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Takadanobaba restaurants - Asian food
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Total posts: 107

PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:20 am Back to top

Takadanobaba - Asian food


Boss - Thai *****


Yelaisheng - Taiwanese ****


Mingalaba - Burmese ****


Nagani - Burmese ****


Kao Tai - Thai *****


Cambodia - Cambodian


Century - Burmese ****


Big Land's Tree - Singaporean ***

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Total posts: 72

PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Nov 09, 2006 10:41 pm Back to top

Boss - Thai *****

Address - Takadanobaba 1-29-15, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Opening hours - Open from 11:30 am to 11:30 pm. Closed on the first and third Sunday of each month
Telephone - 03-5292-2236
Menu - In English and Japanese with pictures
Credit Cards - No

A year ago I was walking in Takadanobaba in an area I don't usually frequent when I noticed the sign of a Thai restaurant called Boss, like the coffee. The place was tiny and looked cheap, which in these circumstances to me means good and authentic. I prize authenticity, because to me eating out is an important way of learning about people's ways.
As soon as I realized that right next to the door there was an International Call Card vending machine, I knew I had something special in my hands.
A few days later, with my good friend Paolo as a wing man, I went there to have dinner.
The cook/waiter/owner seemed stunned by having two farang (foreigners) in his shop. He was neither delighted nor hostile: just surprised. He even asked us if spicy food was OK with us.
Nowe the folks at boss know me well because I like the place, and I am confident that sao will you. Incredibly cheap, friendly, excellent, it's a very good alternative to Kao Thai, which tends to get mobbed on Friday nights. If you want to eat well with 1500 yen, this is the place you are looking for.

April 2005

Yelaisheng - Taiwanese ****

Address - Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 3-4-4 Y's Plaza 3F
Opening hours - 5:00pm to 12:00pm, every day
Telephone - 03-3362-5292
Menu - In Japanese
Credit Cards - No

Yelaisheng is a close relative of Japanese Yakitori restaurants: low brow, noisy and cheap, it's always crowded with salarymen, their bosses, and students getting drunk . But the food is good, even though not really Taiwanese. The owner is from there, but he figures it's better to have anything that sells. He therefore offers beer (430 yen for a 633 cc bottle, a steal), Italian wine, abundant shots of bourbon for just 400 yen, Chinese liquors and more to accompany an eclectic assortment of Taiwanese and Chinese dishes. Just the place to go when you want to be rude to your waiter and have fun. And enjoy the pretty pictures of German landscapes in the toilet.

To find Yelaisheng, get out of Takadanobaba station, cross Waseda Dori and turn left. Turn right at the second street you find and Yelaisheng is right in front of you, at the bottom of the street.

January 10, 2000

Mingalaba - Burmese ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-14-8 NT Bdg. 3F
Opening hours - Open every day from 5:30 PM to 12:00 AM
Telephone - 03-3200-6961
Menu - In Japanese and Burmese, no pics
Credit Cards - No

Mingalaba is next door to Yeti, and in a sense it is the same kind of restaurant. Certainly more tasty than elegant, it'is always full of Burmese men and women having a great time, so there are always drums and guitars in a corner and Burmese magazines on a table near the entrance for people to read. The cook is very young, but he certainly knows his business The food on the menu is very standard Burmese food, in other words it isn't particularly original, as Burmese fgood goes, but it's very tasty and satisfying. Unfortunately, the menu is in Japanese and Burmese, but that shouldn't be an enormous problem. I recommend the Chicken Paella, actually a chicken biryani with saffron rice, the tea-leaf salad and the chicken in ginger sauce.

Nagani - Burmese ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-18-6 Yanagi Bdg B1F
Telephone - 03-3205-0560
Menu - In English and Japanese

Nagani is very conveniently located just a few meters away from Takadanobaba station in a not too elegant basement room which reminds me of an airport waiting room, but it's good, and definitely deserves a mention. The food is standard, in terms of quantity, quality and price. I recommend the usual items: the tea-leaves salad, the ginger salad, the samosa salad and the curry with coconut rice.

