You immediately forget you are in bustling Tokyo upon entering the bushy gate of Yamanochaya, a vintage restaurant specializing in unagi (eel) dishes. There aren’t that many restaurants in town that can boast such tranquility even if you can see a parking lot beyond the trees.
You will need to walk up a significant flight of stairs to get to this restaurants that’s been around for years and years. I tried googling and it says that they have been around since early 20th century and our hosts explained that the last time they ate at this restaurant was 30 years ago. So, Yamanochaya has been around for while.
Lovely ladies in beautiful kimonos guided us to a fake tatami room. The ones with holes under the tables to slide your legs in for comfort.
Now I might have mentioned that I am not actually crazy about unagi. I don’t mind eating it, but I won’t go out of my way to dine on it. Imagine the look on my face when this dish was placed in front of me.
I did not dare ask what it was until I gulped it all down and then discovered that it was the inner parts of the eel (whatever that is). Not the most delicious thing in the world. It had a nasty after-taste that I didn’t like but my husband loved it.
Before long, this dish came along….
Now this dish actually tastes better than it looks. It is called the shirayaki which is white eel grilled over charcoal with a little salt. I had to think of other things not snake related to gulp it down and then decided that it didn’t taste too bad.
A small bowl of miso soup came before the main course.
Followed by the main course which was some unagi grilled in a sweet sauce with rice and pickles on the side. This I loved. The unagi was tender and not as oily as others I’ve tried.
My husband is a big unagi fan and he thought this was one of the best unagi restaurants he had ever tried so if you are in for a challenge, I say give it a try too.
Prices are on the expensive side . Lunch is about 10.000 yen and up. Dinner is about 13.000 yen and up.
YAMANOCHAYA. 2-10-6 Nagatacho, Chiyoda-ku. Phone : 03-3581-0585