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Harajuku & Omotesando restaurants - American food
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Total posts: 72

PostYou have posted in this forum: Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:46 am Back to top

Fonda de la Madrugada - Mexican ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 2-33-12-B2
Opening hours - 5:30 pm to 4:00 am
Telephone - 03-5410-6288
Menu - In English and Spanish
Credit Cards - OK

Hi Frank,

I tried Nataraj in Ogikubo and it was great, maybe even better than good old Devi. I know you lament the lack of a good Mexican restaurant in town, but have you tried Fonda de la Madrugada (think that is the spelling) in Harajuku? I first went to this place on the recommendation of a Mexican acquaintance of mine. It is the best Mexican restaurant I have tried and the great atmosphere (kind of like a Hacienda) really adds to the whole experience. Not cheap, but not unreasonable, a generously portioned meal with drinks, coffee and dessert is about ¥5,500-6,000 per person.

To get there: From Chiyoda line Harajuku Station, walk up Meiji Dori toward Shinjuku, past Aux Bacchanales about ten minutes. It is on the opposite side of Meiji Dori from AB. You will pass over a pedestrian bridge and an alcohol-laden AM PM on the way.

There is another upscale one very close to Nishi Azabu crossing. The name has "Escondita" (Frank's note: it's La Escondida in Nishi Azabu, 03-3486-0330) in it and they always have Mariachi singers, but it is slightly more expensive and the food is not as good as Fonda. Still quite enjoyable however.

Peter Ford writes :
Just to say that I was looking at your comments about the woeful standard of Mexican restaurants in Tokyo. I immediately did a search for my favourite to find that someone had beaten me to it and already told you about La Fonda de la Madrugada. I second all his comments. Certainly after a long search for authentic food, I was happy to pay their prices. A very nice interior too, good for a romantic dinner for two, or a large group in one of the many rooms. My wife still prefers my tortilla soup though...

sanji's note : La Fonda de la Madrugada is an excellent address for upscale mexican food in Tokyo. I would strongly recommend this restaurant. But be aware that you will have a couples of singers coming around the table (and even getting tips, which is quite unusual in Japan), leading to a romantic atmoshpere. If you go there just with a friend, it gives quite a strange feeling...

web -

Barbacoa Grill - Brazilian Churrasco ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-3-24, Evergreen Bldg B1
Opening hours - 11:30 to 15:00 and 17:30 to 23:00. Open all week.
Telephone - 03-3796-0571
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

Barbacoa (a word which indeed means what it seems to) is a Churrasco restaurant, which means that the food consists mainly in huge slabs of half cooked meat cut and served to you in any amount you desire by guys who wander among tables with a spit, a cutting board and a knife in hand. The meat is good and tender, plus they serve 20 differents types just of beef, even though you rarely find more than five at the same time. There are also a buffet with salad, assorted fruit and Fajoada, the typical Brazilian rice and black beans dish.

sanji's additions : The price of the menu has been increased lately, and it now cost 4000 yens for the all-you-can-eat dinner (they do 2 services per evening, while there used to be no time limit), plus 2200-3000 yens for the all-you-can-drink set, depending if you want to include better wines.
The meat is absolutely excellent, so if you feel like really missing good beef, this is the place to go. While not a cheap place, it is very popular, and expect it to be fully booked days in advance.

Zapata - Tex-Mex ****

Address - Ebina Building Bf, 6-18-10 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo.
Opening hours - Open every day 11:45 AM to 1:00 AM
Telephone - 03-3499-5888
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - OK

Zapata, which used to be fairly good but too expensive for what it had to offer, on Sundays and Mondays has an all-you-can-eat deal that is impossible to beat. You can order anything on the menu for as long as you like, and still pay just 1980 yen. Drinks are a different story, of course, and I bet this is where they make a buck, because the quality and quantity of the food really leave nothing to be desired. We had everything on the menu, from Guacamole on and on to the desserts, which turned out to be the weak point of the meal.
Zapata is easy to find. Get out of Harajuku station, go towards Omotesando, turn right on Meiji Dori and walk on the left side of the street towards Shibuya. Walk a good 700 m and you will find Zapata next to the Crocodile.
Note: A year has passed and now they have different specials, but it is still more convenient than before.

