pocket concierge

Two People from San Francisco with Their Passions in Food;
cityfoodsters’s 10 Restaurant Picks

"Aims to Discover the Best"

cityfoodsters are managed by Grace and Jason, who are both from San Francisco Bay Area. With their passions in food, they continue to present their opinions on different kinds of restaurants around the world.
Grace Chen

A student of Dentistry who loves sweets and desserts. Grace never stop looking for the best of the best restaurants and food around the world. Furthermore, she strives to present the most tasty and beautiful photos. With Tokyo as her most wanted-to-live city, she visits Tokyo about 3 to 4 times a year. She is specifically interested in food, culture and scenery. She has visited about 72 countries since 2016.

Jason Wang

A Bay Area native graduated from UC Berkeley, Jason has worked in Microsoft and Google before he started his own companies. As a true foodie, food is always in his mind. He eats out 95% of his life, varying from small restaurants to starred fine dining. He believes that "food is inherently social; it’s the one activity you can count on having a good time."

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Experience the creations and techniques of Mr. Cho, one of the leading figures in Sichuan cuisine in Japan

This is the restaurant run by Mr. Cho, one of the key figures in popularizing Sichuan cuisine in Japan. Mr. Cho himself heads to Sichuan several times a year to purchase high-quality ingredients and spices that only he can attain from acquaintances he has known for many years. The many richly flavored dishes he creates with these painstakingly prepared ingredients and a masterful use of spices are exquisite delicacies that can only be tasted here.


Our first time eating Chinese food in Japan was at none other than Choyo, the pioneer of Sichuan cuisine in the country with a 2018 Tabelog Silver Award.

Making the trip back to Sichuan several times every year, Chef Cho works tirelessly to refine the fiery flavours and ingredient combinations of his home region. From shaoxing wine marinated shrimps and dandan noodles to homemade mapo tofu, the courses bring back memories and flavors from our trip to Chengdu. We enjoyed this meal and it was a welcome departure from the usual Japanese meals we’ve been constantly eating.


Ginza Iwa
A 1-star sushi restaurant presenting the season through chef’s professionalism and skills

Ginza Iwa is a sushi restaurant located on a quiet alley, with easy access from both Ginza and Shimbashi Stations. It was opened in 2012 by Hisayoshi Iwa, a sushi chef known both in Japan and worldwide, and is currently watched over by Chef Iwa's favorite pupil who trained under him for 10 years. The spot has great reviews and currently is recognized by the famous gourmet guide with 1 star.


1* Sushi Iwa by Chef Hisayoshi Iwa trained under acclaimed Chef Shinji Kanesaka.

At an affordable price, the sushi omakase was one of our first sushi experiences in Tokyo back in 2012 and we truly enjoyed it. The chef himself is very knowledgeable and eager to educate his diners about sushi. The environment is casual and it’s a great spot for lunch.


Ginza Koju
Taste the essence of Japan in Ginza by a chef who is a representative of Japan

Ginza Koju is a Japanese cuisine restaurant located in Ginza, an area known for the battlefield of expensive restaurants, has won 2 stars for 7 consecutive years. It is a reputable restaurant loved by food lovers for the dishes which allows them to experience the four seasons and the essence of Japan with five senses.


Chef Toru Okuda serves a seasonal kaiseki menu at his 2* restaurant, Ginza Koju.

We visited Ginza Koju about 7 years ago and it was one of our first kaiseki experiences in Japan. Though quite a long time ago, we still remember the food experience. The focus on exceptional high quality ingredients is key in kaiseki meals. Chef Okuda masterfully highlights natural flavors in produce that you would otherwise find simple.


A 3-star well-established Kyoto restaurant with 450 years of history

Hyotei’s history is long and could track back about 400 years ago. As a signature of Hyotei, “Hyotei Tamago (Egg)” and “Asagayu (Rice Gruel for Breakfast)” are loved by visitors from all over the world. Not too much and never too less, the hospitality, the dishes and the preparations are filled with love towards four seasons. Beyond the reputation of 3-star, Hyotei is the representation of traditional restaurant of Kyoto, even of Japan.


3* Hyotei opened as a teahouse over 400 years ago and is one of Kyoto's oldest kaiseki restaurants.

Their specialty, boiled eggs, has been on their menu since the very first day. The kaiseki meal is served in a traditional private tatami room with a core focus on quality fish and vegetables. The restaurant also serves a breakfast course. It's a very special place for breakfast as it features two signature time-tested dishes - rice porridge and eggs. Their rice porridge has been featured in a hit comic "Oishinbo" and has a very refined taste containing no seasoning. And the legendary soft-boiled eggs provided sustenance to the travelers visiting the Nanzen-ji Temple back in the day.


Japanese Cuisine Seizan
Be enchanted by the flavors of the seasons

Going down a quiet staircase to the basement floor, you will enter a subdued, dignified atmosphere hanging above the stone-paved path leading to Japanese Cuisine Seizan. This 2-star restaurant’s interior channels a modern Japanese aesthetic. Enjoy the seasonal sensations and forget the hustle and bustle of city life.


2* Seizan in Tokyo is helmed by chef Haruhiko Yamamoto.

