Yotsuya 3-chome: Tempura
Itoi (Yotsuya 3-chome: Tempura)
Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
no smoking: No smoking

We first noticed this charming hole-in-the-wall drinking spot thanks to the prominent display of their daily sake menu on their front wall. Although they're not a sake specialist, their selection of a dozen or so craft sake is carefully chosen, and sake is served in smaller 90ml and 120ml glasses, so you can try a few different types over the course of a visit.

The food menu focuses on tempura, a dish more often found in brightly lit traditional counter shops rather than casual bars like this. Basic skewers such as prawns, anago eel and vegetables and are priced at Y150-200, supplemented by more deluxe, original items like coriander prawn kakiage. Whlie we found the skewers to be more on the oily side than at some counter shops, the fresh, clean flavors of the basic ingredients still came shining through.

The atmosphere here is very laid-back, with a young staff and customer base. One or two skateboards are parked in front, and an eclectic mix of reggae, rock and Beastie Boys plays on the sound system. Although this seems to be only a two-man operation, they generally manage to keep up with orders even when the place is full. Budget anywhere from Y2000-3500 depending on how long you stay.

Yotsuya 3-chome
Shinjuku-ku, Funamachi 5.

Tokyo Beyond Sushi - the guidebook
Tokyo Beyond Sushi
Explore the hidden side of Tokyo dining
Charcoal-grilled pork on skewers, udon noodles in curry-flavored soup, octopus dumplings, deep-fried beef cutlet -- there's a whole world of exciting food in Tokyo that food-loving visitors often miss out on.

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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended