The thick udon noodles here are served in a rich, very tasty curry-flavored broth, and served with shrimp tempura, bananas or mochi (rice cakes).
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-1-25, Tobu Spice 11F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Daidaiya serves up innovative fusion cuisine drawing on Korean, other Asian and Italian influences - their "modern" sushi variations are especially interesting. Smaller than most, the Ikebukuro branch is snazzily decorated and it offers views of Western Ikebukuro. Lunch is served till 4pm.
The fish here is absolutely fresh, caught from big pools at the center of the wrap-around counter. Full-course dinners are Y5000-12,600, and lunches start at Y1260. Fugu is available in season.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-10-10, Spice 2 Bldg. B1F. Open 11am-4:30, 4:30-11pm daily.
Beef tongue is the main ingredient in the kitchen at Rikyu, where it's transformed into well over a dozen different dishes, from tongue sausages, meatballs, and terrines to curries and Western-style stews. The piece de resistance though is the excellent charcoal-grilled tongue - a popular regional specialty of Sendai, where this small chain restaurant originates. The menu is rounded out by creative and original izakaya fare, with a nice selection of Sendai-area sake to wash it all down. [See FULL REVIEW
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-12-1, Esola Ikebukuro 7F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Many varieties of paella (from Y3200 for a two-person portion), Spanish standards, and Spanish wines from Y1900 per bottle.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
This department-store branch of the popular Sendagaya cafe serves Neapolitan-style pizzas, gourmet burgers, salads and lots of market-fresh vegetable dishes. Budget around Y1000 for lunch, Y2000 for dinner.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Nagoya cochin, an heirloom breed of chicken prized for its flavor, is the main bird here, in the form of yakitori, fried chicken wings, nabe-style stews, and a fantastic version of oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice). They also use a different specialty breed called Mikawadori, which has a lower fat content than average, for their very crunchy and tasty deep-fried karaage chicken. Nagoya cochin, an heirloom breed of chicken prized for its flavor, is the main bird here, in the form of yakitori, fried chicken wings, nabe-style stews, and a fantastic version of oyakodon (chicken and egg over rice). They also use a different specialty breed called Mikawadori, which has a lower fat content than average, for their very crunchy and tasty deep-fried karaage chicken.
Among Keishoan's side dishes, the root-vegetable salad is highly recommended. "Salad" doesn't really describe this dish adequately - it's simply a collection of steamed vegetables like cauliflower and lotus root and pumpkin served with steamed chicken-breast meat and a spicy mentaiko dip. Part of Lumine department store's Ikeresu restaurant complex, Keishoan has a pleasant decor, with a few tables that offer a view of west Ikebukuro. Budget around Y2500 at dinnertime for food and drink. [Show more] [Show less]
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Good, very affordable Thai cuisine from the popular Tokyo-based Tinun chain; budget around Y1300 for food at dinnertime, or Y900 for lunch.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Harvest provides a natural-foods buffet with more than sixty different mostly Japanese-style dishes, including lots of vegetables. The price is Y1888 at dinnertime and Y1573 at lunchtime.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro 9F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Accessible Thai cuisine buffet service from the Bangkok-based Coca chain. The lunch buffet is Y1600 and is served from 11am-3pm (last order at 2pm; 90-minute limit). At dinnertime the price is Y2100, with service from 5-10pm (120-minute limit). Between 3 and 5pm you can order a smaller Y800 lunch set or pancakes.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-11-1, Lumine Ikebukuro Ikeresu 9F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Well worth the long hike from the station; they offer an excellent selection of wines from around the world at discount prices, as well as liquor and some cheeses and imported foods.
Ikebukuro 2-68-5. Open 10am-10pm daily.
(Middle Eastern). 3981-8293
Syrian cuisine; prix-fixe dinner menus from Y2800, or a la carte.
Ikebukuro 2-58-8, TO Bldg 2F. Open 5pm-midnight. Closed Mondays.
Very authentic Thai cooking served in a modest little shop. They also run a small Thai grocery store across the street.
From the owner of Al Flah supermarket, an authentic Pakistani restaurant popular with Pakistani customers. All meats are halal, and curries average Y800-900.
Ikebukuro 2-63-6, Palace Garden Milano 1F. Open 11:30am-10pm (LO) daily.
