Tokyo's best yakitori

Tokyo's best yakitori

Impeccably grilled skewers of meat and more at Tokyo's best yakitori bars. But which has the finest sticks?

Recommended: Bird Land Ginza

Bird Land, TokyoDon't just stick to what you know at Bird Land. There are plenty of unexpected items on the menu.

“Everything at Bird Land sets them apart from any other yakitori restaurant,” says writer Etsuko Nakamura.

“In addition to the impeccably grilled skewers, the atmosphere makes this place special.”

Spotlights shine on the wooden counter and as one might expect for a place named after one of New York’s legendary jazz bars, jazz fills the air.

As a neat contrast, the chefs wear the white coats and hats you might otherwise expect to see at a sushi bar.

“They pay particular attention to each customer while precisely preparing chicken or adding just the right amount of charcoal to the grill,” says Nakamura.

Open Tuesday - Saturday, 5-9:30 p.m. Bird Land Ginza, B1, Tsukamoto Sozan Bldg, 4-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 5250 1081,

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Recommended: Toritama

Toritama, TokyoOld-style food on one of Tokyo's most upper class streets at Toritama.

Toritama's original shop in Shirokane may be cozy, and it may be located under a highway, but otherwise it couldn't be further from a typical "red lantern."

The secluded location gives you an excuse to wander the posh Gaien Nishi-dori -- a k a Platinum Street, due it's resemblance to Milan -- in Shirokanedai.

According to writer Etsuko Nakamura, “Toritama offers good nihonshu to go with every edible part of the chicken, including its tasty heart.”

Open Monday - Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Toritama, 6-22-19 Shirokane, Minato-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 5795 2950

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Winner: Souten

Souten, TokyoCharcoal grilled tastiness on a stick (or two) at Souten.

In Minami-Ootsuka, Souten may be a hike for some to get to, but the yakitori pay-off is worth the effort.

Just a short walk from JR Ootsuka station, you’ll find an old street car line and many tiny mom and pop shops that give you a taste of an old-school Shitamachi neighborhood.

“Souten fits in this everyday, down to earth neighborhood, but still has something special and will give you a very rewarding night out with a good mix of cheerful atmosphere, attentive service, and a great all-poultry menu, including some chicken sashimi dishes,” reports writer Etsuko Nakamura.

Yakitori are grilled to perfection over charcoal heat, then sprinkled with just the right amount of salt.

To allow patrons to fully enjoy the edible works of art, each skewer is served one at a time.

Uniforms make the staff look like they've just come from a festival.

“Start with a couple of appetizers," recommends Nakamura. “The omakase, five skewers-of-the-day for ¥1,600, is a good start before picking individual parts of the chicken or branching out to vegetables.”

The idea is to be adventurous -- start with the perfectly prepared selection of chicken sashimi.

Open Tuesday - Friday, 5:30-11 p.m. Saturday - Sunday, 5-11 p.m. Souten, 3-39-13 Minami-Otsuka, Toshima-ku, tel. +81 (0) 3 5944 8105,

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