It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that tempura is one of the most recognized Japanese dishes in the world. Whether you’re in Berlin or Melbourne, it’s not so difficult to come across a plate of tempura. In the past, I’ve overheard tourists saying “I don’t want to get tempura in Tokyo, we can get that back home.” Sure, you can get a batch of tempura back home, but aren’t you curious about the tempura from where it’s actually from? Despite what you may think, coming across a plate of perfectly fried tempura is a lot harder than you think. Especially when it comes to shrimp tempura.
From personal experience I know I’ve had far too many shrimp tempura that were overly greasy and battered. Navigating through a plethora of restaurants can be exhausting in the scorching heat. Lucky for you, we’ve made things easier for you. Below is a list of the best spots for shrimp tempura Tokyo has to offer.
1.Tempura Nakayama(天ぷら 中山)
Don’t be repulsed by the “black tendon”, it’s popular for a reason. Consisting of prawns, eels, and eggplants, and topped with a special sauce that has been used since the restaurant first started opening its doors. This satisfying bowl will literally last you for a whole day. And besides, who can deny a tasty meal that costs only ¥1,100.
- Address: 1-10-8 Nihonbashi-Ningyocho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-3661-4538
- Review Site
Perhaps one of the best tempura restaurants in Tokyo. Making a pit stop at Fukamachi is a must if you consider yourself a tempura enthusiast. Fukamachi offers tempura that is thinly battered and lightly fried in order to bring out the authentic taste of the fresh ingredients. The experienced chef uses 2 fryers set in different temperatures and switches them up depending on the ingredient he’s cooking. As a well-known restaurant, Fukamachi is always packed and doesn’t have a lot of seating. Also, make sure you have a reservation before stopping by.
- Address: 1F, AM Kyobashi Bldg., 2-5-2 Kyobashi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-5250-8777
3. Tsunahachi(天ぷら つな八)
Founded in 1923, Tsunahachi has clearly mastered the art of tempura. The chef’s meticulous attention to detail is what makes eating at this restaurant a true delight. It goes without saying that the shrimp tempura served here are absolutely mouthwatering and have earned itself a reputation as one of the best in the city. Tsunahachi boasts 4 different types of salt that you can sprinkle on your tempura, such as your regular sea salt, wasabi, kelp and shiso salt. So enjoy spicing up your tempura with various salt toppings. Also, don’t forget to order their tempura ice cream for dessert. Warm and crunchy on the outside, yet soft and cold on the inside, this dessert will get you absolutely hooked.
- Address: 3-31-8 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-3352-1012
- Website: https://www.tunahachi.co.jp/en/
4. Yanagibashi Daikokuya(柳橋 大黒家)
At this long-running restaurant, you can watch chefs prepare your tempura in front of you and dig in immediately after it’s made. Yanagibashi Daikokuya is recognized for serving Edomae style, tempura consisting of ingredients that were used during the Edo period. A safe order here would be the tempura bowl which has some tasty prawns in it. Bonus points: all their tempura bowls will be prepared after you place an order.
- Address: 1-2-1 Yanagibashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-3851-4560
With dim lights and wooden counters, there’s something refined and zen about the atmosphere of Seiju. Located in Tsukiji, all of the seafood used at this venue are sourced from the famous fish market. As a Michelin starred restaurant, Seiju is a hallmark of top-notch quality tempura. Take one bite of their exquisitely crispy prawn and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Yes, Seiju runs on the pricier side, so make sure you have your big bucks prepared in advance.
- Address: 3-16-9 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-3546-2622
If you’re looking for a lavish tempura destination, it doesn’t get much better than Uchitsu. With an amazing forest backdrop against the counter seats, Uchitsu resembles a wooden oasis in the city. Boasting 2 Michelin stars, Uchitsu offers a new style of tempura, serving ingredients such as oyster and crab meat. The highlight has to be their shrimp tempura which tastes fresh, sweet and heavenly.
- Address: 1F Takara Building, 5-25-4 Hiroo Shibuya-ku Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-6408-9591
- Website: http://tempura-uchitsu.com/
Shopping at GINZA SIX? Stop by the 13th floor for a tempura break. Serving Edomae tempura for 50 years, Yamanoue is no doubt a beloved restaurant. Their new restaurant inside GINZA SIX has a nice modern flair compared to their restaurant in Kanada. Unlike most tempura venues, Yamanoue has a moderate selection of wines that surprisingly goes well with tempura. It’s Summer people, and nobody knows more than yourself that you deserve a treat. Why not share a bottle of wine with friends and indulge in some divine tempura.
- Address: 13F GINZA SIX, 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-6264-5516
- Website: http://www.tempura-yamanoue.jp/ginza/english/
Located in Ginza, this upscale venue gives off a clean and refined atmosphere. This restaurant has a counter style seating that is similar to a sushi restaurant. Sit back and watch as your chefs perform their magic. With 2 Michelin stars under its belt, Kondo is known for constantly serving outstanding dishes. A pioneer in the tempura world, Kondo prepares tempura that is a mixture of traditional and innovative, Expect yourself to eat dishes such as sea urchin and shrimp heads at this extravagant restaurant.
- Address: Sakaguchi Bldg 9th Floor, 5-5-13 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, 104-0061
- Phone: +81-3-5568-0923
Tucked away in the streets of Asakusa, Masaru is a favorite for many locals. Paying over ¥3,000 for a tempura bowl may not sit well with most people, but there’s a reason behind why Masaru is overpriced. The chef at Masaru is keen on exclusively serving prawns and fish caught in Tokyo Bay. His commitment to serving the finest prawns goes far enough to the point he won’t make tempura if the ingredients don’t match his strict criteria. That being said, there are no guarantees when this quaint venue will be open or closed, but dining here is definitely worth the hype.
- Address: 1 Chome-32-2 Asakusa, Taitō, Tokyo 111-0032
- Phone: +81-3-3841-8356
A family-run restaurant with a history of over 150 years, it’s no surprise that Takashichi receives a lot of love from its community. Located in between Wakamatsu-Kawada station and Waseda station, this small joint is constantly vibrant with locals. Takashichi’s special set is an absolute must order. For the affordable price of ¥1,000, you can get your hands on an exceptional plate of tempura, fresh sashimi and a bowl of rice and miso soup on the side.
- Address: 36-27 Wakamatsucho, Shinjuku, Tokyo
- Phone: +81-3-3202-4035