(Okinawan). 3971-5061, 5396-4866
This is Okinawan food as haute cuisine, with a good number of special Royal-style dishes in addition to the usual champuru stir-fries. Recommended dishes are the minudaru (tender roast pork with a sesame-based sauce), the rather lean rafti (braised pork), the Okinawan soba and the excellent peanut tofu. There's a short nightly performance of Okinawan dance at 8:30. Prices are a bit higher than the typical Okinawan izakaya; budget around Y6000 for dinner and drinks.
Ikebukuro 2-45-1, Ark City Ikebukuro B1F. Open 5:30-10:45pm (LO). Closed Sundays, holidays.
This large late-night bar offers an excellent selection of beers from around the world, including some very nice US microbrews, at decent prices. The happy hour from 6-8pm is an especially good deal, with many drinks half-price. The extensive food menu offers varied international fare such as Buffalo chicken wings, tacos, pork chops, pizzas and pastas.
(Misc. Southeast Asian). 3590-3170
Billing themselves as an "Oriental Bistro," this late-night drinking spot serves Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian fare at very reasonable prices. The front of the restaurant is open to the street during the warmer months of the year, adding to the festive atmosphere. Open until 8am (Sunday nights until 5am). Budget around Y2000-3000 for food and drink.
A leftover from the days before Nishi-Ikebukuro went relatively upscale. Delicious curries and ambitiously tacky decor. On weekends there's a good lunch buffet.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-26-5. Open 11am-2:30, 5-10:30pm (LO). Closed Tuesdays.
It's not fancy, but with its reliable food and very reasonable prices, this small yakitori chain offers good value for money.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-30-4. Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Sundays, Mondays.
Well-prepared Malay and Malay-Chinese dishes.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 3-22-6. Open 11am-2, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
One of the best places in town to buy Chinese groceries, from fresh fish and vegetables to frozen and dried foods, seasonings and liquor.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-28-6, Yamato Sangyo Bldg 4F. Open 10am-midnight daily.
A multi-story ethnic supermarket covering all your Taiwanese-ingredient needs, from fermented bean curd and dried tangerine peel to fresh vegetables and frozen dim sum.
Nishi-Ikebukuro 1-37-2. Open 11am-11:30pm daily.
"Borderless cuisine" is the ambitious specialty at this tiny (8-seat) eatery run by three veterans of El Bulli in Spain. The Y12,000 (+10%), eight-course tasting menu draws on local, seasonal ingredients, and includes drinks (one beer and four wines). "Borderless cuisine" is the ambitious specialty at this tiny (8-seat) eatery run by three veterans of El Bulli in Spain. The Y12,000 (+10%), eight-course tasting menu draws on local, seasonal ingredients, and includes drinks (one beer and four wines).
The restaurant's unlikely setting is a former storage warehouse in the western edge of Ikebukuro, next to Kanamecho station. By reservation only. [Show more] [Show less]
Nishi-Ikebukuro 5-25-2, B1F. Open 6:30-11pm. Closed Sundays.
The highlight of this mid-sized prefectural antenna shop is probably their big selection of Miyagi-ken sake - some fifty or sixty varieties on sale in the second-floor liquor area. Down on the ground floor you'll find lots of natto, pouches of tongue stew and tongue curry, and a small beef-tongue restaurant at the back of the shop.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-2-2, Higashi-Ike Bldg 1/2F. Open 11am-8pm daily.
(Liquor shop). 3980-2977
Discount wines and liquors, with some cheeses and other imported foods.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-43-6, D-Box 1F. Open 10am-10pm daily.
Bottled craft beers and Swedish-style calzones are served at this small neighborhood bar; you'll also find wine, steak tacos and quesadillas. Note that on some nights they don't open until 7:30pm or so.
Five of Tokyo's most popular Japanese curry shops are assembled in this casual one-stop destination, where you can try their curries individually or in various combinations. A set of all five curries is priced at Y2600.
Minami-Ikebukuro 1-28-1, Seibu Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Run by the well-known (and always crowded) Midori-sushi chain, this conveyor-belt sushi shop is perhaps even more popular than the parent chain, with very long lines at mealtimes, especially on weekends. The selection is budget-priced and includes a number of interesting vegetable sushi options.
Minami-Ikebukuro 1-28-1, Seibu Ikebukuro 8F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Excellent Nagoya-style grilled unagi eel is served here, grilled over only the finest binchotan charcoal and served with their own special low-salt tamari sauce. Hitsumabushi (a traditional Nagoya serving style) menus are Y3150-5900 at dinnertime; lunch is Y1480-2380.
