October 31, 2014

Elegant Indian dishes in Aoyama

Perhaps surprisingly, we have many Indian restaurants here and there in Tokyo. However, I don't know the reason, but most of them are cheap and the atmosphere is very casual (sometime shabby...) like fast food shop, unfotunately. The other day, I found an elegant Indian restaurant with reasonable price in Aoyama (青山). On the underground of a building along the Kotto-dori Street (骨董通り), there is "SITAARA (シターラ)."   
Wine (red:France, white: Italy)
Tandoori chicken and curry of spinach and cheese
Butter naan
Butter chicken curry and plain naan
Despite the good atmosphere, SITAARA offers reasonable set meals at lunch. They are JPY1,050, 1,350 and 1,600. Even so, I noticed they used good ingredients for dishes. Chicken for tandoori was the best one ever I've had at Indian restaurant here. Salad was fresh. Lassi was rich. Curry was not so spicy and hot. Though it seemed adjusted for Japanese preference, the taste was delicious. Service was also good. I hope such a good Indian restaurant be more increased in Tokyo! My rating is 4.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

SITAARA (シターラ) http://www.sitaara.com/index.html

October 30, 2014

Cute cakes designed by a French jewel designer

"Mademoiselle C (マドモアゼル C)" is a cake shop where lovely cakes designed by a French jewel designer are displayed on showcase. Every cake is very cute that girls/women can not pass in front. Pink, pastel-color, heart and flower which girls like are motif of their cakes.    
Short cake
Flower ball
In contrast to the lovely appearance, the taste is quite normal. I don't buy their cakes for taste, but as a gift, particularly for female friend/family, it might be a good option. One piece of cake costs around JPY540. Available at NIhonbashi Mitsukoshi. I recommend you to just see their lovely show-case! My rating is 3.4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Mademoiselle C (マドモアゼル C) http://www.mademoiselle-c.jp/index

October 29, 2014

Nice view Italian restaurant on the top of ASAHI Breweries in Asakusa

On the top floor of the famous building of ASAHI Breweries, LTD in Asakusa (浅草), there is an Italian restaurant named "La Ranarita (ラ・ラナリータ)." People just take pictures of this beer shaped building and may not notice a nice restaurant is located inside. In contrast to the bustling Asakusa town, the restaurant had few customers around 8pm on weekend.
La Ranarita
Window seat
ASAHI fresh beer and Sky Tree
Pizza with fresh tomato, basil, olive and mozzarella (JPY1,850)
Spaghetti carbonara (JPY1,850)
Wagyu beef steak (JPY5,650)
La Ranarita has been opened for long, and the atmosphere is a bit old somehow. But the view of Sky Tree is very beautiful and the high ceiling gives us sense of release. Dishes are not so sophisticated like the ones of posh restaurants, but delicious enough. Pizza was so-so, but spaghetti carbonara was creamy and rich. Most of all, wagyu beef steak was amazing. Both of the quality of beef and way of cooking seemed high. JPY5,650 was not inexpensive, but VERY tasty. If you can afford, it is recommended! As a whole...my rating is 3.6 out of 5. It is worth to visit just for seeing Sky Tree and drinking ASAHI fresh beer! Gochiso-samadeshita!

La Ranarita (ラ・ラナリータ) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a170900/ 

October 23, 2014

Reasonable shabu shabu at a house restaurant in Yanaka

Close colleagues organized a dinner at a Japanese house restaurant "Kiri (吉里)" in Yanaka (谷中), an old downtown. Kiri consists of a lot of private rooms, which are suitable for private gathering as well as business entertainment. Although Kiri looks an expensive restaurant, they offer reasonable dishes. Despite the exterior, the atmosphere is cozy and relaxing thanks to their friendly staff.
Japanese house restaurant "Kiri"
Private room
Several starters and sashimi
Wagyu beef shabu shabu
Ponzu sauce and sesame sauce for shabu shabu
Rice, miso soup and pickles
Matcha, green powdered tea
The above set meal of shabu shabu using wagyu beef costs JPY3,500. Free-flow drinks including alcohol is just JPY1,800. The price setting is similar to that of izakaya chain restaurants. Thinking of the good atmosphere at a Japanese old house, it is very reasonable. Dishes were normally delicious. The quality of wagyu beef might be not so high, but good enough. More importantly, we could be relaxed as much as we wanted even though the free-flow time was finished (it's quite exceptional!). Value for money! My rating is 3.7 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

