Best Restaurants in Tokyo- Nakasei
Best Restaurants in Tokyo- Nakasei

Forget whatever notions of tempura you may have had from eating this Japanese delicacy in the Western world. Nakasei has been in business since 1870 and has lasted this long with very good reason. Unlike the versions of tempura most of us are familiar with in the west- the deep fried variety of seafood and vegetables, Edo style tempura, which is the specialty of Nakasei, is an entirely different and original cuisine.

Nakasei serves only Edo style tempura, which includes all types of fish and shellfish caught fresh in the Tokyo Bay. What is unexpected to those who are accustomed to eating tempura in the West is how Nakasei deep fries the tempura in sesame oil, lending a full-bodied aroma and rounded, full depth of flavor to the crunchy fish and shellfish. The exquisite flavors bursting in your mouth are a welcome surprise- the way bold meets mild, crisp meets soft.

If their perfectly seasoned Japanese rice and side pickles weren’t also so mouth-watering, you’d forget everything around you given the main attraction. After dining at Nakasei, I don’t think you’ll ever be able to go back to the old way of eating tempura, especially when you’ve sat in their traditional tea ceremony rooms overlooking a beautiful courtyard garden and pond, evocative of old Japan. Anything less than Nakasei tempura seems hardly worth the effort. On one hand I had hoped the proprietors would make their way to the West and open a sister restaurant but after more thought, there’s something incredibly comforting about knowing that this century old hidden gem will be there long after all of us have gone.

1-39-13 Asakusa, Taito-ku