The selection of restaurants for MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2024 was announced on 5 December 2023.
We asked several of our inspectors to look back on the year just passed and select, from their many dining experiences in Tokyo, the dishes they found especially memorable.
The list the inspectors shared with us was as varied as the Tokyo culinary scene they observed. Some were dishes that could only be savoured in a particular season. Others were products of venerable tradition, while still others sprang from the unique experience and sensibility of the chefs who created them.
Pastry-baked imperial pigeon in salmis sauce
This aromatically baked pastry is sleek, even aerodynamic, a beauty to behold. Tucked away inside is breast of imperial pigeon, kept company by minced pigeon, truffles, foie gras and spinach. Salmis sauce from viscera is tweaked to avoid heaviness. A modern update of a classic dish.
Nothing says ‘winter’ to the Japanese palate like fugu (pufferfish) . Caviar, a Western delicacy, finds expression in classic Baccarat crystal, in a combination conceived in a Japanese restaurant in Paris. Fugu, caviar join sesame tofu to resonate in three-part harmony. An interlacing of Japanese culinary tradition and modern innovation.
Nigiri of young gizzard shad and shiitake
Young gizzard shad is a summer delight for sushi lovers. Each nigiri piece is crafted of three layers of young gizzard shad, pickled in vinegar to brace the delicate flesh. Shiitake mushroom nigiri was inspired by the astounding flavour of Yairo shiitake from Minamiuonuma. The refreshing tang of citrus is a natural companion for the sultry aroma of baked shiitake.
Mineoka tofu, a mystery unravelled from the literature of old Edo, is silky-smooth and richly flavourful. Wasabi enhances its sweetness, for a lingering, flavoursome finish that lasts and lasts. The plate , crafted to depict a tree frog on a lotus leaf, whimsically complements the simplicity of the arrangement.
Nigiri of tiger prawn and simmered Orient clam
Sushi items are meticulously selected, allowing no compromise in quality. Prawns have their sweetness drawn out at a freshly-boiled temperature, with their innards carefully sandwiched between the prawn and the rice for optimal taste, Orient clam is brushed with soy syrup and simmered to impart a deep, rich flavour. Each piece is a study in beauty, dignifying the flavour within.
Freshwater–225 MASL watermelon, watershield , sweetfish
Maz interprets the food culture of Peru through Japanese ingredients. With stunning originality, char, watershield, and watermelon interweave with powdered sweetfish. Vessels are placed on mats fashioned from the skins of freshwater fish from the Amazon. A spiritual atmosphere pervades.
Baked sesame tofu and pea pureed soup
The unripe fragrance of pea soup wafts in the air. Orient clam is also in season. The pungency of baked sesame tofu contrasts with its smooth texture. The olive green of the pureed soup suggests sprouting buds, while the flower and butterfly motifs of the lid announce the advent of spring.
Fragrant straw smoke wreathes the blood-red meat, transforming the iron in the duck into a soup stock -like aroma. A little salt draws out the flavour imparted by the flawlessly-kindled straw. Tenderloin is served with sieve-pureed liver and chopped ginger.
Linguine of lobster and velvet shrimp
Pasta as al dente as only dry noodles can be, the sauce rich in the flavour of crustacean and tomatoes. Richard Ginori plateware complements the red of this Italian pasta offering. The japonisme of the plate’s motif, influenced by Imari ware from the Edo period , is rich with meaning.
Extreme enoki sausage
Boiled spring vegetable, masu salmon tempura
This dish testifies to the vital role of food producers in providing the flavours of the season. Green peas and fava beans herald the first green shoots of spring; tomatoes from Awajishima arrive at peak deliciousness. Gelatine of a mix of soy sauce and vinegar defines the contours of the taste. Announcing the Hokkaido spring, tempura of masu salmon takes the seasonal mood up a notch.
Bright red tomatoes are dressed with clear jelly and sherbet. Temperature and texture are varied to assemble multiple layers of sour and sweet sensations. Caviar and smoked sauce create a dense, lingering finish. This cuisine is an homage to the ingredients.
Impepata of white asparagus and Orient clam
This botan shrimp dish takes its name from the biwa, a type of lute, which it resembles. Botan shrimp is enrobed in an emulsified sauce of pickled-vegetable juice called pao cai; micro-herbs trace the ‘strings’. A two-part harmony of Sichuan culinary traditions and modern innovation.
Crème Chantilly of Miyazaki mango shortbread
When you dip your spoon into the mango, the texture is like nothing you expected. Below the fruit flesh lie layers of sorbet, whipped cream and meringue; on top, whipped cream studded with shortbread. Simple, yet bursting with creativity.
Sichuan sliced spicy garlic pork
Boiled new-season’s onion
Orient clam, rhubarb, temple juniper berries; quiet voice
The red and purple inflorescence of perilla leaf reflect in the pure white of the plate. Orient clam is par-cooked with steam. Butter awakens the umami of the succinic acid in the sauce, bringing it together. Roasted temple juniper berries are agreeably fragrant, forming a lasting impression of the aromas of herbs and spices.