My first dining experience in Gotanda (a residential neighborhood in Tokyo) was a comedy of errors due to a vast language barrier, but in the end we were fed and had a tasty meal. The restaurant looks like a regular local izakaya but it specialized in hot pot. It took almost an hour to order because the staff didn’t speak any English. They tried avoiding us at first, and then ended up calling some one on the phone and writing down a choice of broth flavors in English for us. My friend and I ordered a seafood assortment hot pot to share. We weren’t sure exactly how to cook all the items on the platter, which included whole scallops, shrimp, muscles, and fish, but our waiter helped us out with cooking most of it. One of the best parts was drinking the broth that everything was cooked in at the end. Below is a picture of my confusion.
One of the nicest dining experiences I’ve had in Tokyo this semester was at an oyster bar in Gotanda aptly named “Tokyo Oyster Bar”, and it went without any communication breakdowns (a rarity for me) due to the wonderful English skills of our waiter. I looooove oysters and this place did them right. It wasn’t cheap, but for oysters, it was a good deal. We also splurged on a decent bottle of wine that was super drinkable. Tokyo Oyster Bar has an extensive wine list, with many coming from Washington. The first dish we had was just raw oysters from Japan, and then we had oyster bibimbap in a hot stone bowl and jumbo fried oysters, which was actually several oysters fried together in a ball. YUMMY
In order to appease my sweet-tooth, and to purchase another less expensive bottle of wine, we left the oyster bar to go to an izakaya down the street. We successfully found a bottle of red wine for under ten bucks and the only communication error ended up being in our benefit – we meant to order one chocolate brownie/berry/ice cream dessert, but instead we received two. I was okay with that.
My most recent time eating in Gotanda was at amazing ramen shop that my friend introduced me to. This place puts dumplings in the ramen!! How wonderfully excessive!! They also provide these spectacular dried onion bits to garnish to ramen with. The portion is huge (I got a tummy ache from finishing my entire bowl), but it also more pricey than the average bowl of ramen. It is so worth it, though. Freaking delicious.