Maggie Beer's Tokyo restaurant guide

On her trip to Tokyo, Maggie was on a quest to eat at some of the most talked about restaurants in Japan. 

Japan has some of the greatest chefs in the world, and hundreds of really good restaurants, but I only had time to eat at three.

My first adventure was to Nodaiwa. This renowned restaurant serves the best grilled eel, cooked by the 87-year-old master Kanejiro Kanemoto. I have never had eel like this.

Served in a square bento box, the meal included the unaju (grilled fillet of eel) served over rice with some radish, pickles and a soup with eel liver.

The building itself is also a masterpiece; brought from Hida-Takayama in Gifu prefecture, which is famous for gassho-zukuri- style architecture, akin to farmhouses with massive, dark wooden beams and thatched roofs. The Nodaiwa structure was actually dismantled and then hauled down to Tokyo and reassembled piece-by-piece, right beside the modern skyscrapers.

I also had the privilege of visiting the famed Shirosaka restaurant in the Akasaka district. Chef Hideki Ii made me a special meal and did me a great honour.

He knew of my reputation for pate and my love of chicken, so he treated me to a meal in which he used absolutely every part of a chicken, including a very different style of pate that was so tasty. 

I ate grilled chicken with wilted pea sprouts, fried leeks and spicy miso, grilled chicken with wilted kale, pate and smoked chicken hearts, and twice cooked chicken daikon wings. The smoked hearts were the highlight, and the charcoal grilling. I feel a new version of pate coming on.

For a classy Yakitori try Bird Land, but there are many more excellent yakitoris. Beware though; these restaurants are often booked out way ahead, so make a decision early, even before you leave home.

And of course if you want some great food, but more Aussie style, Terra Australis is definitely worth a go and, as a bonus, the owner, Koji Fukada, makes excellent coffee.

I also have a great friend at La Playa, a Spanish restaurant in Tokyo, if you find yourself craving something more European while in town.

And for your last treat, forget about eating and head to what is called 'kitchen town'. Kappabashi Street is huge and all the shops sell equipment for cooking, absolutely anything any Japanese chef, or you, might require.

Don't miss Maggie Beer in Japan on Lifestyle, starting on August 2 at 8:30pm

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