After indulging in 19 days of culinary exploration across Japan, I can confidently declare that my most unforgettable food experience took place at Narisawa restaurant in Tokyo. Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa has consistently earned a well-deserved spot on Asia’s 50-best list since 2013 and holds two coveted Michelin stars. His innovative Satoyama cuisine optimizes fine dining while symbolizing a harmonious relationship between nature and man. Chef has been called the pioneer of farm-to-table in Japan.

What sets Narisawa apart is it is excellent in every area, and it was a very unique dining experience. Unlike the eccentricity often found at restaurants that forage, like Noma in Copenhagen or Vespertine in Los Angeles, Narisawa delivers a dining experience that is both visually stunning and profoundly inspiring. The food is totally edible and extremely enjoyable, and not theatrical or trying to push the boundaries where the food becomes comical. (This is meant more for Vespertine) Every dish exudes intense flavours, showcasing the culinary finesse and technical precision that Chef Narisawa and his team bring to their creations.

At Narisawa, they offer an omakase-style meal to each guest but are more than willing to customize it to accommodate any allergies, or dietary restrictions you might have.

The restaurant’s interior reflects a modern, simple, minimalist design, deliberately devoid of objects or art. With no background music or distracting scents- you are even asked not to wear cologne- the focus is entirely on the cuisine and the conversation with your dining companion. Here, the food itself is the art.

Narisawa’s well-spaced tables provide ample privacy, the restaurant houses only six tables in total allowing the guests to have a clear view of the open kitchen. Surprisingly, there were no discernible smells from the kitchen, a testament to the kitchen’s exhaust, precision, and cleanliness.

The highly trained staff, very proficient in English, ensures you fully understand the description of each dish, further enhancing your experience.

Narisawa is not just a restaurant, it’s a culinary journey where nature meets innovation, and every dish tells a story. It is an oasis of refined tastes and visual delight in the heart of Tokyo.

This extraordinary restaurant embodies the essence of produce-driven, modern Japanese fine dining. The chef’s extensive training under some of the 20th Century’s most iconic culinary figures, including two years at Giradet, and working at Joel Robuchon, is a testament to his exceptional pedigree. His culinary background spans French, Swiss, and Italian kitchens, and he has embraced the philosophy of the terroir, inspired by the land and sea and its natural bounty.

What truly sets this restaurant apart is its deep commitment to environmental sustainability, as evidenced by its prestigious green Michelin star. The chef’s dedication to sourcing ingredients from the forests, mountains, and sea, creates a menu that showcases every essence of nature. One striking example is the “bread of the forest” course, where diners can witness the raw dough rising before their eyes, culminating in a unique and unforgettable culinary experience later in the meal.

The menu was heavily focused on fish and seafood, when we dined there, with offerings like squid from Kanagawa, and shrimp from Hokkaido. The seabass and rice from Kyoto, the tilefish and Spanish mackerel from Fukuoka, and an exceptional piece of beef was from Kumamoto. The mention of Japanese beef alone evoked the highest standard of quality. The chef’s willingness to accommodate dietary preferences, allergies, and restrictions, including offering vegan and vegetarian choices, is a testament to the restaurant’s exceptional level of service and attention to the guest’s experience. Most restaurants in Japan are not so accommodating.

The restaurant’s extensive wine list, featuring Japanese selections, rare vintage wines, and sake, is impressive. The availability of unique pairing options, from sake to wine, to a combination of both, is a thoughtful touch that elevates the dining experience. Notably, the ability to order a 2013 Dom Perignon by the glass reflects the chef’s role as a Dom Perignon advisor, while the inclusion of non-alcoholic pairings or by the glass underscores a commitment to catering to all tastes. After my glass of champagne, I enjoyed a refreshing shiso drink.

The exquisite desserts were nothing short of perfection. Each sweet creation was a testament to Chef Narisawa’s dedication to showcasing the finest regional ingredients. From the large, fragrant muscat grapes sourced from Yamagata, and the luscious melons from Shizuoka, to the matcha delights from Monaka Toyama, the desserts were a symphony of flavours and textures that provided a delightful conclusion to an already remarkable dining experience. The desserts not only highlighted the chef’s commitment to using the best that Japan has to offer but also demonstrated a mastery of creating sweet delicacies that perfectly complemented the meal.

There was meticulous attention to every detail and a harmonious fusion of flavours and techniques. Chef’s farm-to-table movement and creations harmonize with the landscape, the food, the producers, and the people. The service was nothing short of excellent. The evening unfolds like a well-orchestrated ballet, with attentiveness and professionalism, that enhance the overall experience. Dining here was a sensory journey, leaving a lasting impression.

The chef’s personal touch, as he bid us farewell at the door, and provided a thoughtful take-home treat, adds a warm and personal dimension to the evening. Dining here was like embarking on a gastronomic journey across Japan, with premium ingredients sourced from various regions across the country. It was an unforgettable experience that I will cherish for years to come.

Highly recommend!

Happy dining,





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