Cafes, bars and casual dining
Motomura - Gyukatsu: Shinjuku
[Open 11am-10pm daily.]
There are lines to get into Motomura day and night, and it's easy to understand why once you've tasted their very popular gyukatsu (deep-fried beef cutlet). Served rare in the middle with a thin, crunchy layer of breading around it, the lightly...
Clove - Curry: Shinjuku
[Open 11am-9:30pm daily.]
Vegetable-centered Japanese-style curry rice is the specialty at this highly rated counter shop. The four varieties on offer are onion (with chicken or shrimp), lamb with onion, chickpea keema, and the house-special multi-vegetable curry. You can...
Meal Muji - Deli salads: Shinjuku
[Open 11am-9pm (LO) daily.]
Stylishly modern and surprisingly spacious, Meal Muji makes a pleasant retreat from the crowds of Shinjuku's shopping district. The decor is bright and cheerful, with ubiquitous sleek blond wood furnishings set off by clay-colored stucco walls and...
Brooklyn Parlor - Cafe: Shinjuku
[Open 11:30am-11:30pm daily.]
Whether you're here for a dessert break, a casual evening meal, or an afternoon working on your laptop, Brooklyn Parlor supplies a fun, bustling backdrop. Unlike Tokyo's many quiet, hidden-away cafes, here it feels like you've stumbled onto the...
Tiki Tiki - Misc. Southeast Asian: Shinjuku
[Open 5-11pm (LO) daily.]
At Tokyo's original Tiki lounge, wooden masks glower, faux torches blaze, and hula dancers shake it, shake it, baby. The kitsch is ubiquitous, self-aware, and executed with formidable slickness. If you're in the right mood, the bar at Tiki Tiki is...
Marugo - Wine bar: Shinjuku
[Open 5pm-1:30am (LO) daily.]
Choose from about fifteen wines by the glass or bottle, or pick a Latour or Mouton from the back and put it on your expense account. France is amply represented, with biodynamic wines comprising nearly half of the choices on the frequently changing...
Nagi Golden Gai - Ramen: Shinjuku
[Open 24 hours a day.]
Dried baby sardines (niboshi) have been a common ingredient in ramen for many years. It wasn't until recently, though, that ramen chefs began using them in abundance. The tiny fish have a very bitter flavor, and cooking them too long will ruin...
Moto - Sake bar: Shinjuku
[Open 3-11:30pm daily.]
Nihonshu Stand Moto is a very informal bar that specializes in nihonshu, in this case quite a good selection of it at reasonable prices. The food menu is more extensive than you'd expect, dominated by small sake-friendly dishes like smoked mackerel...
Vector Beer - Izakaya: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
[Open 5pm-1am (LO, Sat -11:30). Closed Sundays.]
It may look like just another Tokyo craft-beer bar, but Vector serves up an appealing menu of beef-tongue dishes and other solid izakaya fare, making it a popular dining destination as well as a bar. The charcoal-grilled sumibiyaki tongue (Y980) in...
V.B. Factory - Beer bar: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
[Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Sundays.]
This second outlet of Vector Beer specializes in IPAs - of their seventeen taps, twelve are devoted to various Japanese IPAs on any given day. Glasses are Y450, pints Y750, and three-glass tasting flights are Y1000, with a Y300 table charge that...
Armwood Cottage - Cafe: Shinjuku Gyoen-mae
[Open 11:30am-midnight (Sat 2pm-). Closed Sundays.]
True to its name, the Armwood Cottage is Tokyo's answer to a log cabin in the mountains, with tall concrete buildings standing in for trees. The space is intimate and inviting, dominated by rough wooden surfaces and decorated with rustic kitsch - a...
Musashi - Ramen: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-9:30pm daily.]
The original branch of a famous and very popular ramen chain, this shop usually has a line to get in. In addition to the usual options of toppings, you can also choose the size of your bowl, and whether you want strong or weak broth. The kakuni...
Zoetrope - Bar: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 5-11:45pm (LO). Closed Sundays, some Monday.]
Perhaps the best bar in the world for Japanese whiskey, with some 300 varieties available, including some rare bottles that are no longer sold in stores. They also serve craft beers from Osaka's Minoh Brewery, as well as Japanese rum and grappa and...
Paul Bassett - Coffee shop: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 7:30am-8:30pm daily.]
Excellent espresso - either single-origin or blend - as well as fresh-roasted beans to go from this Tokyo outlet of an Australian World Champion Barista. The coffee counter is located inside a branch of Salvatore Cuomo, so you can have pizza with...
