No visit to Japan should go without eating tempura. Though, with so many eateries it is hard to make the right choice. I am very meticulous about how I like my tempura done: thin batter, meaty from the inside, not greasy and definitely not soggy on the outside. And I believe I found a perfect place! Asakusa is a historic neighborhood of Tokyo which used to be one of the most developed areas in the Edo era. Besides its ancient shrines, fascinating old-fashioned alleys and myriads of specialty shops, Asakusa prides itself on one of the best tempura restaurants in town. On our recent jaunt in the neighborhood Mr. B and I decided to trust numerous positive reviews and head to Daikokuya, which is located right in the heart of Asakusa and apparently is a point of pilgrimage for both locals and tourists hungry for some hefty lunch. The restaurant was established in 1887 and boasts a history of more than 125 years. Imagine an old Japanese style one-storied house with minimalistic décor and unpretentious atmosphere. Sliding doors, wood paneling and tatami floors in the dining room inside add to the cozy atmosphere. Sweet elderly Japanese ladies serve the tables which makes you feel you visited your grandmother who is doing her best to take care of you. As soon as we were seated we got a complimentary hot tea. We were also excited to see they had English menu. Feeling rather famished we opted for a set menu of tempura teishoku. It started with a very tasty bowl of appetizers – pickles and tamago with mushrooms and herbs which was cooked beautifully and had a very delectable earthy flavor to it. Afterwards, we were served the main dish – an assortment of seafood and vegetable tempura. On a side we had a bowl of rice, piquant pickles and a comforting bowl of shyo-based soup to enjoy. Daikokuya uses sesame oil and some specialty marinade sauce to cook its tempura, which gives it a scrumptious dark color. Battered seafood and vegetables were deep-fried to perfection: fluffy, light and crisp, not too oily or greasy, and very delicious. We tried a selection of prawn, shrimp, kisu fish, mushroom and couple of other vegetable tempuras. My favorite of all was the prawn tempura, which was very meaty and flavorful. Next time I think I’ll order just that served tendon style, i.e. in a bowl over rice.
Overall, it was a delectable and hefty lunch, perfect in-between the day full of sightseeing. We loved the service and homely atmosphere. Certainly worth a visit during your tour of Asakusa (which I will soon be writing about).
- Address: 1-38-10 Asakusa, Taiko-li
- Working Hours: Sun to Fri: 11.15am – 8.30pm; Sat: 11.15am – 9pm