advertisement

I'm including this all-purpose restaurant not because it serves great food, but because it's been an Asakusa institution since 1880 and, attracting a largely working-class and elderly Japanese crowd, has a down-home atmosphere that has all but died out in sophisticated Tokyo. Plus, ordering is easy due to plastic-food display cases and it gives a choice of both Japanese and Western food (the Japanese food is better). For the full immersion, there's a bar on the first floor that is smoky and often boisterous (no intimate cubicles here) and is famous for its Denki Bran, a concoction of brandy, gin, wine, vermouth, Curacao, and herbs (¥260 for a glass). The second floor serves yoshoku (the Japanese interpretation of Western food), like hamburger steak, crab croquette, spaghetti, fried shrimp, and fried chicken, while the third floor is the place to go for everything from sashimi and udon noodles to yakitori and tempura, as well as kaiseki lunches and, with advance reservations, dinners.