THE BUSINESS DISTRICT OF Toranomon has a lot going for it these days. Besides a catchy name (Toranomon means “Tiger’s Gate” in Japanese), the neighborhood is ringed by the government offices of Kasumigaseki, the financial center of Marunouchi, and the glitzy shopping of Ginza. This year, a four-skyscraper, decade-plus mega-development called Toranomon Hills was completed, adding a new subway station and enough retail, residential, and commercial space to rival any of Tokyo’s better-known hubs.
Naturally, all that action has attracted a bevy of restaurants and bars, including the relocation to Toranomon of well-established culinary powerhouses like Florilège and Nihonryori Kanda. With the F&B scene really heating up, we’ve curated a roundup of some of our favorite hangouts, starting with the neighborhood’s grande dame…
Rooftop Bar at Andaz Tokyo
The opening of this 52nd-floor bar in 2014 marked the start of Toranomon’s transformation. The giddy views of Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge from the soaring-ceilinged, semi-open-air terrace and craft cocktails full of Japanese flavors made the neighborhood worth visiting. Nearly a decade later, hotel guests still have to compete with after-work Tokyoites coming for a bit of live music and the bar’s famous sliders. Pro tip: a carafe of Andaz’s original sake “52,” a junmai ginjo produced in collaboration with 150-year-old Miyagi brewer Niizawa, is designed to pair with sushi but goes strangely well with the bar’s truffle fries too.
This new wave restaurant by Narisawa protégé Keita Kitamura is part of the newly opened TOKYO NODE complex in Toranomon Hills Station Tower and marks the chef’s triumphant return to Japan after years of being pelted with accolades in Paris. Passing the open-air garden and infinity pool on the way in, it’s easy to forget the restaurant is 49 floors up, but the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows in the Noma-esque monotone dining room quickly make it clear. After that, all focus is on the thrilling delicacy of the food, with ingredients sourced from around Japan coaxed into full-throated flavor.
Gold Bar at EDITION
The Tokyo EDITION’s Insta-worthy bar has been a hit with locals since it opened in 2022. While we were initially drawn in by the shiny black and gold interior, we’ve kept coming back for the rock-solid mixology. Inspired by the golden age of cocktails, the menu features elevated versions of the classics. Think punches, sours, and fizzes dolled up for the new millennium and given a Japanese twist. The recently released Two Faces menu adds to the fun with aspects only visible by blacklight. It’s a lot of flash-bang style, but with plenty of substance too.
If beers are more your thing, head to this brewpub collaboration between Japan’s Nihonbashi Brewery and Taiwan’s Sunmai. Both companies have their beers on tap, but the must-try is the jointly brewed Lemon Sour Ale, a light and tangy confection that blends the tart flavor of a Japanese bar classic into a lightly hopped ale. Served over ice, it’s weird, delicious, and deeply refreshing. They also have organic salads sourced from a farm in neighboring Kanagawa to balance out the damage of a boozy night.
Tachigui Sushi Akira
This more casual sister restaurant to perennial fave Sushi Shoryu opened in 2021 and takes sushi back to its fast-food roots. Tachigui means “eating while standing” in Japanese and that’s exactly what it sounds like. Akira serves the same quality of seafood as its high-end sibling but by-the-nigiri at a cramped basement counter for just six. You get in, eat delicious sushi at a fast clip, and get out to make room for the next in line. The lighter-on-the-wallet approach has proved popular, particularly at lunch time, so expect to wait for a chance to belly up. And be sure to check their Instagram for their ever-evolving opening hours.
Tucked into an unassuming corner of the Toranomon Hills Business Tower is Memento Mori, a moody bar with cacao-themed craft cocktails. Put cloyingly sweet chocolate cream liqueurs right out of your mind, though. The cocktails here are more Aztec Xocolatl that Swiss Miss cocoa, with deep complexity and unexpected botanicals. Take the velvety Arequipa, for example. Beet juice and Lapsang Souchong-infused vodka get a bitter-note punch up from fermented cacao syrup and a dusting of Amazon cacao. The menu also includes other far-flung ingredients if chocolate isn’t your thing. The giant water bug G&T is worth a try just for the photo op and bragging rights. And business starts from 2 p.m. for a cheeky afternoon mocktail or parfait.
Kotora Komichi (“Little Tiger Alley”) is the latest in a string of neo-yokochos popping up around Tokyo. Post war, yokocho were hidden alleyways with slap-dash black markets and ramshackle food and drink stands. Most of them have been lost to development, but a renaissance of purpose-built, indoor yokocho is reviving the fun of hopping from booth to booth to try every flavor of regional Japanese soulfood. At Kotora Komichi, you can have a giant sushi roll followed by a Hokkaido lamb skillet and wash it down with Kansai’s famous takoyaki balls, if that’s how you want to roll. The design is over-the-top kitsch, with washi-paper lanterns and brightly lacquered parasols, but after a few carafes of powerful Okinawan awamori, it is the perfect backdrop for a boozy photo shoot.
The newest name on this list opened just a few days ago, the first Asian outpost from Dutch master chef Sergio Herman, whose now-shuttered Oud Sluis attained three Michelin stars. Actually, we should say “outposts” because these restaurants are a Toranomon two-fer: Le Pristine Café Tokyo, a sophisticated casual restaurant, and Le Pristine Tokyo by Sergio Herman, a fine-diner set to meld the essence of one-star Le Pristine in Antwerp with the heart of Japan. Watch this space for more information. Or, if you’re in the neighborhood, it won’t be hard to find, with its, unusual for here, glass-windowed façade abuzz with diners at street level.
The honorable mention in this list goes to this sake-focused modern izakaya located in the neighboring Nishi Azabu district because it’s worth every yen of the short cab ride over. Run by well-known sake sommelier Marie Chiba, the counter restaurant’s ever-changing drinks list is full of hard-to-find artisanal brews as well as popular big names. But even total novices need not fret because the knowledgeable staff are pros as finding customers something they’ll like. Just tell them what you normally imbibe, pick an appetizer from the menu of the day, and they’ll do the rest. We recommend starting with the signature poached egg with squid ink mayonnaise for a moreish morsel with visual impact. We guarantee you’ll leave a sake convert.
Lede and hero image courtesy of Hyatt.