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Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Re Gorakadan: kasieki there is not that impressive, and it is not modern style as per your envisage, certainly will not be the same standard that you will enjoy in Tokyo. But the beef shabu shabu is pretty good, request for their home made black sesame dipping sauce. I would recommend you to opt for the shabu shabu rather than kaiseki for this one night stay there.

Aug 12, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Yes, Ishikawa/Ryugin may differ from traditional Kyoto kaiseki but they are still likely to use the same seasonal ingredients of the month.
As to ryokan, you can always ask for an alternative option from kaiseki. I think maybe a good idea if you request regional nabe or shabu shabu (crab or beef) or sukiyaki.

Aug 12, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Question re. November Reservations - Restaurants I'm waiting to book and likelihood of availability/issues

Probably have to disagree with tigerjohn's statement "the one not on food tourists list are not that difficult to book". A few of the most difficult booking that I have encountered have not even appeared on Chowhound yet, or in Michelin Guide.
Saitou has always been difficult to book, even back 5 years ago, or even back pre-Michelin era. But at least if you tried on the first day of the 2 months advanced booking date, you would likely get it. This, of course, is not true anymore since the regulars, knowing the increasing difficulty, would just book the next date after they finished the meals, reducing the slots for others.

Aug 12, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Matsukawa maybe quite similar to many of the other kaiseki you will visit in Kyoto. When you mention "kaiseki overkill", I am afraid that may just happen. And not to forget that since you visit them on the same month, you will face many of the same seasonal ingredients as well. I thought you just need to be aware of this.

Aug 12, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Matsukawa is very traditional, not creative at all but the technique is impeccable.
Aronia is definitely more creative and playful but can be inconsistent.

Aug 12, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Hokkaido suggestions

If your missing lunch slot is still in Toya, you may want to try La locanda, it's another Italian Japanese-style near Windsor hotel, just 5 min drive near a ski lift. I recall dinner menu was much more interesting than the lunch menu, so you may want to check if dinner menu is available on lunch time. The squid was out of the world.
Or you may try Moilere for that lunch spot in Sapporo? It is very good, jut that my expectation was 3 star.
Can you provide more information of L'oiseau per Matsunaga? It seem to be in Hakodate, not Sapporo...

Aug 11, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Hokkaido suggestions

Michel Bras is located in Windsor Hotel in Toya, that is not in Sapporo, you would need to drive 2 hours from Sapporo to Toya.
Michel Bras & Moliere are both 3 stars French fine dining. Since you are from Norway, is that what you are looking for in Hokkaido? They are both very decent but I was not wow by them. More like 2 star than 3 star IMHO.
Picchu was interesting, more like Japanese Italian izakaya style. There was extensive writing a few years back so use the Search function if you need to read more. Be warned: they don't speak English there, not even simple sentence and English menu was not available back then too. And I just realised the Tabelog rating has gone down to 3.46 for unknown reasons; it was closer to 4.0 when i dined there a few years back.

Aug 11, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Question re. November Reservations - Restaurants I'm waiting to book and likelihood of availability/issues

I would not include Kondo as the alternative. I know it is a legendary name in the Tempura circle but I was not impressed at all. Two much better alternatives are Mikawa Zezankyo and Yokota.

Aug 10, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Question re. November Reservations - Restaurants I'm waiting to book and likelihood of availability/issues

Re 7chome Kyoboshi: it is not hard to book. Very expensive, 2-3 times more than other high end tempura places, so it is actually quite easy to book based on my experience 2-3 years ago.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Tomura kaiseki restauarnt in Tokyo

Tomura is very expensive but ingredients used is top notch. One of my favorites. Never tried Kyoaji (but looking forward to it in Nov) so I am not able to compare directly. From the pics, Kyoaji is more traditional, Tomura is kind of Zen, dishes look really simple, not much deco or artistic, but once in your mouth, you are enlightened.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Best Italian

Aroma Fresca. I don't think it is impossible to book, been there 2 or 3 times. Not a fair comparison but I have tried Il Ghiottone when they came as guest chef in Singapore but was not so impressed. I am sure they would have done a better job at their home base in Kyoto.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

L'Equateur, Florlige or Quintessence

Quintessence. They are really worth it.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Kurogi opening hours for lunch - Japanese language help

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Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Kurogi opening hours for lunch - Japanese language help

Did you manage to book a reservation there? Seem to me that Kurogi is another one in the "impossible-to-book" list. Tried booking twice, once as far as 4 months in advanced and failed both times. Let me know how you get it.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Sushi Mitani

I was there 3 years ago. But never been back since they are always full. You need to book like at least 8 months in advanced.