Creole - Peruvian ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 2-31-7 Villa Gloria 101
Opening hours - Closed on Mondays
Telephone - 03-3423-2003
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - OK

Creole is somewhat like Romina, and the food tends to be the same: weird, tasty stuff. Nothing strange in that: they are both Peruvian restaurants. In this case, however, the cook and the rest of the crowd are Japanese, but it doesn't seem to affect the food, definitely worth a visit. I don't mean to be offensive: it's just that when the staff of a restaurant is completely Japanese concessions tend to be made to local taste, but this does not seem to be the case, here. It's not really cheap. Not too expensive, either, and I didn't care for the exotic dances.

Tony Roma - American Barbecued Meat ****
Roppongi, Minami Aoyama, Sanbancho & Akasaka

Addresses -
Roppongi : 5-4-20 Roppongi, Minato-ku
Aoyama : 3-1-30 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku
Sanbancho : 1 Sanbancho , Chiyoda-ku
Akasaka : 22-3-4 Akasaka, Minato-ku
Opening hours - 17:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Telephones -
Roppongi : 03-3408-2748
Aoyama : 03-3479-5214
Sanbancho : 03-3222-3440
Akasaka : 03-3585-4478
Menu - In Japanese and English
Credit Cards - OK

Tony Roma in Roppongi is the archetypal American restaurant. The decor, the opulence and overproduction of the food, the size of the portions, the doggie bag (a great invention, if you ask me), and, unavoidably, the mediocre taste are all too typical of the US. The strong points of its menu are the salads, the ribs and the fish dishes, in that order. The famous ribs cost about 2000 per person, look huge but, in reality, are mostly bones, and therefore the bill usually climbs up to at least 4000 yen per person.

Kua'aina - High Quality Burgers ****
Various Locations

Addresses -
Aoyama : Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Minami Aoyama 5-10-21
Shibuya : Tokyo-to, Shibuya-ku, Shibuya 1-10-4
Kanda : Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kanda Surugadai 3-5
Gotanda : Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Nishi Gotanda 1-26-7
Kamakura : Kanagawa-ken, Kamakura-shi, Yuigahama 4-3-9
Opening hours - From 11:00 to 21:00, closed on Sunday
Telephones -
Aoyama : 03-3407-8001
Shibuya : 03-3409-3200
Kanda : 03-3518-0050
Gotanda : 03-5437-3800
Kamakura : 0467-61-2400
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - Yes

I have finally found a place where to eat high quality hamburgers. Burgers, it's well known, are not high cuisine, but they do have a place in life. I believe in fast food, I swear I do. Sometimes MacDonald's is the ideal place to make a fuel stop: this doesn't qualify as a proper meal, but it does get rid of the pangs of hunger.
Kua'aina however is different, and is only a distant relative of the places where we usually cruise for burgers, mainly because it uses high quality ingredients, but also for some interesting choices available in its menu. I have concluded that, in spite of the speed with which food comes, this is actually not fast food, but real, excellent food: I cannot think of higher praise.

First of all, its golden french fries are excellent, crispy and not at all oily or, if you prefer a single adjective, just perfect. Second, you can have your sandwiches in one of three different kinds of bread, namely kaiser roll, multi-grain wheat or hearth rye.
Third, of the five burgers, 14 sandwiches and three salads (blue cheese dressing, my favorite, is available), many are both refreshing and healthy, like the tuna and avocado sandwich, or the avocado, bacon and cheese sandwich.
You can have extra cheese, bacon, avocado, or pineapple for from 100 to 200 yen. What's more, you can choose among six kinds of cheese, including Italian provolone and Swiss cheese. The final bill will be around 1000 yen apiece, but the place is definitely worth at least that much.
The Kamakura branch, which is the one I visit when I am on the Shonan coast, is very close to the beach and, together with T-Side (an excellent Indian restaurant) the most interesting source of Gaijin food in the area.

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Total posts: 107

PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:09 am Back to top

Harajuku & Omote-Sando - American food


Fonda de la Madrugada - Mexican ****


Barbacoa Grill - Brazilian Churrasco ****


Zapata - Tex-Mex ****


Creole - Peruvian ****


Tony Roma - American Barbecued Meat ****


Kua'aina - High Quality Burgers ****

Last edited by secret-japan on Thu Dec 07, 2006 1:09 am; edited 2 times in total

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