Tokyo’s Top “20” Steaks

This is a list of the top twenty steak in Tokyo according to tasters. I know that Kawamura ranks top, I’ve been numerous times, and it is an excellent steak restaurant. However I stopped to go there due to its over popularity.

Kawamura’s chef owner has his own style. He uses males, castrated cows, whereas it is believed that the best beef comes from females. I am not 100% convinced females are better, but there is no doubt, a female is often smaller,and is therefore perceived to be better in overall quality.

There is a difference in flavor of a castrated animal, and the texture, fat composition, and overall palatability is different. Lower levels of testosterone lead to higher quality grades and more consistent tenderness and marbling. Consumers have chosen the flavor of the steer beef over bull beef with their spending dollar. Castrating early decreases the number of “darker cutters” due to high muscle pH and it gives a better result.

At the same time, steak cannot be consistent each and every time, and much depends on the time of year, where the animals lives, water, diet, and what level of stress he/she encounters. To find the same taste in beef, or the same price each and every time is unlikely.

Meat is comparable to fine Cuban cigars; nature varies from crop to crop, and Japanese cows vary from animal to animal. Therefore the selection of meat is as important as anything, and certainly the marbling is better in some animals over others.

I still prefer filet, a leaner yet marbled cut. I enjoy (from time to time) sirloin from Matsuzaka, and the other day I tried a 250g steak, which I couldn’t finish. The one thing about high-end steak shops in Tokyo, you get a doggy box, a small bento to take home. Inside is usually a sandwich, on fluffy white bread – delicious the next day.

The cooking techniques used by the best restaurants include cooking at high temperatures over sumi-bincho charcoal. The heat is consistent and the searing gives a golden crust. Some restaurants on the list prepare the steak differently – so check what you best enjoy.

If you think that a cow’s average size and weight of filet mignon is less than 15% of the cows’ total weight, in that case, the filet should cost infinitely more. The fact is, you pay by the gram, and there is no difference between filet and sirloin in Japan.

You’ll find on the list, #16, Jaya Shitamachikko’s, a restaurant operated by a young female chef 60 years, and she uses Kobe “gyu” – for those without the big budgets, you can get your money’s worth there. Lastly, I am afraid to say, avoid Aragawa, I have been going there for 30 years, it is not nearly as good as it used to be, and the new location lacks the red shimmer of the great steak they once served.

1.Kawamura ¥30,000+

2.Gorio ¥30,000+

3.Ginza Miyama ¥19,000+

4.Ginza Hirayama ¥30,000+

5.Trois Fleches ¥30,000+

6.Shima ¥25,000+

7.Nakasei Uchimise ¥8,000+

8.Amon Hanare ¥6,000+

9.Dons de la Nature ¥30,000+

10.Makoto ¥20,000+

11.Sadaya ¥15,000+

12.Aragawa ¥35,000+

13.Steak Kaji ¥8,000+

14.Zenan ¥15,000+

15.Bistro Oji ¥15,000+

16. Jaya Shitamachikko 2,000+

17.Tsukiji Fujita ¥18,000+

18.Casa Rowemo ¥30,000+

19.Sumiyaki Akasaka Kaminariya ¥2,000+

20. Restaurant Omae XEX ¥10,000+