Aug 09, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Any review on Sushi Taira Shirokane

The last time I tried to book, they don't accept gaijin or non-Japanese speakers.

Jun 18, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Where to eat in Fukuoka, Kurakawa Onsen, and Tokyo

Apr 04, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Where to eat in Fukuoka, Kurakawa Onsen, and Tokyo

You can try Sushi Osamu in Fukuoka. Different take from their Tokyo counterparts; more focus on Kyushu ingredients (such as fugu, whale etc). I had an amazing 2pm late lunch there (though I order the dinner menu) so being the only patron and received full attention from the chef. Price is almost half what you would pay in Tokyo.
http://www.sushiosamu.net/index.html

For other options in Fukuoka that I highly recommended: Yasugee for Oden (an old couple with their son serving very traditional oden) ; Satou for kaiseki (need to take a 30minute train ride from Fukuoka) Imahan for sukiyaki beef and かゆう美酒美食 for Izakaya.

BTW, Kurokawa Onsen is amazing. Which ryokan will you stay in?

Jan 18, 2014
FourSeasons in Japan

Trip report November

Hi Lucil:

How did you get your booking at KyoAji since I thought he insisted one has to be fluent in Japanese language before he accept the reservation (since you wrote yours is caveman like :-) )?

Just like you, I have no idea why Kabuto gets such a high rating.

I have more favorable rating on Den than you do. As to Harutaka, I agree with Ninisix that his nigiri is much more impressive than his sashimi. In fact, I was down right disappointed in the beginning of his meal when the sashimi was served. Sushi Sho wins in its varieties and some good mix but technically not in the top tier. I like to go there for its more lively atmosphere as well.

Have you been to Yazawa in Singapore? Similar to Jumbo, I was told.

Dec 02, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Singapore - best Kaiseki?

My favorite is Ki-sho at 29 Scotts road

http://www.scotts29.com/ki-sho/meetou...

Crab feast (and pastry shops) recommendations?

Just remember, Kadowaki is offering Matsuba crab feast this month. I will try it soon. But Kadowaki has always been good, with or without the crab, so you may want to look into that. I think the course is Yen 25k.

Nov 07, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Visiting Tokyo from NYC for the first time!! (Researched)

Yoroniku is good. My fave yakiniku in town.

Nov 06, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Kegani/Horse Hair Crab

I love the crab at Seryna too. For Kegani crab, you may want to check at Sawaichi, love the seafood there: http://tabelog.com/tokyo/A1307/A13070...

Nov 06, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Crab feast (and pastry shops) recommendations?

For crab feast dinner, you may want to check out Yukimura. Taizan crab should be in season during that period.

Nov 06, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

High-grade beef restaurant options in Fukuoka/Nagasaki

Not sure if this is the type of high grade beef you had in mind but we had really decent experience in both these places.

In Fukuoka, we had sukiyaki at Imahan in Hakata station. Imahan is a high end sukiyaki chain originally from Tokyo:
http://www.jrhakatacity.com/gourmet/i...

In Nagasaki, we had very reasonably priced yet top quality yakiniku at Osakaya :
http://hitosara.com/0005046187/

Oct 07, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Singapore - Modern-Nyonya cuisine at Candlenut, Dorsett Residences (Outram Park)

So thumbs up or down from your traditionalist Baba Nyonya friends?

Singapore - Modern-Nyonya cuisine at Candlenut, Dorsett Residences (Outram Park)

Second Candlenut, very good choice for Peranakan food. Also would recommend to all the tourists who are looking for decent local food beside Chilli Crab and hawker stalls.

Singapore - Best Cantonese dinner (still!) at Taste Paradise, ION Orchard

Sorry, don't agree with your conclusion. Taste Paradise and Imperial Treasure (GWC) are not the top 2 Cantonese in town. In fact, I try to avoid visiting them anymore. These two are just in good location and convenient for those diners who like to dine at top shopping malls in town. I would say Lei Garden, Li Bai and Jade Palace (especially if you want reasonable pricing) are all superior to those two on your list.
And forget about Crystal Jade (Ngee Ann) and Hua Ting too. Tried both these places this year, they don't even deserve to be on my list anymore.

Dons de la nature cost

Based on the info at tabelog, Shima is closed on Sunday, lunch is opened from 12 to 1pm (last order). I requested the hotel concierge to make the reservation for us. But the owner chef speaks fluent English so I assume you maybe able to make a reservation in English.

Jan 23, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan

Dons de la nature cost

@mitronix: I think that is the one.

Jan 22, 2013
FourSeasons in Japan