Sangokuichi Island Tower - Udon: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-10:30pm (LO; Sat -10, Sun -9:30) daily.]
Houtou is a hearty winter udon-noodle dish from the mountainous Kofu area of Yamanashi Prefecture, and this is one of the few places in Tokyo where you can find it. The houtou served here is quite substantial, loaded with chunks of chicken,...
Moyan Curry (Omekaido branch) - Curry: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-10:30pm (LO). Closed Saturdays.]
Moyan offers a huge variety of tasty Japanese-style curries and ethnic-style side dishes, along with inexpensive wines and cocktails.
Park Hyatt Delicatessen - Sandwiches/ deli: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-8pm (Sat, Sun -7pm) daily.]
Perhaps the best deli counter in town, with a huge selection of cold cuts, pates and salads. Lunches are priced from around Y1000, and breakfast is served on weekdays from 8 to 10:30am. The outdoor terrace seating is pleasant in warmer months.
Peak Lounge and Bar - Bar: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-10:30pm daily.]
Enjoy chic cocktails in a bamboo grove high in the sky at the Park Hyatt's internationally famous bar and lounge. They also serve afternoon tea, desserts and light snacks. Cocktails start at around Y1600.
Conran Cafe - Cafe: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 10:10am-7pm. Closed Wednedays.]
Attached to the Conran furniture shop, this colorful cafe offers light fare like quiches, salads, croques monsieur sandwiches and cakes along with Chinese teas and Hoegaarden beer. Design books fill the cafe's bookshelves.
Boul'ange - Bakery: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 7:30am-10pm daily.]
This two-story bakery across from Shinjuku station produces top-grade breads, pastries and sandwiches, to eat in (in the upstairs cafe area) or to go. The selection includes interesting Japanese-inspired items like yuzu cheesecake and curry...
Tavern on S - International: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 7am-3:15am (LO) daily.]
Open 21 hours a day and conveniently located next to Shinjuku Station's south exit, this glitzy new bar-restaurant is a fun destination whatever you're looking for - a casual group dinner, a late-night snack or just a quick drink or two at the bar. ...
Verve - Coffee shop: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 8am-10pm daily.]
Conveniently located next to Shinjuku Station's new south exit, this is the first overseas outpost of a California-based coffee roaster with several branches in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The atmosphere is lively, but it's much more relaxed...
Konne - Antenna shop: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-9pm daily.]
Souvenirs, produce and prepared foods from Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu are on sale here, including several types of charcoal-grilled chicken, a specialty of the area. They also stock a good selection of fish cakes, locally made soy sauces, frozen...
Little Delirium - Belgian rest/beer bar: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 11am-11pm daily.]
This mini-branch of one of our favorite Belgian beer bars sits at the Yoyogi end of Southern Terrace; convenient to Shinjuku station but sufficiently removed from the bustling crowds. Despite the small size they boast an excellent beer list, with a...
YYG Brewery - Brewpub: Nishi-Shinjuku
[Open 5-10:30pm (LO; Sat, Sun from noon) daily.]
One of the main attractions at this brewpub is its very comfortable outdoor wooden deck, which looks out over a quiet side street just a few minutes from Shinjuku Station. The beer is pretty good too - when we visited recently they were serving...
Festina Lente - Bar: Okubo
[Open 1pm-4am daily.]
A change of pace from the down-home Korean restaurants and boisterous makkoli bars surrounding it, Festina Lente has ambitions to be a proper cocktail bar. The barman operates his shaker with just the right degree of vigor, and he understands the...
Vivo Daily Stand - Wine bar: Okubo
[Open 9am-2am daily.]
While we love the Korean barbecue joints, Thai restaurants and Middle-Eastern food markets of Okubo, this stylish but budget-friendly wine bar makes a nice change of pace. Wines by the glass are mostly priced at Y500 (a bit cheaper on average than...
Le Pain Quotidien - Bakery: Hatsudai
[Open 7:30am-9:30pm (LO) daily.]
The second Tokyo branch of the internationally famous Belgian organic bakery is open from 7:30am, serving coffee and pastries, salads and tartines - open-face Belgian sandwiches with toppings like smoked salmon-avocado and ham-gruyere cheese. ...
Danke - Beer bar: Hatsudai
[Open 11:30am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO; Sat, Sun 10pm) daily.]
A very lively after-work beer hall, Danke serves a variety of Belgian and German bottled beers and inexpensive wines starting at under Y2000 per bottle. The extensive snack menu offers seasonal pizza variations as well as typical izakaya dishes.