Friday, July 06, 2012

Non-stop eating at Mitsukoshi Ginza

Our main destination in Japan was exploring the food halls of the department stores, namely Mitsukoshi, Daimaru, and Takashimaya.  Mitsukoshi and Daimaru are a couple of the better quality ones, and it really shows in the brands and products they house.

For most of our early mornings and afternoons, we nibbled on sweets and savories around the food halls (which don't have tables or counters to eat.  You have to discreetly step aside like a tourist to eat it right then and there, go up to the designated tables and benches (at Mitsukoshi Ginza it's on the 9th floor), or take it back to your hotel to enjoy later).  All that nibbling really just made us hungry for a real meal.  The top floors of these department stores all have sit down restaurants with a large variety of cuisines.  Japanese, European, Chinese, Thai, Korean, etc.

Mitsukoshi Ginza was one of our highlights for food halls and their upper floor restaurants.  On the 2nd floor, we were repeat customers at Laduree for macarons.  I could eat boxes and boxes of their pistachio and caramel macarons.  So chewy and packed with intense flavor.

On the 9th floor, you can bring up food from the food halls and enjoy them on their tables inside and out on the garden patio.  Or, you can also take a break at the Minori Cafe.  Towards the end of the trip, my feet and legs needed a rest, so a Kirin and coffee break was perfectly refreshing out on the garden patio.

For sit-down restaurants, the upper floors have a fun variety.  There are so many options that you want to go back to try almost all of them out.  For one lunch, I squeezed in 2 meals.  The first was at Hakone Akatsuki for fresh handmade soba.  On display behind a glass window, an old soba master constantly rolls and cuts the noodles with such passion and precision.  Immediately following this first course, I went for some Japanese style pizza at Maestro Ks.  Japanese style uses their own flour for more chewiness and with their unique toppings.  This is the best pizza I've encountered around the world, but unfortunately (a huge unfortunately), the service was so rude the second time around (telling the empty restaurant was fully committed at 5pm when all we wanted was a couple pizza pies).  Why give money to a place that doesn't want to serve you?

For our final dinner, we feasted on more tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Japanese Apricot, a mid-to-higher end katsu chain.  These breaded cutlets were some of the fluffiest, flakiest, and crispiest we've tasted.  The "toro" tonkatsu is a bit too excessive with fat, but the special cut and regular cut were far above average.

If I had more time, or even just more room in my stomach, I wanted to try out a couple more places on the 11th floor - okonomiyaki and hamburg steak.  Next time!

Place your cursor above "Notes" below to read the captions for each photo.
If you can't see the slide show here, check out my Flickr album: Mitsukoshi Ginza Eats

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