Tonkatsu, it’s one of the most beloved “western style” Japanese food. For those of you who are not familiar, toknatsu is
a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. There are two main types, fillet and loin. It is often served with shredded cabbage.
Tonkatsu originated in Japan in the 19th century. As well as being served as a single dish, it is also used as a sandwich filling or in combination with curry.
Tonkatsu is common home cooked meal but since it’s sometimes bothering to prepare deep fried dish at home, and also, tonkatsu was originally invented at a restaurant called Rengatei in Ginza, today there are many restaurants that specialize in tonkatsu. Tonkatsu is becoming a popular Japanese food in overseas as well, that you can sometimes enjoy in Japanese restaurants in your home country. How about tasting some REAL tonkatsu in tonkatsu specialized restaurants?
In this article, I will introduce my suggestions for 5 restaurants that you are able to visit in Tokyo.
1. Wako (和幸)
Wako is the largest tonkatsu specialized chain restaurant in Japan. You can find Wako in any major downtown Tokyo such as Akihabara, Ginza, Roppongi, Shinjuku, and Shibuya. They have tonkatsu and various menus such as Ebi-furai (エビフライ) , deep fried shrimp, crabmeat cream croquette, ground beef cutlet with cheese, and more. Every menu comes with rice, cabbage and miso soup which are free refill.
2. Maisen (まい泉)
Maisen is another tonkatsu specialized chain restaurant. Maisen restaurant in Omotesando has more menus than tonkatsu, katsu-don (a bowl of rice topped with katsu, egg, and condiments), katsu-curry and tonkatsu sashimi set.
Maisen has 8 restaurant throughout Japan, but their katsu sandwich and bento box are sold in some supermarkets and department stores. It’s popular as a snack to eat in shinkansen. You are able to find them in most of the shinkansen stations such as Tokyo station.
3. Marugo (丸五) in Akihabara
This classical tonkatsu restaurant is located fairly close from electric town of Akihabara, but it’s definitely one of the most famous tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo.
Their tonkatsu, with 40years of history, have lots of fans. It’s not unusual to find lines in front of the restaurant. Meat is very juicy and its coated by high quality crispy batter. There are several ranks of tonkatsu in the menu, but go for the most expensive “toku rosu katsu (特ロースカツ)“, special loin katsu, for ¥1,850. You might feel too much to pay for tonkatsu, but definitely worth it. You can add rice, miso soup, and pickles for additional ¥450.
5min walk from Akihabara station
1-8-14, Sotokanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
11:30 – 15:00 (L.O 14:50), 17:00 – 21:00 (L.O 20:20)
Sat & Holiday 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Closed on Monday and third week of Tuesday
4. Maruyama Kippei (丸山吉平) in Akihabara
Maruyama Kippei opened in 2012 but became one of the famous tonkatsu restaurant in just 3 years. You will have to buy the ticket first with the machine. (There are no English translations)
Their speciality is tonkatsu with fatty part of pork, so go for “Ribu katsu teishoku (リブかつ定食）” ¥2,500. You can add lemon and wasabi if you tell the owner when you give the tickets. Rice and miso soup come together.
10min walk from Akihabara station
5-20-8 Asakusabashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Sun to Mon 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sat 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Holidays are announced on the Facebook page
5. Hasegawa (はせ川) in Ryogoku
If you visit Ryogkoku for sumo wrestling or Edo Tokyo Museum, eating Tonkatsu at Hasegawa is a must do. The pork they use is a well known brand called “Sangenton” from Yamagata. You can taste juicy and sweet taste of fat very well with Hasegawa’s thick tonkatsu. Order “Atsugiri Gokujo Tonkatsu (厚切り極上とんかつ）”, thick cut special tonkatsu, ¥2,800 to enjoy their taste.
2min walk from Ryogoku station
3-24-1, Ryogoku, Sumida-ku, Ryogoku Ozaki Building 103
11:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.