Whenever I am in Tokyo (Japan) I always seek out a simple meal of Yakitori (grilled meat or veggies on a stick) at one of the many local restaurants or stalls. Look for the “red lantern” outside of the restaurant is typically the signal that you are looking for. If I am looking to make a reservation, I will most likely go to my favorite place, Nanbantei. There are several in Tokyo, but my favorite is the looked on a back street behind the Roppongi neighborhood. It is old school in style and popular hidden gem. The yakitori is made fresh everyday, prepared by the restaurant and cooked directly in front of you at the counter. I generally order the Chefs Menu which provides a wonderful selection of yakitori and is a complete meal.
Yakitori is popular casual food among the Japanese. If you are looking to rub elbows with the locals while eating outstanding yakitori, head down to the area surrounding the Shimbashi JR station in central Tokyo. The places to go are the small restaurants and stalls that located around the station area and built under the train tracks. Do not be surprised if you are sitting on a stool at a makeshift table made up of beer bottle crates and a “small table top”. The yakitori is unbelievable and it matches the experience. The cold beer or local sake goes well with yakitori. If you are in Shinjuku, next to the Bic Camera store and Uniqlo there is a whole area of yakitori stalls. All are very good. Remember, street food in Japan is always good and safe.
in the summer sit outside. It is much cooler than inside.