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Review of Takazawa

Ranked #24 of 10,882 Restaurants in Minato
Cuisines: French, Japanese, Contemporary, Fusion
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Akasaka / Roppongi
Kongsberg, Norway
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2014

A sublime experience, the best meal me and my family have ever experienced in a restaurant. 3 hours of bliss. Attentive service and an amazing set of courses.

  • Visited July 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
5 Thank RuneJ72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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119 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
181 reviews
68 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 246 helpful votes
“Molecular gastronomy”
Reviewed June 15, 2014

Food was mind-blowing and unlike any other restaurant experience we had. It’s molecular gastronomy. The entire meal was occupied with discussing the food taste and its presentation. We had a great time, dinner was 3 hours and service was impeccable.

But I had to admit, the bill was a bit hard to swallow the next morning. The drink prices are not listed – you’re just given your personalized menu for that day when you sit down. 30,000 yen for the chef’s tasting menu (it’s so hard to get reservations, might as well), 15,000 yen for the wine pairing. Water is not free, but at these prices I wouldn’t expect it to be (1,600 yen for a large bottle, 1,000 yen for a small bottle). Then there is a 10% service charge and 8% tax on top of that , so at the end of the day, it was almost 100,000 yen for 2 people for dinner, 1 wine pairing, and a couple of bottles of water.

On the other hand, we got to eat a rock, a beautiful plate of fish swimming, and the foie gras creme brulee candlestick was fabulous. Every dish was an elegant surprise. Not every dish had perfect taste – none were disasters, but some tasted ordinary (like the pork plate).

We’ve dined at a lot of nice restaurants, this one we will definitely remember for a long time. I don’t think we’ll return because it was too expensive, and I’d rather go to Joel Robuchon at lunch for better value for my money.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
5 Thank HappyBelly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego, CA
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“What? No Michelin Stars?”
Reviewed May 29, 2014

Kaiseki cuisine is a Japanese art form that has been practiced for hundreds of years. The rules are fairly rigid. The sequence of dishes is well defined: Sakizuke (appetizers) followed by Hassun, etc. The last dish is a rice dish. There is always a seasonal theme. This type of high-culture, expensive cuisine is still widely practiced in Japan and Tokyo has its share of Michelin-starred kaiseki establishments. In the last several years, there has been a movement to inject new blood into this century-old tradition. Some chefs feel that the cost is too high, which discourages young people from participating. Indeed given the aging Japanese population, this is an acute concern. Every time I look around me while eating at one of these kaiseki places, I can’t help but wonder if this art form will die out. Only older, more affluent people can afford it. They would be least likely to demand innovation. The practice may fossilize and one day, wither away from irrelevance. From what I can tell, rejuvenation of kaiseki cuisine is being attempted by two schools of chefs. Some are trying to reduce cost in order to build a younger, more modern clientele. Others are trying to incorporate ideas and techniques from Western cuisine and thus modernize an old art form. This is typical of how Japan has absorbed foreign cultures throughout the ages. Mr. Takazawa belongs to this second school.

A dinner at Takazawa is a big deal that starts with an online reservation. Emails follow to determine if guests have any food allergies and preferences. There are several fixed menus. My girlfriend and I chose the 10-course menu, the most expensive option. As others have noted, the small restaurant can only accommodate ten guests. During dinner, the chef works behind a counter, in full view of the guests. There is a small kitchen in the back where some of his assistants work. Two others help his wife with the service, which is impeccable. Some found the restaurant hard to find. For me it was not an issue as my hotel is on the hill across the main boulevard so I know the neighborhood well. The décor and atmosphere are thoroughly modern. The chef and his assistants are wirelessly connected so he can give them instructions in real time. His wife speaks English fluently, which is a rarity in a kaiseki establishment. Thus in terms of physical space, Mr. Takazawa has completely dispensed with the trappings of a traditional kaiseki restaurant. No tatami mat rooms, no shoji screens, no ikebana arrangements…

