Updated: December 13, 2018
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Chikuyotei In Ginza, Tokyo, For Great Unagi (Softwater Eel)

Ginza

For some delicious unagi (softwater eel) in Tokyo, served in a beautiful setting, try Chikuyotei in Ginza. The restaurant has a history of over 100 years!

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Chikuyotei

When visiting Japan, one of the must-try traditional foods is "unagi" or Japanese freshwater eel. Dipped many times in a slightly sweet soy-based sauce and broiled slowly on skewers, unagi has an irresistible crisp outer texture and soft inside. It is packed with vitamins and minerals too and contains more oil than the saltwater eel, which gives it a richer taste.

One place in Tokyo that you can't go wrong with when it comes to great-tasting unagi at a reasonable price is Chikuyotei in Ginza. The restaurant literally dates back from the samurai era of Japan (it opened in 1851!), so you get unagi done the most traditional way in the quaintest setting there is.
Even though the restaurant is located in the chic and modern Ginza district, the restaurant has essentially a traditional interior with its tatami rooms, low tables, and simple flower arrangements that change with the seasons as decoration.

Note that the restaurant also has some western style tables if sitting on the floor the traditional way is not what you want to do. Just let the staff know your preference.

Menu

You can get the unagi-don for ¥3,240, taxes included. It consists of unagi, perfectly cooked with Chikuyotei's secret tare sauce, simply place over a bowl of rice. It comes with some pickled vegetables and a light-tasting soup that contains the eel's liver.
If you want to have something a little more luxurious, you can opt for the "unagi-ju" for ¥3,888. This one is served in a lacquered rectangular box and contains more unagi than the unagi-don. It also has the soup and vegetables as side dishes.
The "umaki tamago" omelette rolls are also a popular item. They are Japanese-style savoury omelettes (dashi soup stock are added to them) with some unagi at their center! An order of this is ¥1,836.
If you are willing to pay about ¥6,000, you can have an exquisite, elaborate set meal that comes with unagi but also all kinds of traditional small side dishes.
Unagi is best-known cooked while being dipped intermittently in a tare sauce, but it is not always prepared that way. An alternative you can try is the "shiroyaki" which means that it is simply grilled as is without the sauce. Salted lightly, you get to taste the natural umami of the unagi. The shiroyaki is ¥2,376.
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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