Review: Ichita.

With a plethora of high-end kaiseki restaurants in Tokyo, it was beyond overwhelming researching all the various options.

Reserving restaurants in Japan is extremely difficult especially for foreigners since a lot of these places are tiny and prefer locals. Many of the high-end kaiseki restaurants I wanted to dine at were sadly fully booked even though I had begun my research months in advance. Tommaso’s friend recommended Ichita, a one Michelin star kaiseki restaurant specializing in soba. Ichita is a tiny restaurant with seats at the bar and one small private room. No menu was provided and none of the staff spoke English so we just went with the flow.

Firefly Squid with Spring Onion (8/10).

A vibrant appetizer with delicious firefly squid and sharp spring onion.

Chef Ichita.

Chef Ichita Rolling the Saba Maki.

Fried Silverfish (8.5/10).

Perfectly fried fish with moist meat was served simply with a ponzu style sauce and finely sliced onions.

Saba Sushi (9/10).

This was one of my favorite dishes of the night. The pressed mackerel sushi was so flavorful and had a great balance of richness and umami.

Tilefish with Bamboo (7.5-8/10).

Seems like I cannot escape the fresh bamboo! As I had eaten it numerous times during my trip, I started to get tired of it to be honest. On the other hand, the tilefish was deliciously tender.

Chef Ichita Preparing Clam.

Kinmedai and Akagai Sashimi (8/10).

Kinmedai is easily one of my favorite fish for its natural unctous buttery flavor and texture. So good.

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White Asparagus with Uni (7.5/10).

While I love white asparagus and uni, I’m not sure I loved the combination of the two especially with the slimey sauce (I know slimey isn’t the most appealing way to describe something but Japanese love that consistency as I had numerous dishes throughout my trip with this texture).

Grilled Beef (8/10).

Beautifully charcoaled beef had a great crust and perfectly medium rare meat. It only needed some salt or mustard to enhance the flavor.

Chef Ichita Preparing the Next Dish.

Crab (7.5/10).

Once again, this dish had that “slimey” texture which I’m not a fan of. The crab was sweet and yummy though.

Zaru Soba (8.5/10).

Chef Ichita’s speciality is soba noodles that you can have prepared a number of ways. I chose zaru soba (cold noodles dipped in sauce) as its my favorite way to eat soba.

Pudding with Strawberry (8.5/10).

Sweet milky pudding with strawberry jelly and fresh strawberries, a match made in heaven.

While the food as Ichita was beautifully prepared, this was my fourth fine dining kaiseki meal of the trip so my excitement had definitely worn down. Kaiseki cuisine is not necessarily my favorite as some of the dishes and flavors can be too traditional for me. However, I found that Ichita was a nice balance of traditional and modern so my rating is a 7.5-8/10.

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