Where it is: get out of Takadanobaba JR station, cross the street, turn right and take the first small alley running along the tracks. Nagani is very close, on your right.

Kao Tai - Thai *****

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-14-6
Opening hours - 11:00 am to 11:00 pm
Telephone - Kao Tai 03-3204-5806
Menu - In Japanese
Credit Cards - No

Kao Tai has been my favorite Thai restaurant for many years. I can say without hesitation that I'd rather eat Thai there than anywhere else.
There are several reasons for this strong preference: one is no doubt its informal, easygoing ambience, another its location, Takadanobaba, from time immemorial my favorite watering hole.
Food is however its main ingredient: good prices, excellent taste, great variety, and a remarkable stability in time of all these qualities.
As a bonus, Kao Tai has a unique characteristic: portions are mostly half the usual, and so are prices. This means you and your lover (or friend) can order five or six different things and eat them all without either bursting open or emptying your wallet. Remember though that Kao Tai is neither elegant nor quiet. If you need either feature, go somewhere else. Booking strongly recommended.
Dixi A. D. 2002

Cambodia - Cambodian

Address - Takada 3-10-14 Yoshino Bdg 2F
Opening hours - From 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and from 5:00 pm to 11:00 pm. On holidays open from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Telephone - 03-3209-9320
Menu - In English and Japanese
Credit Cards - OK

Just meters from Taverna you will find Cambodia, one of the few Cambodian restaurants around. The food is just as good and reasonably priced (and as standard: raw and deep fried spring rolls, spicy meats, curries) as Angkor Wat's, but here you won't have to fight for a chair and will be treated politely. I include a Cambodian restaurant in my site because for me curiosity is a very powerful motive in looking for a restaurant, but I simply cannot find a reason to go to Cambodia when I can eat better at Kao Thai (see review) for half as much money. And Thai food has way more class in any case.

Century - Burmese ****

Address - Tokyo-to, Toshima-ku, Takada 3-29-7 Dainikeiya Bldg B1
Opening hours - 6:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Telephone - 03-5951-2622
Menu - In Japanese and Burmese
Credit Cards - No

Century, like many places like it in the Takadanobaba - Nakai area, more than a restaurant is a private club for Burmese lining in Japan. It's not that they wouldn't welcome you, it's just that they don't expect you to go, that's all. If you don't mind the Karaoke blaring in Burmese, if you don't mind the curious stares, if you don't mind the menu only in Burmese and Japanese, then go. You will have fun and will like the food.

Where it is: From Takadanobaba Station, turn right and then immediately left towards the bridge and then Shin Mejiro Dori. Cross Shin Mejiro Dori, turn left and you will see after few meters Century's sign.

Big Land's Tree - Singaporean ***

Address - Tokyo-to, Shinjuku-ku, Takadanobaba 2-14-16
Telephone - 03-5272-8819
Menu - In Japanese and Chinese
Credit Cards - No

Note: Yesterday I posted a positive review of this restaurant: in less than 24 hours I am forced to change my sentence.

I like Malay food and especially Lakhsa, a kind of spicy ramen with coconut milk. Alas, good Lakhsa is hard to find, and so far the only place where I have found it was right here in Ogikubo, where I live, at Malayfu Kobishoku.

There's a Singaporean restaurant in Takadanobaba I used to like, and which until January was rather good, or so I thought. It's Big Land's Tree, a small place right across the street from La Taverna, and one that initially I had wanted to visit for a long time, but that was always full. As usual, it's a Chinese-Malaysian restaurant rather than simply a Malay one, so most of the dishes were indeed good, but much less exotic than one would expect. Still, they were Chinese but with a pronounced local accent, spicier and with a clearer taste. For the sake of the food I forgave a certain general grubbiness I didn't like.

To me the most interesting section of the menu was the Malay one anyway. It was small, but well represented. As I had ample time to verify yesterday, things have changed at Big Land's Tree, and food is nothing to write home about. Also, there's next to nothing Malaysian on their menu, so I am forced to say I from now on will go to eat somewhere else in Takadanababa.

April 2006

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