October 22, 2014

Orthodox French meal at a Japanese house in Hibiya

Before taking maternity leave, co-workers and colleagues kindly had opportunities of lunch and dinner for farewell. One of which was held at "NANBUTEI (南部亭)", a French restaurant in the Hibiya Park (日比谷公園). We can have orthodox French meal at a Japanese old house. Lovely combination!
NANBUTEI in Hibiya Park
Private room (2nd floor)
Salad with scallop and almond
Pumpkin soup
Lamb steak
Creme brulee with pistachio ice cream
I had not heard about the reputation of NANBUTEI before, it was a good restaurant. Staff was sophisticated and gainly. Their orthodox dishes were delicious. Not old-fashioned. Especially, the steak was great. The way of grilling was skillful. The portion was enough. Decorated plates (maybe Noritake, a Japanese ceramic company) were beautiful. Lunch is available from JPY3,000 (the above set meal costs JPY3,900). My rating is 3.9 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

NANBUTEI (南部亭) http://www.nambu-tei.com/    

Mild Chinese dishes at a spacious restaurant in Ginza

When I have lunch with friends/colleagues, it's been a bit difficult for me to find a suitable restaurant...with baby! Before, I just had to care about cuisine, budget, location and atmosphere. Now, I have much longer checklist so that everyone including other customers can be happy.

In the center of Ginza (銀座), near the cross road of Ginza 4 chome (銀座4丁目交差点), I found a large Chinese restaurant named "GINZA RO-LAN (銀座楼蘭)", a branch of Hotel GRAND PACIFIC LE DAIBA located on the 10th floor of GINZA CORE (銀座コア). RO-LAN dominates all the 10th floor. Thanks to that, the restaurant is spacious enough that customers don't have to care the next tables. 
Entrance of "GINZA RO-LAN"
Dining room of "GINZA RO-LAN"
Small starter
Shark's fin soup
Stir-fried ging-geng-cai
Sauteed beef and stewed prawn/tofu
Almond jelly
In principle, lunch is from JPY3,500. Only on weekday, the above set meal is available at JPY2,600. Considering the atmosphere and the taste, the price would be adequate. The tasting is not hot at all. Rather, mild and gentle. Instead of much spices, good bouillon seemed to be used for tasting. I liked their flavorful and nutritious dishes. Staff was kind (they kindly prepared eating utensils for my baby). One thing is...the portion was not so big. If the potion had been much more, I could have been more satisfied. My rating is 3.6 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

GINZA RO-LAN (銀座楼蘭) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a183201/
Hotel GRAND PACIFIC LE DAIBA http://www.grandpacific.jp/ 
GINZA CORE (銀座コア)http://www.ginza-core.co.jp/

October 21, 2014

Addictive burger at TGI FRIDAYS

Sometimes, I really want to have JACK DANIEL'S burger at TGI FRIDAYS (TGI フライデーズ), an American diner chain run by an izakaya company in Japan. The burger is just an ordinary burger except sweet sauce using whisky, JACK DANIEL'S. The sauce made of BBQ sauce, whisky, brown sugar, etc. is very strong. Love-it-or-hate-it. I love it. It seems unhealthy but very addictive (delicious things are not always good for health...).    
Different from the original image of TGI FRIDAYS, the price is not so inexpensive here. The JACK DANIEL'S burger costs JPY1,690. Half portion of ribs costs JPY1,990. If we take some alcohol, the total can be unexpectedly high even at lunch time just having a burger. But...I can't stop it! Cheerful atmosphere is also good. My rating is 3.6 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita! 

