Soba is one of the national dishes of Japan and it is something that most Japanese people can eat every day. Soba are thin noodles made from buckwheat. There are so many soba restaurants in Tokyo that it’s hard for foreigners to tell which ones are truly delicious. In this feature, we talk about the top four soba restaurants in Tokyo as rated by the Japanese. Each restaurant offers something unique, so let’s get started.
Soba Kiri Shin (そば切りしん)
A relatively unknown one, this soba restaurant recently opened in Hiroo (広尾). Located in an alleyway, it is no surprise many seem to have trouble finding it. The soba here are made to match the season, which is a comparatively new concept. The noodles are also made fresh ensuring they have a beautiful texture.
Once you come to the right street, enter the alley and you will notice this lamp.
The interior is classic, traditional Japanese making you feel warm and cozy.
The restaurant also focuses on the crockery and cutlery, so you can enjoy admiring the gorgeous tableware along with the food.
You have a choice between cold and hot noodles as well as a seasonal special. This month’s seasonal special featured soba with goji berries and it’s something we have never seen or eaten before.
You can see bits of goji berry in the noodles as well as placed on top of them. The noodles have a nice bite.
When dipped in tsuyu (light dipping sauce), the flavor of the soba is enhanced further. The tsuyu here is sweet and fragrant yet not overbearing.
If you have any tsuyu left, you can ask the staff to provide you with soba-yu, which is the water is which soba is boiled. Add it to your tsuyu for a delicious, warm soup.
If you’re looking for a unique soba experience, visit this restaurant.
Manin is a famous shabu shabu restaurant but the soba dishes sold during lunch here are extremely popular. The best part is if you want to try shabu shabu on your own, there is an option set for one person as well.
Manin is located in the hep, cool, fashion district of Daikanyama, close to Shibuya.
There are 9 lunch options and the soba is served in a long tray. You can choose the quantity of noodles too: 200 g (No. 1), 320 g (No. 2), 450 g (No. 3). You can get extra soba of 130 g for an additional 300 yen too.
If you want to try shabu shabu by yourself, choose the 2000 yen set. You can also buy a takeaway set to enjoy at home that include the soba.
We chose to try set No. 1 with 200 grams of soba which included ice cream as a dessert. Doesn’t the long soba tray have an impact?
The soup served is made using kurobuta (pork). Let’s see how delicious the kurobuta soup is with the soba.
The soup is quite intense, fragrant and utterly delicious. The soba are firm and are a perfect match with the soup.
The pork is tender and has a strong flavor that adds a punch to the soba.
Cleanse your palate with a scoop of ice cream; this 1,000 yen set is great value for money.
A soba restaurant in Nezu, close to Ueno and Yanaka Ginza, which is known to have many wandering stray cats. It has become very popular among cat lovers and many stores sell cat memorabilia too.
Although this soba restaurant has no connections with cats, it was rated one of the best soba restaurants in 2021. The best part is that you can have soba for breakfast here as it opens at 7:30 in the morning. With long opening hours, from early morning to evening, it’s easy to add it to your itinerary.
There are two types of soba noodles: Seiro (white) and Inaka (black). If you are confused on which to choose, you can opt for the half-and-half option. The tsuyu here uses duck!
We chose the half noodle option. Doesn’t it look stunning?
The seiro noodles are soft and have a texture that is different from other restaurants; the soba work very well with delicious duck soup.
Inaka soba are slightly sticky and therefore, quite chewy, an unusual texture which doesn’t absorb much of the soup.
Add some Sichuan Pepper to the soup to elevate the flavors further.
The duck meat itself is scrumptious. The soup is mellow but moorish.
The restaurant has a wonderful warm atmosphere. Don’t forget to ask for the soba broth to add to your tsuyu!
The number one soba restaurant in Shibuya is modern and contemporary focusing on the concept of light and wind during the day and sake with friends at night. A refreshing take on this traditional food, you can even enjoy watching the chef’s from the counter seats.
With an open kitchen and elegant interiors, it is a classy spot in town.
Even though it may appear lavish, the cost of dishes is surprisingly reasonable.
You can choose to order a la carte or a course. Soba prices start at 900 yen, similar to other soba restaurants. The upscale vibe makes it a great spot for a date too.
We chose the cold soba with shirasu (whitebait), uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe). How amazing is the presentation of this dish? Not something you expect at a soba restaurant. Tea is also served for free.
The soba is cooked perfectly, and the salty flavor for salmon roe, clean flavor of whitebait and creamy texture of sea urchin are like a match made in heaven. For 2,180 yen, this dish is really worth it.
As you come to a finish, the staff serve soba broth.
The cold seiro noodles are also very tasty. These are served with a sesame and walnut sauce that is rich and creamy.
*The wine glass holds oolong tea.
A side dish that goes well with soba is dashimaki tamago (egg flavored with dashi) and tempura. Each dish has been prepared with great care.
To end your meal, choose from some unique desserts that are a fusion of the east and west.
This is the Kuzuyose Jelly with mascapone and anko (red bean paste) for 550 yen. Kuzuyose is brown sugar syrup with roasted soybean flour and arrowroot. The jelly goes well with the cream cheese and the subtly sweet flavor of red beans. Highly recommend this dessert for the price.
Hope you liked some of the options introduced in this feature. Add it to your list for when you visit Tokyo and enjoy the traditional flavors of soba.
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