Minami-Ikebukuro 1-28-2, Ikebukuro Parco 8F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
The smallest of the four Hokkaido antenna shops in Tokyo, this branch is located at the north end of the ISP underground shopping complex next to Ikebukuro station. There's the usual dried fish, frozen seafood and dairy products, along with various flavors of ramen and soup curry, and novelty caramel candies in flavors like Hokkaido butter, condensed milk, melon and corn.
Minami-Ikebukuro 1-29-1, Ikebukuro Shopping Park North Wing B1F. Open 10am-8:30pm (Sun -8pm) daily.
This popular Osaka-based shop lets you cook your own kushiage skewers in a deep-fryer right at your table. It's all you can eat, including various side dishes and a big variety of skewered tidbits. Y2625 per person at dinnertime, with a 90-minute limit.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-5-7, Labi 1 Ikebukuro 7F. Open 11am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Good food and service and a lively atmosphere. Cheap lunch specials (Y680 including coffee).
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-7-10. Open noon-2:30, 6-10pm (LO) daily.
Accessible California cuisine - gourmet pizzas and interesting takes on American standards like meatloaf and Cajun chicken.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-21-13, Ore Ikebukuro 12F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Ganko's shio ramen uses a closely guarded family recipe. If the soup isn't perfect on a particular day they might be closed.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-13-12. Open 11:30am-3, 6-10pm daily.
(Beer bar). 3987-1588
The amply punctuated Vivo! Beer + Dining Bar serves interesting beers and foods from around the world. There are some twenty beers on tap, including local brews like Yona Yona real ale on draft and Baird Beers from Numazu; there are also plenty of Belgian and German beers by the bottle.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-20-5, B1F. Open 6pm-3am (LO) daily.
The welcoming staff and softly lit, comfortable atmosphere make Nekorobi a popular destination. So popular, in fact, customers may encounter a wait on weekends. For Y1000, you'll get an hour with the cats, unlimited drinks from the vending machine (coffee, cocoa, royal milk tea, etc.), and complimentary cookies. The welcoming staff and softly lit, comfortable atmosphere make Nekorobi a popular destination. So popular, in fact, customers may encounter a wait on weekends. For Y1000, you'll get an hour with the cats, unlimited drinks from the vending machine (coffee, cocoa, royal milk tea, etc.), and complimentary cookies.
You can use the Nintendo Wii or surf the Internet, but most people opt for a long play session with one of the eleven cuddly cats, most of whom can be found lounging on the tall cat tower, nestled into a cushy beanbag, or sharpening their claws on wicker seats that look like giant sombreros.
The clientele is a mix of couples, women, and men of all ages. Although some of the cats were purchased for the cafe, several were rescued or adopted. The cats have free rein of the space, but cages are there for troublemakers. The list of rules in Japanese and English ensures that guests stay out of trouble as well. [Show more] [Show less]
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-28-1, Tact T-O Bldg 3F. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Moyan offers a huge variety of tasty Japanese-style curries and ethnic-style side dishes, along with inexpensive wines and cocktails. [Go to branch review]
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-28-3, Ishikawa Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-10:30pm (LO) daily.
The funky basement space and sixties-jazz soundtrack give this cozy little izakaya the relaxed atmosphere of a neighborhood drinking spot. The food menu offers good, solid fare - down-to-earth rather than fancy, and especially strong in daily fish specials, seasonal vegetables and grilled pork dishes. The main reason to come here, though, is the impressive sake list - several dozen labels from small regional breweries, often including multiple varieties from the same brewery. The funky basement space and sixties-jazz soundtrack give this cozy little izakaya the relaxed atmosphere of a neighborhood drinking spot. The food menu offers good, solid fare - down-to-earth rather than fancy, and especially strong in daily fish specials, seasonal vegetables and grilled pork dishes.
The main reason to come here, though, is the impressive sake list - several dozen labels from small regional breweries, often including multiple varieties from the same brewery. Sake is served either in 1-go tokkuri or by the 100ml glass, so you can put together your own tasting flights and sample a good assortment of brews over the course of an evening.