TGI FRIDAYS (TGI フライデーズ) http://www.tgifridays.co.jp/

October 11, 2014

Nice oblong cakes of KOBE KITANO HOTEL

On the underground of Shin-Marunouchi Building, we can buy products of KOBE KITANO HOTEL (神戸北野ホテル), an elegant auberge of Kobe. The shop is "igrekplus (イグレックプリュス)" , only one branch in Tokyo other than Kansai area. Different from the graceful atmosphere of the hotel (please check their site, particularly photos in Japanese version!), the shop is casual. The price is not also so high. I don' t know the reason, but it might be a strategy to get many people know their taste first.
Cake of raspberry 
Cake of maple
Most of their cakes are shaped oblong and simple. In terms of the appearance, their cakes may look less attractive compared to other shops. I also had not expected so much. However, the taste was very rich and well balanced. Various elements are staffed in the oblong figure. As for a cake of maple, combination of rich maple mousse, creme brulee of praline chocolate, caramel nuts and crispy diced cookies was very nice! I My rating is 4.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

igrekplus (イグレックプリュス) http://r.gnavi.co.jp/a634229/
KOBE KITANO HOTEL (神戸北野ホテル) http://www.kobe-kitanohotel.co.jp/top/

October 9, 2014

Scattered sushi at a nearest sushi restaurant to my house

Just in front of the Ikenohata gate (池之端門) of the Ueno Zoo (上野動物園), there is a sushi restaurant named "SUSHI EITARO (英多郎寿司)", which is the nearest one to my house. It is a middle-grade sushi restaurant where lunch is available from JPY1,100 while dinner is available from around JPY6,000. When my parents came by to see baby, I visited SUSHI EITARO after so long (usually, it is too close for me to go).
Inside (private room)
Sashimi and scattered sushi (JPY1,650)
At lunch, chirashi-zushi, namely scattered sushi which is sushi rice bowl topped with various sushi ingredients is reccomendable. This style of sushi is quite popular in Japan, particularly at home. Good point of this sushi is that delicate technique of sushi chef is not necessary as long as ingredients are good.

Scattered sushi looks beautiful like a jewel box as you can see. The taste was delicious enough. Good ingredients left in a previous dinner might be used for the next day's lunch. My rating is 3.4 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

SUSHI EITARO (英多郎寿司) http://www.eitarouzushi.com/ 

October 1, 2014

Elegant Italian restaurant in Hotel Chinzanso

Chinzanso (椿山荘) is an old but elegant hotel in Edogawabashi (江戸川橋), which is famous as its beautiful large garden. Because of inconvenient access by the public transportation, Chinzanso is like a hidden place in the center of Tokyo. Slow and elegant atmosphere is there. They have 12 different restaurants and I had an opportunity to go "IL TEATRO (イルテアトロ)", an Italian restaurant.  
Sacred tree in the garden of Hotel Chinzanso
Lobby of Hotel Chinzanso
Corridor to "IL TEATRO"
Window seat seeing the garden
Carpaccio of porgy 
Foie gras brulee
Bread and grissini
Fettucine of squid ink with seafood saffron sauce
Fettucine of spinach with bolognese sauce  
Saute of cod with burdock sauce
Grilled pork
Dessert wagon
As you like!
Camomile tea with honey
Birthday plate!
IL TEATRO is a beautiful restaurant as its name suggests. Beautiful flowers are decorated. From the window, green of the garden was eye-fitting. But the atmosphere is not so formal. Yong staff provide friendly service. 

Dishes using fresh fettucine just made at the restaurant were especially delicious. Chewy texture was good. Squid ink fettucine was well fit saffron seafood creme sauce. I liked it. As for dessert, table-side service was very attractive. You can take whatever you like. Actually, I couldn't eat so much after lunch, but such presentation was exciting. 

Lunch is available from JPY3,900. Considering the cuisine and good time, the price was appropriate. Though we stayed for long with dessert, nobody advised us about time. My rating is 4.0 out of 5. Gochiso-samadeshita!

Chinzanso (椿山荘) http://hotel-chinzanso-tokyo.jp/