Ueno is a famous place for both locals and tourists, filled with amazing attractions and of course, great restaurants. And if you are in Japan, it would be impossible to leave the country without tasting the most famous and loved Japanese cuisine. Tonkatsu, Japan’s quintessential fried cuisine, is a pork cutlet that boasts a crunchier texture and is often served with condiments that are hard to find on European tables. This food item relates to the Meiji Period, and since then, it is being served as the most popular fried food in Ueno.
If you want to try tonkatsu around Ueno, there is an overwhelming number of restaurants to choose from. Let’s check out the following list of restaurants:
Tompachitei is a nice and elegant tonkatsu restaurant located on a two-minute walking distance from Ueno-Hirokoji Station. Their panko coating and delicious meat go very well together, and the thickly cut tonkatsu is so tender that you can cut it easily with your teeth. The miso soup and rice are nicely arranged, and you can also have a second helping of rice. The place has received three Michelin winning plates for the years 2016, 17, and 18.
Address: 4 Chome-3-4 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
2. Ponta Honke
One of the highest praised tonkatsu restaurants around Ueno, Ponta Honke has some of the finest pork cutlets that Tokyo has to offer. The restaurant dates back to the Meiji Era, and the founding chef is known for making the first dish of tonkatsu in Japan while serving in the Imperial household. Now, Ponta Honke is in its 4th generation of family ownership, and you can still experience the tonkatsu in its real form here. They strictly select the pork loin, fried in lard at a low temperature for keeping the meat juicy. It is crispy and crunchy from outside and has enticing taste and aroma, making you savor this dish with all your senses. If you have a craving for exquisite pork meat, it is suggested to have an exceptional dining experience at Ponta Honke.
Address: 3 Chome-23-3 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
3. Isen Honten
Tucked away in a peaceful, narrow street, Isen Honten has been serving traditional -style tonkatsu since 1930. The restaurant has been around for over 80 years and is known for having several great and delicious pork items on its menu. They serve extremely tender pork cutlets that can even get cut using chopsticks (that’s their special characteristic). It is also the founding place of katsu sando, a sandwich made from toast and tonkatsu. The sauce they serve usually has some sourness in it, unlike other tonkatsu restaurants in the city.
Address: 3 Chome-40-3 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
Website: https://isen-honten.gorp.jp/ (Japanese only)
English website: https://gurunavi.com/en/a226600/rst/
4. Tonkatsu Yamabe Ueno
In Ueno, it is difficult to find places that serve quality tonkatsu under 1000 JPY. Tonkatsu Yamabe is a cozy little eatery in Ueno that serves scrumptious yet cheap set meals that can fill your stomach for as low as 750 JPY. They specialize in deep-fried pork cutlets that have the crispy outer layer and juicy meat inside. The meal contains a juicy, soft cutlet served with a dipping sauce and mustard, lots of shredded cabbage, rice, pickles, and miso soup.
Address: 4 Chome-5-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Right behind the department store, Matsuzakaya, Horaiya is a famous tonkatsu restaurant in Ueno. It is known as the first restaurant to serve pork fillet tonkatsu instead of pork loin tonkatsu in the area. They have limited dishes on the menu, of which the most famous is fillet katsu teishoku. Almost every customer order this dish, which is a pork fillet cutlet, served with rice and miso soup. People from all over the world are a fan of this place and its appetizing food items. The fillet is thinly sliced and is not oily as it seems, going well with its spicy sauce.
Address: 3 Chome-28-5 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
6. Tonkatsu Musashino
Real yet reasonable, that’s the tenet of this restaurant serving high-quality tonkatsu in Ueno. Now into this business since 1948, Musashino serves fresh pork cutlets, painstakingly prepared for every awaiting patron. They serve the pork loin cutlet and fillet cutlet with deep-fried shrimps that you can wash down with a glass of wine. If you try their tonkatsu with other seasonings, you’ll be able to relish the slight sweetness in the meat. Once you bite off the crunchy exterior, the aroma of the pork spreads through your mouth with the juice, making you enjoy this unmatched experience.
Address: 2-8-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
7. Tonkatsu Maruichi
Quite popular among people, especially office workers, Maruichi are a tonkatsu restaurant in Ueno that serves high-quality pork cutlets. They fry the pork at a relatively low temperature, and the result is quite exquisite. The golden panko coating is amazing, with the meat pink and slightly sweet from inside. Thanks to its careful procedure, the meat is always juicy and soft with an impressive texture. Due to its immense popularity among natives and tourists alike, you’ll have to stand in a queue for at least half an hour.
Address: 7 Chome-8-22 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Minofusa is a small tonkatsu shop in Ueno that specializes in high-quality pork cutlets. Those who are looking for a great amount and quality at a reasonable price. Minofusa is the best option for them. The pork cutlet is accompanied by a generous amount of shredded cabbage and complimentary condiments. All their ingredients are carefully selected; they use fresh panko and rice from local farmers.
Address: 7-chome-3-9 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Koyoken is an old-fashioned set meal shop located in a peaceful region in Ueno. It is overcrowded with office workers, especially during lunchtime. They serve delicious tonkatsu that is quite light on one’s pocket. They don’t have an extensive menu, but one the most ordered item other than tonkatsu is katsu curry. At this restaurant, you can enjoy tasty fried pork in light and homely environment.
Address: 6 Chome-5-1 Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo
All information in this article is as of October 2019
Thumbnail image is from Flickr