My pleasure, @prima. My list is from 2014, so hopefully things have not changed too much.
Anyhow, some of my other fave places in Tokyo worth exploring are:
Ten-Ichi (tempura formal dining) at the Ginza district. This is the place which made tempura world-famous, and its list of famous customers is long. My first time there back in 2001, the-then Paris mayor (and ex-French president), Jacques Chirac, had also just dined there. I sat in one of the private dining rooms where there was a black-and-white photo of Frank Sinatra celebrating his birthday in that very same room half a century ago (the restaurant is 8 decades old). Prices may exceed your budget, but it’s worth a try!
Chuo ku Ginza 5-3-1 Sony Building B1F. Opens daily 11.30am to 10pm. Tel: 03-35713837
Birdland (yakitori), also in Ginza, incongruously-named, but this 1-Michelin-starred yakitori restaurant is right next to the legendary sushi spot Sukiyabashi Jiro (3- Michelin-stars) - this place is much more affordable. The ingredients used are nonpareil: Okukuji shamo (the branded chicken counterpart of Kobe’s wagyu beef) and the golden-yolked eggs from Ibaraki prefecture.
A JPY6,000 (US$56) omakase set yields 8 skewers of yakitori.
Chuo-ku Ginza 4-2-15 Tsukamoto Sogyo Building B1F. Open: 5pm to 9.30pm Tue to Sat.
Kimukatsu (tonkatsu mille-feuille) in Shibuya district. You won’t believe how the chef pulverised fatty pork and folded it into a 25-layer meaty mille-feuille before breading and deep-frying it. The flavours and textures stay with you long after the meal.
Shibuya ku Ebisu 4-9-5. Opens 11am-3.30pm, 5.30pm-11pm daily. Tel: 03-54202929.
Okinasoba (Nanban curry) in Asakusa district. Nanban curry was said to originate in 1910 during the Meiji era. “Nanban” basically means “southern barbarians”, referring to the peoples of South-east Asia: the curry-loving Thais, Indonesians, Malayans, etc. Thanks a heap.
Later on, “Nanban” was used to refer to the Portuguese (as they sailed up to Japan from the south, where the Portuguese had already established colonies centuries before in Macao and Malacca), and their impact on Japanese consumerism (European dress, tobacco, cuisine) and took on a “foreign & desirable” effect.
I preferred Nanban curry, which utilises buckwheat noodles/soba over the more widespread curry udon, as I felt the udon has a much thicker circumference, so it doesn’t absorb the sauce much, retaining its original taste (something the Japanese call “nobi”).
Taito ku Asakusa 2-5-3. Opens 1.45pm-3pm, 4.30pm-7.30pm (take note of how early it closes after dinner-time) Mon to Sat. Closed on Sunday. No reservations - first-come-first-served. Tel: 03-38414641.
Hainan Jeefan Shokudo - this last one is a shout-out for a friend of mine, Shigeki Koshiba, who worked as a chef in the kitchens of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore back in the 1990s before returning to his native Tokyo. His passion for Singapore hawker fare saw him recreating those flavours back in Tokyo, and his Hainan Jeefan Shokudo has grown from one original outlet in Azabu to two other branches in Ebisu and Omotesando. Go there if you suddenly feel like having something “nanban” - Hainanese chicken rice, curry laksa, etc.