In addition to the regular sake menu there's a page of seasonal, limited-edition specials, a small but respectable shochu list, and an intriguing display of colorful fruit liqueurs in glass jars. At lunchtime Zaian draws in the crowds with their famous spicy udon noodle dish, Shisen Tantanmen, which has been featured in numerous magazines. Budget around Y4000-5000 in the evening for ample food and drink; cash only. [Show more] [Show less]
The draws here are the great tsukemen noodles, herb-grilled pork, and a sweet fish-pork blend soup that incorporates blueberries and other fruit.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 1-32-2. Open 11am-11pm daily.
Spicy chicken wings, yakitori and Nagoya miso specialties.
At first glance it looks like just another cheap and cheerful budget izakaya - unpretentious rustic decor, bouncy J-Pop background music, enthusiastic young staff and boisterous after-work drinkers. But then you notice that, unlike most izakaya, the walls here are decorated with giant photos of farms, farmers, and free-range chickens going about their business. A quick look at the menu confirms that they do indeed take their food seriously here at Tsukada Farm - focusing heavily on top-grade Miyazaki chicken as well as many other regional delicacies from southern Kyushu. [See FULL REVIEW
Minami-Ikebukuro 2-16-8. Open 5-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Scrumptious fried chicken wings, yakitori, chicken sashimi and much more.
A very stylish cafe on an Ikebukuro backstreet; they serve cocktails and a limited snack menu as well as coffee and tea. This is also headquarters for the hip toy company Roughtoyz.
Minami-Ikebukuro 2-14-12. Open noon-10:30pm (LO) daily.
A branch of the famous Hakata ramen chain, featuring thin, slightly chewy noodles in a pork-based broth ("red" or "white"), with or without extra chashu. You can add your own freshly grated garlic.
One of Nagoya's most popular izakaya chains, Yamachan serves regional delicacies such as spicy fried chicken wings and miso-based stews, all at very reasonable prices.
Minami-Ikebukuro 1-16-20, Nukariya Bldg B1F. Open 5-11:30pm (LO) daily.
Relatively inexpensive meats and produce, 24 hours a day.
Minami-Ikebukuro 3-9-5. Open 24 hours a day.
(Beer bar). 5927-9733
Pleasantly modern in its decor, Pump Craft Beer Bar is quieter and more low-key than the other craft beer bars in Ikebukuro, offering a decent selection of both imports and domestic beers from its ten taps, along with a fairly ordinary pub menu and a rock music soundtrack. Perhaps the most appealing feature is its closeness to Tanakaya (at Mejiro station), one of Tokyo's best retailers for imported craft beers, making it easy to drop in here for a pint after doing some serious beer shopping.
Minami-Ikebukuro 3-8-3. Open 5-11:30pm. Closed Mondays.
Sunshine City, Alpa
Excellent pastries and breads to go from this French bakery, or you can relax with a cup of coffee or tea and a snack in the cafe area. There are a few outdoor tables for when the weather permits. The bakery is open from 8am.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-2, Sunshine City Alpa 1F. Open 11am-9pm (LO) daily.
This wine bar with a view offers lunches from Y1500 and prix-fixe dinner menus from Y5000. The all-French wine list is quite extensive, ranging from Y4,000 - 99,000 per bottle.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-1, Sunshine 60, 59F. Open 11am-11:30pm daily.
A branch of the original Joe's Shanghai in NYC, known for their first-rate shoronpo (xiaolongbao) and other dumplings. Budget around Y1500 for lunch, Y5000 at dinnertime.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-1, Sunshine 60, 59F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-9pm (LO) daily.
A well-stocked wine shop with a decent cheese selection. There's a pretty good selection of wines by the glass at the tiny, five-seat bar area.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-2, Sunshine City Alpa 1F. Open 10am-10pm daily.
Around a dozen famous gyoza shops from around the country are gathered here in this unusual dumpling-centered theme park inside the very noisy Namja Town game center. (Weekdays tend to be quieter.) Portions are small so you can try several different types, choosing from the picture menus at each stall. Around a dozen famous gyoza shops from around the country are gathered here in this unusual dumpling-centered theme park inside the very noisy Namja Town game center. (Weekdays tend to be quieter.) Portions are small so you can try several different types, choosing from the picture menus at each stall.
