5 Faves: Restaurant Review Websites

A friend of mine in Okinawa asked me the other day “Where do you find all of the places you eat at in Tokyo? They’re not in my guidebook!”

Ahh, friends. Let me clue you in on a little secret. I. Love. Food.

Sure, it took me a while to come to this point in my life. Between crazy diet ideas (the fat-free teenage years) and financial insolubility, I’ve only recently begun to partake in some of the finer things in life. But oh, are they fine and so worth the trouble to seek out.

Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

When I know I am heading to one of Japan’s major cities, I’m on my computer in a  heartbeat, visiting my favorite food bloggers and writers for the can’t-miss tables that aren’t in the tour books. And now, thanks to these five faves, you can be eating the best meal of your life too:

  1. The Japan Times Food Page – Alright, full disclosure. I write (freelance) for the Japan Times. But not for the food section. That work is done by a talented group of gourmets who are much more adept at describing a meal than I would ever be. I check here every Friday to see what they’ve stumbled across lately. There’s always a good mix of Japanese variety (tonkatsu, ramen, kaiseki) and international fare.
  2. Toyko Food File – Piggybacking off of #1, this is the personal blog of Robbie Swinnerton, the main food critic of the Japan Times. Sure, he repeats himself here if you’ve already read his biweekly column (but he does it with tons of beautiful pictures), but he also adds in other discoveries and favorites.
  3. Bento.com – I could (and have) spent hours perusing this site dedicated to all things food in Japan. There are loads of suggestions for large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, divided handily into individual neighborhoods. The maps are fairly detailed as well, and some of the suggestions come with article-length reviews.
  4. Deep Kyoto – This blog is a myriad of things – event notifier, call to social justice, personal account – written by a longtime Kyoto resident. There’s a lot to peruse but if food is your goal, click on the Restaurants Category for over 60 suggestions of eateries in the city.
  5. Finding Fukuoka – Not many blogs focus on my end of Japan, so it was refreshing to stumble across this Kyushu-based guide written by a longtime expat. The author previously resided in Osaka and wrote a (paper) guidebook to that city and its cuisine as well. Now happily domiciled in Fukuoka, he’s doing the same for the western part of the isles.

4 thoughts on “5 Faves: Restaurant Review Websites

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    1. The top pic was the seasonal appetizer plate from Giro Giro in Kyoto, with things like shrimp with ginko nuts and a spring roll with lotus root and onion sauce. The bottom picture is a baked turnip, the signature dish of L’Effervescence in Tokyo. Both were delicious! 🙂

  1. Thanks for putting this together–I’ve been using bento.com for a while, but it’s great to have a couple alternatives.

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