Wednesday, March 2, 2016

About Narisawa, the S. Pellegrino choice for best restaurant in Japan. And about the hardest restaurant to book in Japan.

One of the courses at Narisawa in Tokyo
So recently, news has come out that Narisawa, a very cutting-edge type of restaurant not too far from my home in Tokyo, has been chosen once again the best restaurant in Japan.

I eat here quite a bit because almost every visitor I have from abroad wants to have dinner at Narisawa when they are in Tokyo. It's good and it's certainly worth going to at least once, if you ask my opinion.

The kitchen of Narisawa in Tokyo...

A SERIOUS FOODIE 
FROM MANILA

Anyway, this news made me remember a conversation I had with a very serious foodie friend from Manila just recently.

He was in Tokyo last month at the same time I was, and he asked me to book him for dinner at a tiny restaurant in Shimbashi that is perhaps the hardest restaurant to book in Japan.



They never answer their phone, they are perpetually full, and you need an introduction from a regular to get a booking.

ABOUT THE HARDEST RESTAURANT
TO BOOK IN JAPAN

One of the courses at the Michelin three-star
Ryugin in Tokyo

Anyway, I got him the reservation with two disclaimers:

First, I said: "The food is very Kyoto so it may be too subtle in taste for some people."

SAME TASTES.
EVEN A MEAL AT NOMA 
ON THE SAME DAY.

The amuse bouche at Steirereck in Vienna
last December....
This guy has a very refined palate and we like a lot of the same restaurants. He likes L'Arpege in Paris and Steirereck in Vienna, as well as a couple of restaurants in Copenhagen. We were even eating at Noma Tokyo last year on the same day. 

But very simple and subtle kaiseki -- no drama and food theatrics here, unlike in the Michelin three-star restaurant Ryugin, also in the list of best restaurants in the world -- is a hard sell to many people, especially as it costs so much.


Then, I told him: "Bring at least 100,000 yen in cash for two people."

No credit cards at this restaurant and that's about the going rate there if you don't go overboard on drinks. Anyway, the happy end result here was that he loved this restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed the food.

DINNER AT NARISAWA

The amuse bouche at Narisawa in Tokyo
at a dinner with 16 friends

He also went to Narisawa, which is the polar opposite of this restaurant I booked for him. I have very firm views on both restaurants but I refrained from saying anything about Narisawa lest I color his experience.

And by the time he went to Narisawa, I had already flown out of Japan. But I did say: "I'm very curious to know which one you will like more. Let me know!"


A few days later he told me: "The food was good and Narisawa is an excellent marketer. And the meal  at Narisawa was certainly great for Instagram."

My thoughts exactly, eating around the world, living a never-endingly delicious #Travelife.

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