From Western-adapted dishes to traditional domestic dishes, the world’s flavours all gather in the gourmet city of Tokyo. Note that this roundup of twelve must-eats within Shibuya, classified by food type, touches only the tip of the iceberg of the capital’s creative culinary community. Nevertheless, these eateries maintain the absolute highest quality and offer you an eating experience that you can enjoy in no other country. We’ve even included a couple of places where quality beverage feature just as much in the spotlight as the superb food.
The taste of France through Japanese bread
Sweet or savoury, Western-style or domestic, bread and pastries are among one of the greatest culinary specialties of Japan. What’s more, many a famous Japanese bakery is initially founded and draws inspiration from the baking culture of France - in fact, the Japanese word for bread, ‘pan’, is derived from the French ‘pain’ (bread). Read below for our definitive list of five superb bakeries to try out during your wanders in Shibuya.
Gontran Cherrier - initially based in Paris, over the years, the bakery has expanded its influence across the globe, establishing branches within major cities of Japan. However, the first ever Gontran Cherrier bakery to be established in Japan is the one here in Shibuya. A single minute’s walk from Shibuya station, the bakery is just around the corner of the street crossing of Miyamasuzaka. Don’t miss the croissant and pain au chocolat, made so artfully that one can peel off the bread layer on layer. The croissant is full of volume and soft lushness on the inside with a rich aroma of butter. The pain au chocolat is made up of rich layers of bread, embedded with chocolate. In addition to take-out, you also have the option of sitting in the eat-in space provided on the third floor, which commands a view of Shibuya’s famous scramble crossing.
Address: BC Salon, 1-14-11, Shibuya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 7am - 9pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-6418-9581
VIRON - home to Japan’s best baguettes, VIRON is eight-minutes’ walk from Shibuya station and can be easily located by its bright red exterior across from Tokyu Department Store. One defining characteristic of this café is the flour it uses that is specially imported from France. It is said that the use of this flour as a bread ingredient is extremely difficult, and it is only after successive trial and error that Japanese baking experts managed to perfect the baguette that we can enjoy today. There is also a brasserie on the second floor in which you can enjoy French-style meals. However, due to its enormous popularity, we highly recommend you to make an appointment beforehand.
Address: Tsukada Building, 33-8, Udagawacho, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 9am–5pm, 7pm–10:30 pm, Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-5458-1776
JEAN FRANCOIS - a bakery that M.O.F.-winning chef Jean Francois (M.O.F., or Best Craftsman of France, is the highest award in France given to craftsmen) founded. It can be accessed directly by crossing the bridge between Shibuya station and the fourth floor of Mark City. We particularly recommend their croissant and baguette: the ribbon-like croissant possesses few layers and a powerful crunch rather than a crispy bite; the baguette, on the other hand, incorporates French flour and Australian salt to create a hard-shell exterior and soft interior. The café space itself is open 8am - 11pm, allowing for long hours of stay.
Address: Shibuya Mark City, 1 Chome-12-1 Dogenzaka, Shibuya, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 8am - 11pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-5457-7031
LE PAIN de Joël Robuchon - The first bakery by Michelin-starred French master Joël Robuchon is located on the second floor of Hikarie ShinQs. Quality ingredients and skill are of essence to its culinary culture and success, and there is a great selection of bread to select from. The most recommended is cranberry and cream cheek rye bread, over 65% of which is made up of the most scrumptious and fulfilling ingredients of walnuts, cranberries, and cream cheese.
LE PAIN de Joël Robuchon
Address: ShinQs, Shibuya Hikarie, 2-21-1, Shibuya, Shibuya Ward,Tokyo
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-6434-1837
The rare and exotic Fugu Fish
Tasting Japanese food is an indispensable part of a foodie’s travels in Tokyo. One cannot truly say that they have experienced Japan’s culinary culture without actually having tasted the local cuisine. And what more can be attributed as a solid check on your foodie bucket-list than tasting the traditional Japanese fugu fish? Although fugu fish is usually only found in Yamaguchi and Oita prefecture, this delicacy is within easy access and price range at the Narumi restaurant in Maruyamachou, Shibuya ward.
The restaurant is situated in a quiet neighbourhood, which is only an unbelievable short five minutes from the rough-and-tumble scramble crossing. Established in 1970 as a family-owned business, Narumi is one of the oldest restaurants within Shibuya ward that specialises in fugu fish dishes. Although the prices of many fugu specialty restaurants within Tokyo exceed well over 10,000 JPY (89 USD), here one can enjoy the soft roe sashimi at a reasonably priced 6,000 JPY (53 USD)! There are even people who place reservations for this exotic, creamy-textured rarity.
Despite the “Japanese-ish” atmosphere, the restaurant also provides English menus for foreign visitors due to its special feature in NHK and consequent reputation in overseas countries. You can order both single and course dishes – we strongly recommend the Fuku course set, which can be purchased at 6,000 JPY and includes hors d’oeuvre, jellied fish, fugu sashimi, fried fugu, citrus-flavoured nabe (stew), seasoned rice porridge, and dessert. From the exquisite, gossamer-like sashimi to the rich, golden jellied fish and fried fugu, each dish is filled with exquisite wonders for you to taste. The fugu season lasts from September to March, yielding high catches of the fish. After May, however, a reservation must be made three days in advance to secure the dish.
