Where to Eat in Tokyo: The Real Curry Guide

The food experience is one of the best attractions in Japan. When people typically think of Japanese food, many of us imagine sushi, soba, ramen, and yakitori. The fact is that Japan is the world’s second-largest curry-loving country!  

In Tokyo, Jinbōchō is an essential place when talking about curry. Since the Meiji era, the area has been known as a student town populated with many schools and bookstores. There are over 150 antiquarian bookstores still located there today. According to curry lovers, Jinbōchō had an abundance of curry restaurants from 1965 to 1984. Many of the men in their late teens to 30s used to come here to buy old books and to enjoy curry dishes.

Ramen is also popular as a quick and easy fast food, but do you eat ramen while reading? We don’t think so. The soup can splash or spill on your book. It is also difficult to eat hot ramen while reading. These theories behind the increase of curry restaurants in this area is somewhat convincing as “You can eat while reading a book with one hand”. In the states, it would be like having a slice a pizza that you can eat with one hand while you doing something else.

Perfect Guide: The Holy Curry Land of Tokyo

The Quintessence Tokyo Curry: Sumatra Curry Kyoeido  

  • Style: European

Among the 30 curry shops in the area, the one with the longest history was established in 1924. The Sumatra Curry, named after Sumatra, the second largest island in Indonesia located on the west side of the country. The addictive taste curry is made with 26 spices, meat, and vegetable flavors blended which has a smooth and refreshing taste. Quality of rice is important to match the roux, they carefully selected Koshihikari rice from Niigata, a premium gourmet rice variety. The shiny and tender rice mixes perfectly with the silky roux.

Sun Building B1, 1-6 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0051

The characteristic aroma of spices is an appetizing gem. The shrimp curry is also excellent, as the flavor is concentrated by Flambéing the shrimp with white wine and butter, and the aroma of shrimp drifts in the spiciness.

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Long-established Taste is Back, Serving Over 400 Dishes a Day: Kitchin Nankai

  • Style: Japanese

The original location was established in 1966, which closed in June 2020. But newly re-opened by a relative of the founder who was also the chef of the original place for a long-time. The new location is now open for business, and people making line same as the original one. The new owner-chef says, “We have kept the same taste. I am confident that the taste will never change,” and the black roux and big cutlet curry are unchanged.

The most recommended dish is Pork cutlet curry, a popular dish ordered by more than 70% of customers. The three-day process of making the sauce is a repeated process of heating and then letting it cold. The stewing process brings out the sweetness from the vegetables, without the use of sugar, resulting in a sweet, deep, and rich curry. The black curry sauce overflowing with the mild stimulation and aroma of spices and the crispy battered pork cutlets. 

1F, 1-39-8 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0051

Slowly cooked, so it doesn’t get soggy. That’s why you can eat up even a big portion without anxiety.

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Advanced Curry Across the West into Japan: Bondy

  • Style:  European

After the above two restaurants, the next legend is here. The fancy shop is instantly well known for its long line. But it’s fast food, the lines are quickly moving. In the 1960s, the owner went to France to study and encountered the depth of the sauces that form the foundation of French cuisine, adding curry ingredients to the base of the French brown sauce, and the result is the restaurant’s curry sauce. Since the curry was inspired by French cuisine, it was named European Curry Bondy.

In the more than 10 years since the European-Japanese curry debut, a string of curry movements in the area emerged. Many curry restaurants have opened one after another. Bondy towed the curry culture in Tokyo.

The characteristics of the curry are the mildness and richness of the dairy products used in abundance. Apples are used as the main ingredient, and other fruits and vegetables are sautéed in plenty of butter for a long time. The brown sauce simmered in red wine to make a jam called Chutney. Add some butter and spiciness of red pepper.

2F, 2-3 Kanda Jimbocho, Chiyoda, Tokyo 101-0051

An exquisite curry with a sweetness that is complemented by a spiciness. Vegetable curry is recommended for pescatarians.

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Mindfulness, Herbal Remedies Veg Curry: Ethiopia

  • Style: Indian & Yakuzen curry 

The restaurant opened in the book town of Jimbocho in 1988 as a Curry & Coffee specialty store. Ethiopia, but curry? Some of you may be thinking, the name comes from the fact that Ethiopian coffee was popular back then, so they named the restaurant after Ethiopia. The explanation for the name is rough, but the taste of the curry is serious. The powerful aroma and sweetness of cloves, the fresh and crisp cardamom, and the appetizing stimulation of chili powder and black pepper. A wide variety of vegetables, such as chickpeas, cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant, provide different textures. The spiciness can be increased up to 70 times, find your favorite spiciness.

We recommend the Bean curry, a spicy roux made from a mixture of three different kinds of beans, healthy and highly nutritious. Pulses are high in protein, vitamin B2, dietary fiber, and iron, making them the perfect choice when you are feeling a little tired.

3-10-6 Kanda Ogawa-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0052

It’s advanced taste. Herbal remedies purify your body.

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A Provocative Only one menu, A Confident Chef: Indera

  • Style: European

Established by a curry-loving owner who tasted curry all over Tokyo, this restaurant was born out of his love for curry. Since its opening in 1970, the restaurant has maintained the same interior and taste with only standard curry and dry curry on the menu.

The delicious flavor of the pork, which has become integrated with the sauce, soaks into the roux made by frying the flour. Try the free Japanese pickles, provided in a variety of flavors and topped with as many of them as you like. Please note that cash payment is required, thus cash on delivery.

6 Kandakonyacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 101-0035 

Zen-ish, simplicity. One of the most significant Tokyo curry…

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Spin-off: Japan’s first Indian curry restaurant, Nair

  • Style: Indian

Although located not in Jimbocho, this place is truly a treasure of Japanese curry culture. Over 70 years have passed since the restaurant first opened its doors to the public, the everlasting signature dish on the menu is the Murgi Lunch, which is ordered by more than 90% of customers. The dish consists of a spicy roux made from chicken thighs simmered for seven hours, comes with yellow rice, hot cabbage, mashed potatoes, and green peas. The aroma of fresh spices, garlic, and ginger is tantalizing. The dish is designed for mixing and dining, the staff will mix it for you when serving.

Secret tip… Other curries alone include shrimp, mutton, keema as ground meat, chicken, egg, vegetables, and yogurt. If you want to have these curries as well, you can order the Murgi Lunch without rice and order the other curries. A little-known fact! It’s called Lunch but you can have it for dinner time…

An essential place to talk about the history of India in Japan. The founder of the restaurant, Mr. Nair, a revolutionary who was involved in the Indian independence movement. He contributed to the Japan-India friendship and was awarded the Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Emperor of Japan in 1984. 

10-7, Ginza 4-chome, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0061

Without knowing this taste, no one can talk about Indian curry in Japan.

Voice from one of our members…

Many small stores and private stores in Japan require cash payment.  However, card payments are not accepted in some places. There are many reasonably priced foods in Japan, and countless items can be found for less than the US $1-10. Be sure to carry a small amount of cash with you when walking around Japan, even though it might be a little inconvenient. Please enjoy your Table For One Japanese food dining experience without any hesitations!

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