Mr. Takazawa’s technical mastery is breathtaking. Most of the ten dishes were virtuoso displays of techniques and skills. Take the foie gras course. The foie gras was laid down on a crispy pastry foundation. Then it was tiled with thin slices of radish, arranged to simulate the look of carp (koi) scales. (This was to celebrate boys day when carp flyers are flown everywhere.) A bit of rose jam, rose-flavored salt, and various other tidbits accompanied the slice of “carp”. The visual effect was spectacular. Some courses were clearly designed for show. Take the squids. They are luminescent and came from a special place on the Japan sea coast. They were shown alive to the guests before being cooked (to perfection). Then they were served on top of a bowl of water illuminated by blue LEDs. Some dishes pushed technical virtuosity to the limits. Take the “Scallop Spaghetti”. Fresh scallops were ground up and somehow reconstituted into thin noodles, which were topped with sea urchins. Sometimes the cleverness worked well. Take the “Spring rolls”. A thin, perfectly humidified Vietnamese rice paper was stretched over a deep soup plate at the bottom of which there was a bit of dipping sauce. The perfectly cooked prawn rested on top of the rice paper together with a sprinkle of flowers and herbs from the chef’s farm. After presenting and describing the dish to us, Mrs. Takazawa deftly rolled up the whole thing. It was a visual feast followed by a gustatory one. Fashionable techniques from “molecular cuisine” were abundantly evident: foams, methyl cellulose, liquid nitrogen…

At this level of cooking, given all the technical brilliance, one is compelled to ask: How does it all add up? A meal is necessarily a sum of many parts, a kaiseki dinner even more so. The question of harmony and synthesis inevitably arises. I am sad to report that the ten dishes did not add up to a coherent ensemble. Some dishes were successful. Some were downright ordinary, even the visually gorgeous “koi” foie gras. Some, like the Scallop Spaghetti were too clever for their own good. I must commend Mr. Takazawa for his effort to master and inject Western ideas and techniques into the age-old kaiseki tradition. Yet in spite of this frenetic attempt at innovation, the most satisfying dish was the clam soup with bamboo shoots from Kyoto. Purely traditional, simple, honest, and delicious. In the end, while I was disappointed that the ten courses were unequal in their tastes, I felt most let down by the disparate nature of the meal. Too much technique yet nothing fits together.

There were four tables that evening. My girlfriend was the only guest whose native language was Japanese. The other three tables were occupied by people from Mexico, Singapore, and China. Mrs. Takazawa spoke to them only in English. For our meal and three glasses of sake, we paid almost ten times as much as we would for a decent, above average meal in the United States. This restaurant is fast becoming a fashionable place that only caters to the global nouveau riche. International, un-grounded, uprooted, and ultimately soulless. Now I know why there are no Michelin stars.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
13 Thank sd122
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Wonderful - One of Asia's finest”
Reviewed May 24, 2014 via mobile

Be lucky enough to secure a table here and you'll be in for a night you'll remember for the rest of your life.

This is an inspiring place. Both food and service are incredibly well crafted. It is obvious that the chef has a vision of how he'd like his restaurant to look and feel for every customer who walks in. Every aspect has been thought through with tremendous detail. You are truly in for a treat here.

We had no less than 11 courses. Every single one tasted incredible, and we were blown away by the presentation and exquisite detail of all of them. Dishes like Scallop Spaghetti, Smoking Bonito and Candleholder make you realise how much can be done with food. The cheesecake that appeared in shapes of Camembert at the end was just delightful.

The menu at the top says "Enjoy Your Imagination" - it should be "Enjoy the Chef's Imagination" - he is one inspired man who I would recommend to any visitor lucky enough to visit Tokyo.

One of the world's finest restaurants, and the fact that the recognised critics such as Michelin have yet to spot it makes even more special. Thank you to Akiko and her husband for making this a night to remember. We'll be back.

Visited May 2014
1 Thank Fry_Travel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 123 helpful votes
“The restaurant formerly known as Aronia”
Reviewed May 20, 2014

Excellent. Excellent. Nothing short of excellent. Before coming, we read that this was one of the top 10 life changing experiences. They were right. Takazawa ruined us for other restaurants. The attention to detail, the theatrical presentation, the friendliness and service, the morsels of food that magically appeared before us. It was all great. We managed to snag a reservation after emailing our gracious hostess. Had a little trouble finding the place initially, but we managed with the help of google maps. Once inside, the magic started. Quaint little morsels of food. Playfully presented, skillfully made with love. Spurning the traditional wine list, we opted for a beer brewed from grapes (!!!) which was tasty and reminded us of the finest french champagne (for a fraction of the price).

This was swiftly followed by several dishes, the most memorable of which was the Ratatouille which is also Chef Takazawa's signature dish. Others not in any order of merit include smoky fish broth, candles made of foie gras. A pork rillette for spreading on bread which the chef grills for you. It is almost too much to take in. By the end, a duck dish with a lovely purple swirl was presented, which was too much for me to handle. The husband gleefully gulped this down. Dessert and mignardises accompanied by tea, coffee or a herbal infusion (a very nice touch).

A truly lovely experience. 2 thumbs and 2 big toes way up. Will be back for more. Soon. Maybe next week?

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
2 Thank aiguebelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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