Adjacent to the gyoza zone is "Ice Parlor," offering fifty types of ice cream, in flavors like basil, musk melon, avocado, beef tongue, crab and Indian curry. Order a set of six mini-scoops for Y360 or a bit more depending on the flavor. (Y500 separate admission to get into Namja Town.) [Show more] [Show less]
Agio call themselves a "market restaurant," and serve delicious grilled fish and meat and brick-oven-baked pizzas.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-2, Sunshine City Alpa 3F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
This budget chain serves two kinds of Nagasaki-style noodles - sara-udon (crisp fried ramen noodles topped with vegetables, pork and seafood in a thick sauce), and Nagasaki champon (similar to the above but in a pork-based soup). Side dishes include gyoza dumplings (regular, cheese, and mentaiko-cheese) and fried rice.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 3-1-3, World Import Mart Bldg B1F. Open 10am-10pm daily.
The second branch of this popular ethnic restaurant, located just above Higashi-Ikebukuro station, serves up Malay and Malay-Chinese dishes at very reasonable prices. Some specialties include their satay skewers, chicken rice, nasi goreng and Chinese braised pork. Open all afternoon on Sundays.
Higashi-Ikebukuro 4-6-12. Open 11am-2:15, 5-10:15 (LO) daily.
The specialized sake selection at this small neighborhood izakaya is beyond reproach, while the food menu is notable for its sake-infused dishes such as ginjo-steamed chicken with apricots and wasabi as well as more standard pub fare. Budget around Y2500-4000 for food and drink.
Kita-Otsuka 1-33-25. Open 6pm-midnight. Closed Mondays.
Cheeses, pates and other snacks are just Y400, while wine ranges from Y500-700 per glass at this casual neighborhood wine bar.
Although it looks like an old-fashioned izakaya inside, Bakushuan serves a modern selection of ten Japanese and US craft beers on tap in addition to its very respectable sake list. The food menu is well above average for a beer bar, featuring sake-friendly nibbles and oysters prepared in various ways.
Lunch Y1,500-5,000. Dinner Y3,500-Y8,000. "Pub time" starts at 9pm, with a limited a la carte food menu.
Kita-Otsuka 2-3-12. (north exit and turn left -- it's along the tracks) Open 11:30am-2:30, 6-9pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
The top-level seasonal Japanese nabe stews here are served in private tatami rooms and come with a serious pricetag. The menu changes almost monthly and is priced at 17,000-19,000; from November through March you'll also find a complete fugu menu (Y25,000 per person).
Minami-Otsuka 1-51-14. Open 5-7:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Tokyo has no shortage of good yakitori shops, but Souten really stands out from the the crowd thanks to the quality of both their chicken and their craft sake. The entrance sports an extra-large sugidama (cedar ball) - always a promise of good sake within - and the list here doesn't disappoint. Nor does the food - they serve only the finest free-range chicken and other birds in season, prepared by a master of the grill. [See FULL REVIEW
Minami-Otsuka 3-39-13. Open 5:30-11pm. Closed Mondays.
A charming, unassuming converted coffee shop where every surface is covered by bric-a-brac - spice jars, tea-making equipment, musical instruments, wooden carvings of horses, and the like. The food menu here is dominated by lamb dishes, such as nicely seasoned, spicy kebabs (Y1000 for 3); a richly flavored lamb and vegetable stew; garlicky lamb dumplings; and a shabu-shabu hotpot dish. There's a live performance of traditional Mongolian music every night at 8pm. [See FULL REVIEW
Sengoku 4-11-9. Open 6-9:45pm (LO) daily.
Inexpensive bakery and deli items and salads from the famous no-brand design store Mujirushi. The surprisingly spacious interior features floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the street.
Sugamo 1-16-8, Atre Vie Sugamo 3F. Open 10am-9pm (LO) daily.
Great sake, from a list that changes every week, at this local, hole-in-the-wall drinking spot. You'll find bottles from small breweries that are seldom seen in retail shops, and the staff are ready with suggestions. The food menu is simple, and designed to support the sake.
Sugamo 1-18-1. Open 5:30pm-midnight (LO) daily.
The thick udon noodles here are served in a rich, very tasty curry-flavored broth, and served with shrimp tempura, bananas or mochi (rice cakes).
Sugamo 3-37-1. Open 11am-7:30pm (LO) daily.
This spacious basement shop near Mejiro station is one of the best liquor shops in town. It's certainly number one when it comes to its selection of American microbrew beers, with dozens and dozens of brews that we haven't found anywhere else. They also stock an impressive choice of Japanese micros and Belgian craft beers, sake and awamori, Calvados and liqueurs and plenty more. Cash only.
Mejiro 3-4-14. (on Mejiro-dori just a few seconds west of Mejiro station) Open 11am-8pm. Closed Sundays.