I can’t imagine anything better than eating a bowl of hot ramen for just $10 in a Michelin Star restaurant. Seems pretty impossible, right? In 2015, Tsuta was the first affordable restaurant in Tokyo to receive one Michelin Star. People from all over the world came to taste Tokyo’s most delicious (and some of the cheapest) ramen noodles, which made the restaurant incredibly popular. We too wanted to sample the exquisite ramen dishes, so we tried our luck first thing in the morning when we queued for a ticket, which was meant to guarantee entry to the establishment some time later during the same day. We started our adventure at 6:30 AM, so you can imagine the dedication that went into visiting this restaurant. We stayed in a hotel in Chiyoda, quite far from Toshima where Tsuta is located, but the pursuit of the best ramen motivated us to wake up at 4 AM and start our culinary quest.
At lunch time, we started queuing in front of Tsuta yet again, this time to claim our seat in the establishment. Everything was incredibly well organised and in the spirit of the Japanese efficiency, everyone seemed to have gone in, eat quickly and leave. No chatter, no hanging around. This was an in and out food experience which we actually loved, a total contrast from any fancy Michelin restaurant we have visited before. Nobody was dressed in expensive suits, the chefs were not there to decorate the food either. Tsuta was all about good and cheap food. It’s rare to come across such great combination, especially from a Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo.
Ramen is a Japanese dish which consists of wheat noodles served in a meat - or fish-based broth, often flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as chāshū (slices of pork), nori (dried seaweed), menma (bamboo) and negi (spring onion). Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, but as we were about to learn, no one perfected this dish better than Tsuta.
Once we ordered our ramens, we couldn’t wait to finally dig in and allow our taste buds to reach nirvana. The ramen noodles were cooked to perfection, the base was fantastic and the meat was as tender as it gets. I wanted to move next door to Tsuta and experience their divine ramen on a daily basis, ideally for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Tokyo is well known for good food, and it’s so exciting to see that small business can make it too, providing they are passionate about offering quality to their guests. We saw how the chef prepared the food. You could see the love that went into the creation of each delicious meal. They all say ramen is good for the soul, but on this occasion, I learned that Tsuta pours the soul into the ramen.
It has been a year since we’ve visited Tokyo and we can’t wait to go back in April, and enjoy even more of Japan. In the meanwhile, if you happen to be in London and in search of a great restaurant, give me a shout and let’s meet up. Then let’s check out Bookatable together and enjoy some epic deals in a Michelin restaurant. Hungry yet?
Thank you Bookatable for sponsoring this post and helping us share our Michelin Star experiences with all our readers.