Eating

The Great Burger

Tokyo does have a bazillion or so great burger places, and this one – The Great Burger – is tucked away in the back alleys west of cat street, south of the Omotesando main street. Burgers are pretty decent, though Golden Brown is still my local benchmark...

 

Getting There

It's a few blocks south of the Meji Jingumae subwy station, along one of the many backalleys just to the west of cat street. And here's the Tabelog page.

 

The Ritz-Carlton Lobby, Tokyo

Hotel lobbies have personalities. Like people, you may find some of them to be just a bit too energetic and loud and seemingly wanting to keep the conversation going in all directions at once. Others do look nice and impressive but digging just a tiny bit underneath the surface, you end up finding nothing of interest. And others yet may seem to be nothing at all, but then you stay anyway and eventually find yourself immersed in a friendship you never saw coming. Sort of. I really don't know why, but I find lobbies interesting on so many levels.

My favorite in Tokyo is the Ritz-Carlton one. Especially when they don't do live music. It's like a giant living room, time runs slowly, conversations are easy. The couches are great, especially the one over in the corner facing the windows. Watch the Tokyo skyline from the 42nd floor late at night, share a pastry from today's cake selection. Go nuts.

Getting there

If you opt for the subway mode of transportation, head for the Roppongi station on the Hibuya (H04) or Odeo (E23) subway lines. Follow the signs towards Tokyo Midtown and enter the hotel through the small plaza entrance right next to the Ritz-Carlton pastry shop, or walk around the complex to the hotel main entrance facing the Midtown Garden.

 

Iroha, Harajuku – Carbonara Udon

I did another one of those combos today, spending a few hours at The Terminal and venturing out for a quick nearby lunch. This time around I ended up randomly opting for a small udon place – Iroha – in the Harajuku back street area just south of The Terminal. They had an interesting take on Italian/udon crossover dishes, I went with the carbonara udon option and... yummy. Insanely tasty. A new favorite.

Getting There

Find your way to the KDDI building in Harajuku, and walk past it in the general direction of Omotesando, following the extension of Takeshita Dori. Walk onto the first street appearing to your right and boom, there it is. Bento.com has the details if you need them.

 

Golden Brown Burgers, Omotesando Hills

I spent most of yesterday at The Terminal in Harajuku, Tokyo, and wanted to grab a qucik lunch nearby. Always on the hunt for a decent avocado burger, Harajuku and Omotesando has a range of options available when you're craving for that particular vegetable sliced on top of a juicy, tasty, patty, and I went for the Golden Brown burger joint in Omotesando Hills. Great place.

 

Getting There

Just head for Omotesando Hills, make your way to the top floor, and you'll find Golden Brown up in the corner, sporting black windows and multi-colored christmas lights. Can't miss it.

 

Teppanyaki Lunch

Ran into a friend earlier today and ended up having a pretty decent teppanyaki lunch at the Shiroyama Kanko Hotel in Kagoshima. Well worth a visit, if nothing else because of the awesome onsen facilities. And the views towards downtown Kagoshima and the Sakurajima island are pretty stunning, too.

Getting There

Walk up the hill from downtown Kagoshima or grab a cab and have the driver take you to the restaurant entrance at the Shiroyama Kanko Hotel.

 

Resources

  • Website – the english version is done using an automated translation service, rendering quite a few language screw-ups...

Huset, Longyearbyen – Review

You may not expect to find an impeccable upscale restaurant in the middle of absolutely nowhere, but that's what »Huset« is. Housed in a white nondescript building at the southern end of Longyearbyen – literally a few feet from where the safe zone ends and polar bear territory begins – the restaurant will get you a surreal yet stunningly awesome experience.

There are two parts to it. First, the surroundings. Longyearbyen is a cold and tiny, tiny place right in the middle of Barents Sea not too far from the north pole, with barren mountains lined with old, abandoned structures from a mining era long gone. Add a sun that never sets during summer, creating infinite daytime, and everything feels like the very opposite of being in a multi-million skyscraper metropolis.

Second, the food. It's delicious. The staff, providing excellent levels of service, will guide you through a multi-course set menu along with a range of wine options from a cellar stocked with 25,000 bottles. The only food related thing giving away the fact that you are dining on a very, very remote island is the odd logistical hiccup. Yesterday evening the waiter apologized and said the cauliflowers hadn't made the morning flight and was being swapped for broccoli. The stand-ins were absolutely delicious, though.

 

Getting There

Getting to »Huset« is pretty much a three-part affair. Catch a flight to Longyearbyen, board the airport coach and be sure to let the driver know at what hotel you want to get off, then go for a walk (weather permitting) in a southern direction along either side of the valley until you reach the white building housing the restaurant. It's an easy 30 minute trek from most hotels in downtown Longyearbyen.

And be sure not to overshoot. Venturing south of »Huset« will get you outside the safe zone and into the off-city limits where polar bears roam. Ask your hotel for a map with clear indications on where the safe zone borders are. You do want to stay safe.

 
 

Links

  • Huset – official website