The dishes highlight the ingredients and does not rely on too heavily on sauces. Watching Chef Yamamoto's straight from the counter is part of the experience - for example, the way he skillfully wields his knife or the precision of grilling fish over binchotan. Chef Yamamoto decides the offerings for the day according to the ingredients delivered; thus the absence of a menu. We're really excited to see the development of Seizan over time as it has currently risen to Tabelog Silver 2019. Our last visit was back in 2015 but we definitely can't wait to return!


Innovative French cuisine born from artistic intuition and analysis

L’Effervescence only serves one kind of course for lunch and for dinner. In contrary to the innovative appearance of the dishes, the fresh aroma of herbs and the flavor of fresh ingredients refresh your palate. By cooking seasonal ingredients for a long time at low temperature, the chef brings out the natural flavors.


2* L'Effervescence by Chef Shinobu Namae combines French cuisine with Japanese ingredients.

He previously trained at Michel Bras' Toya in Hokkaido and The Fat Duck in UK. Once we stepped into L’Effervescence, the European style furniture and the feel of the private and relaxed atmosphere made the entire experience exceptional. One unique addition to the tasting menu is one course (the World Peace drink*) from State Bird Provisions in San Francisco, as he is good friends with the chef-owners and they were involved in collaboration dinners before.
*It is possible that some courses might not be available on Pocket Concierge.


Restaurant Anis
Modern French by a high-skilled chef, enjoy special grilled meat and carefully selected vegetables

”Restaurant Anis” is located in the bustling shopping area at Hatsudai, Tokyo. You can enjoy French cuisine by the chef who trained at a famous restaurant in France. Bright space and wooden interior makes you relaxed.


Restaurant Anis by Chef Susumu Shimizu previously worked in France at 3* La Maison de Marc Veyrat and then 3* L'Arpege.

We sat at the counter, front row to all of the action in the kitchen. It was a beautiful setting with just us in the restaurant for the first seating, receiving the full attention of Shimizu-San who cooked our entire meal with only the help of one of his cooks. Our dinner was one of his special "meating" meals, which consists of various cuts of different poultry coursed out through the evening. We got served shocking parts such as pork brain, cock's comb, boar testicles, and pigeon liver/heart. It was simply meat lover's paradise and happy to say that we were satisfyingly full by the end. Wonderful and very memorable experience!


Edo-style traditional sushi prepared according to the traditions of the renowned 3-star restaurant

Sushi MASUDA was opened in 2014 by Rei Masuda, a young and energetic chef who trained for 9 years at 3-star Sukiyabashi Jiro in Ginza. He selects only the best fish of the day regardless of where it is caught, and carefully controls the individual temperature and amount of moisture for each sushi topping.


Chef Masuda is one of Jiro Ono's disciples and also had a stint at Tenzushi when he was 17 years old.

Masuda-san's shop opened in January 2014 with just 5 counter seats. The sushi is a thorough recreation of those flavors Masuda learned at Sukiyabashi Jiro, but the tsumami shows his own unique culinary style. The grilled tachiuo was one of the highlights of the meal.


Sushidokoro Mekumi
A 2-star sushi restaurant in Ishikawa. Uncompromising devotion to Noto-style sushi

"Sushidokoro Mekumi" is a 2-star sushi restaurant in a quiet residential area of Nonoichi, near Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture. It is about 30-minute taxi ride from Kanazawa city center, but food lovers from all over the country travel here to be captivated by the cuisine of Yamaguchi Takayoshi, a sushi craftsman who is fanatical about the fish he uses to create his dishes.


Kanazawa is known for its abundance in fresh seafood due to its proximity to the Japan Sea.

So naturally, our first stop in this city is one of the top sushiyas - Mekumi- which is highly rated on Tabelog in the Ishikawa Prefecture for sushi. Chef Takahashi Yamaguchi runs the show here, preparing everything with the help of 1 apprentice and serving everything himself. There are just 8 seats at the counter. What stood out the most is the top-grade quality of the fish. Overall, a very enjoyable beginning to our first visit to Kanazawa!


Sushisho Masa
A 7 counter-seat only sushi restaurant for those seeking for real sushi

Sushi restaurant Sushi-Sho Masa is located close to Nishi-Azabu crossing. It is distinguished by its bright red doorway curtain. The owner-chef in charge of the 7 counter-seat restaurant is Masakatsu Oka, who came from the famous Sushi-Sho in Yotsuya. He carries himself with such energy that he has deeply invigorated the atmosphere of the entire restaurant.


Sushisho Masa (located in the basement with a small wooden sign outside) in Tokyo was difficult to locate when we visited Japan for the first time in 2012.

We brought our friends here primarily because Masakatsu-san serves a wide variety of fish, and it would be one of their first sushi experiences in Japan. It’s a great spot for sushi lovers to learn and enjoy food in a relaxed casual setting. The number of different courses (alternating tsumami and sushi) that Chef Masakatsu Oka can serve goes up to 45+!


Information is as of 18th March, 2019.


Pocket Concierge

We provide online booking and pre-payment services, offering access to over 800 of Japan’s most sought-after and exclusive restaurants. From starred establishments to up-and-coming newcomers and hidden gems that the best chefs and foodies keep well guarded, we feature partners from all across Japan. For guests from abroad, we currently operate in English and Chinese as well; in order to realize our vision of a totally hassle-free way to premium restaurant experiences and the facilitation of Japan’s incredible culinary arts, we are working daily to improve our service.
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