your dish before you eat it straight off the hot grill. Note: the pancake batter contains a small amount of egg. Ask for no fried egg, bonito and mayo to reduce animal product consumption.