Address: 17-2 Maruyamacho, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 6 pm - midnight (Last order at 10 pm)
Contact: +81 3-3462-1888
Shibuya Cheese Stand
The Shibuya Cheese Stand is right near the Shibuya NHK building, with its milk-white exterior and cow statue serving as landmarks. Here, fresh milk is delivered from early morning to commence cheese making, leading to freshly baked cheese. The cheese chef, inspired by his travels and work experience as a chef and farmer in Italy, decided to bring the concept of freshly baked cheese to Tokyo. Here, rarities such as mozzarella, ricotta and burrata cheese are used to create exquisite combinations of pizza and fine wine. What’s more, you can watch the staff as they prepare your meal with artistic dedication.
The legendary burrata cheese is strongly recommended! The mouthwatering combination of cream-like sweetness and fresh, tangy flavour of this rare cheese are worth coming for. The burrata is a cheese native to Andria, a small city in Apulia, Southern Italy. Because the cheese only holds for a short span of an approximate five days, before the opening of the restaurant in 2012, one can only try this exotic dish by travelling to the actual town. The store was the first to bring this rare flavour to Tokyo, and even now there are few places in Japan where this cheese can be tasted. Indeed, this is cheese that cannot be bought at the same price and quality in supermarkets and department stores. The cheese can be eaten with whey cocktail and drinks that are also good for skin and health care.
Shibuya Cheese Stand
Address: 5-8 Kamiyamacho, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Access: 12 minutes’ walk from Shibuya station
Opening Hours: 11:30am - 11pm
Contact: +81 3-6407-9806
Shibuya Meat Alley (Niku-yokocho)
Located on the second to third floors of Chitose Kaikan shop of Center Gai Street, Niku Yokocho (literally, ‘Meat Alley’) is a theme park that currently encompasses a total of 24 meat-themed restaurants. Here, devoted meat lovers in search of a good burger or steak throng morning, noon, and especially at night. The alleyways revive a nostalgic sense of the Showa period while stores that boast their meaty specialties line the narrow alleyway – nevertheless, there is a limit to one’s stomach capacity. Make sure you don’t go and return only to be asked, “What? You travelled all the way to Niku Yokocho and didn’t even eat at that store?”
Niku Sushi - True to its name, “Meat Sushi,” the menu features main dishes such as horse meat, ox tongue, and beef. But if you are to come, you MUST eat the “The Masterpiece! Fatty Tuna,” a dish that is featured in many connoisseur television programmes. A great slab of grilled Japanese beef so great that the sushi rice it is laid on is virtually indiscernible. Get there early on weekdays to secure a seat for the evening; on weekends, reservations are required two weeks in advance!
Niku Kyu – an eatery for people with a penchant for yakiniku (grilled meat). One can order barbequed beef ribs at a shockingly cheap price of 500 JPY (4.4 USD)!
“Niku-no Rakuen” – Literally, “The Paradise of Meat.” The “A5 Rank Japanese Beef 100% Burger” is adored by meat fans and television shows alike. You can choose medium or rare. The first slice into the high-quality meat, and rich juice together with fragrance just pour out onto the hot pan.
“Unaji” is an Okinawa-style restaurant famous for its teppanyaki, meat served on a hot steel plate, of which the agu pork steak proves the most popular.
“Dao Thai” - a Thai restaurant most famous for its dish Kai yang, roasted chicken meat garnished with sauce native to Thailand. One can taste the actual locality in the dish.
Shibuya Meat Alley (Niku-yokocho)
Address: 13-8, Udagawacho, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Access 7 minutes’ walk from Shibuya station
Opening Hours: 5pm - 5am.
Open up your extra room for dessert, because there will be plenty of yummy guests coming in to stay! Directly connected to Shibuya station, the 34-floors-high, 4-basement-floors-deep complex of Hikarie is still a relatively new landmark of Shibuya. Inside, one can find such a diversity of shops, restaurants, cafes, and other facilities that number approximately to 200. We particularly recommend the sweets factory located on basement 2, which is positively teeming with the most scrumptious sweet shops, bakeries and cafes one can find.
Paul Basset - A blend of café, patisserie and chocolaterie, the B2F café Paul Basset was first conceived by chocolatier Hironobu Tsujiguchi and world-champion barista Paul Bassett. Although it can also be found in Shinjuku, only the Shibuya version possesses the bonus features of coffee and chocolate. Right in front of the café space is a chocolate showcase where guests line up for gifts to take home. The popular menu is the Ricotta Cheese Pancake with Special Maple Sauce, which has an actual block of ricotta cheese embedded within the pancake. The Chocolat Pancake is also on limited offer. Latte art is also in full swing – many a latte picture gets uploaded on Instagram.
Address: ShinQs, Shibuya Hikarie, 2-21,1, Shibuya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Access Direct connection from Shibuya station
Opening Hours: 10am - 9pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-5468-3167
Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI Paris - Located on B2F, Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI Paris sells freshly baked Tokyo Macarons, which are only available in Hikarie. This place only does take-out, so either eat it fresh out of its wrapper or microwave it later at home.
Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI Paris
Address: ShinQs B2F, Shibuya Hikarie, 2-21-1, Shibuya, Shibuya Ward, Tokyo
Opening Hours: 11am - 8pm. Closed on public holidays.
Contact: +81 3-6434-1809
Are you ready to feast in Shibuya?!
If you’re looking for a place to catch a bite before heading to your next destination, stop by these great eateries for a meal you will never regret.
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