"Homely tempura and a splash of theatre. It’s simple, it’s local and it’s really tasty."
Hidden in a corner of the Tokyo’s maze-like Koenji district sits Tensuke; a small, intimate restaurant serving up some of the best tempura you can get in this huge metropolis. There’s nothing else on the menu, it is just tempura. And they really know how to make it.
You’ll receive a wonderful trickle of vegetables and seafood, all being prepared in the narrow, open kitchen by the busy staff. But perhaps best of all, you’ll get their seriously famous and unforgettable deep fried egg - crispy with batter on the outside, and a lovely soft, runny centre. It is the perfect accompaniment to the array of dishes that will come your way.
It’s best to sit at the bar if there’s any space. Not only can you see all of the fresh tempura being prepared in the kitchen, but the head chef has a few surprises in store.
Koenji is a long way from the crowds and touristy spots in Tokyo, but that’s exactly why it’s worth a visit. Tensuke gives you the perfect dinner option while you’re there. Just get ready for a bit of queue, the locals love it. Who can blame them.
Price Low to Medium
Address 3 Chome-22-7 Koenjikita, 杉並区 Suginami City, Tokyo 166-0002, Japan
Child friendly If they like tempura, yes :)
Here's the story of how I became such a fan.
I wanted to get out from Shibuya, Shinjuku and the other touristy areas. Tokyo is such a big city and it only felt right to get out from the centre. One such area was Koenji. Filled with narrow, busy streets, Koenji is more "local", with little stores, cafes, yakitori joints, and much more. It's also a hub for Tokyo's incredible vintage stores. The owners here restore and keep vintage clothing, furniture and other items with an attention to detail that is totally inspiring. Some of them look genuinely better than new...
It was one day here in Koenji that I found Tensuke. Just before 6pm, I was lucky enough to stumble upon it. I obediently joined the small queue of locals, not knowing exactly what to expect. But I was not disappointed. Not at all.
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