...an expat libertine with a penchant for sparkly dining partners, jazz bars and izakaya.
Opinions here expressed are not necessarily shared by any with whom I associate. Fault for errors and any offense caused is entirely my own.

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Entries in Ebisu (18)


Es, Ebisu  エス、恵比寿

Es enjoys pretty good, and generally consistent, reviews online, and I have it on good authority that the dining experience on the main floor is enjoyable. On this particular visit we ended up seated outside on the small terrace in front of the restaurant, huddled under a gas heater willing ourselves to be warm. The staff were pleasant, the open kitchen with pizza kiln to the rear of the terrace a nice touch, and the food reasonable in terms of both quality and price. 

The lunch menu provided all the Italian staples, and baskets of bread helped fill the corners. The tuna salad was about as dull as they come, but the corn and potato soup and prosciutto-topped margherita made up for it. Although no longer on the menu, my dining partner mentioned to the staff that she’d once enjoyed a cheese risotto there and had hoped to repeat the experience; the request was speedily accommodated, but the risotto didn’t live up to expectations. 

Obviously better visited once the weather improves if dining al fresco, but I’m curious to try the restaurant proper of an evening.

Tuna salad - dull, limp, uninspired 

Corn and potato soup - smooth and creamy 

Bread and olive oil - a simple pleasure, and replenished if asked for

Cheese risotto - somewhat bland

Margherita topped with prosciutto - moreish





Uncle Tom, Ebisu  ウンクルトム、恵比寿

Tokyo is dotted with these old-style Western/ spaghetti “restaurants” serving up antiquated Japanese takes on Italian staples and domestic creations utilizing all manner of seemingly incompatible ingredients.

Uncle Tom, situated a short jog from Ebisu station’s East exit, is one of the better known and loved of the genre.

Usually busy, especially of a lunchtime, the portions are pretty good, the prices extremely reasonable, and the pints of Yebisu beer very cheap. 

The atmosphere is redolent of a rāman-ya, and the interior rather 1970s/ 80s, complete with a collection of prints by John Lennon. 

The salads, although sizable, aren't prizewinners, but the spaghetti is strangely compelling. The asparagus, bacon and egg pasta was certainly moreish, and I have it on good authority that the cod roe and nattō variety is equally tasty…


03 3442 1934

Uncle Tom


MLB Café Tokyo, Ebisu  恵比寿

Yet another of Ebisu’s many attractions – this time on the Yebisu Garden Place side - MLB Café Tokyo is far more than its name might suggest.

Housed within a large red brick building, complete with leafy courtyards, the complex includes not only a ground floor café-bar/ diner and baseball memorabilia shop, but also VIP lounges, a restaurant and wedding chapel.

Having been raised on gentlemanly pursuits such as cricket, even the fundamentals of baseball are at best a mystery. Even more mysterious was the connection between the two dominant themes of MLB Café Tokyo’s interior; Major League Baseball, and traditional Japanese pottery.

The juxtaposition of sporting paraphernalia, flat screen TVs and lovingly displayed wabi-sabi teacups and bowls did not, however, detract from the reasonably well-crafted G&Ts, nor the tropical looking concoction favoured by my dining partner.

The menu, for the most part pan-American and Italian classics, was redolent of Frankie & Benny’s. One of its features being the inclusion of “classic ballpark foods,” whatever they might be…

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the risotto turned out to be a waste of time, although the salted veggies accompanying it served as a tasty bar snack, as did the fries (very much in the McDonald’s vein) and nachos. The royal milk tea wasn’t my idea (of course), but the chocolate cake made up for it, if only a little.



MLB Café Tokyo


Le Lion, Ebisu  ル・リオン、恵比寿

Being both shocked and dismayed by the queue outside L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, my dining partner and I trundled on over to Le Lion, a small Lyonnaise bouchon-styled French restaurant, in the Ebisu backstreets between Meiji Dori and the station, not far from the excellent Hainan Jeefan Shokudo.

Not large, the restaurant interior looked inviting enough, and the covered terrace area provided for a nice atmosphere (surrounded by surprisingly well behaved pet dogs) on a warm and admirably rain free afternoon.

Although both Tokyoeater and Terry thought well of Le Lion a few years ago, this particular lunch excursion found it somewhat wanting. Either time has taken its toll, or the lunchtime business doesn't do that later in the day justice.   

An amuse of dry bread proceeded our mains; steak and roast beef, respectively, both propped up with a miserly splash of mashed potato and over-cooked, under-represented, vegetables. The steak came with mustard puree that served to moisten the bread a little. Both pieces of meat were of the fatty persuasion so beloved of Japanese diners, and thus too oily and soft-textured for my liking.

For dessert, lemon tart and a delicious, sickly-sweet chocolate mousse that would have faired better after an evening meal.



Le Lion


Kagomi, Ebisu  籠女、恵比寿

Kagomi is an enjoyable izakaya some ten minutes walk from Ebisu station in the direction of Hiroo – near Ebisu 4-chome, to be precise.

Part of a chain, which belongs to a group running a handful of restaurant/ izakaya brands, the emphasis is on good portions, a broad menu – regional okonomiyaki to fusion salads – and drawing female customers, as demonstrated by their ladies’ party plans and, perhaps, the tone the menu strikes. 

If this izakaya has a claim to fame, then it must be the otoshi – all-you-can-eat salad, and a surprisingly good one at that, stuffed full of beans, peppers, radish, lettuce and other leaves. 

The erengi in chives and butter were great, as was the cheese and asparagus bacon roll, although it didn't come anywhere near the molten cheese heaven of Kushiwakamaru’s cheese-stuffed peppers. 

Although tasty, and providing ballast to offset the beer guzzling, the okonomiyaki was somewhat disappointing. This only reinforces my belief that good okonomiyaki are only to found at dedicated okonomiyaki-ya.

Kagomi get’s the mid-range budget izakaya positioning just right, and provides a welcome excuse to visit the side of Ebisu that I tend to neglect.





Osteria Beverino, Ebisu  ベヴェリーノ、恵比寿

Open only a few weeks, Osteria Beverino is the latest eatery to try its luck on the perilous stretch of Meiji Dori between Ebisu and Higashi.

The space is pleasant enough, although at this time of year the vaulted ceiling doesn’t make for a cozy atmosphere. 

Lunch sets at ¥1,000 a pop were the order of the day. 

A pile of truly dull salad, and a coffee included, the mains were sizable, too. The Pasta del Giorno, essentially mushroom and tuna spaghetti, was immediately offered in its super-sized format.  

My dining partner’s lasagna received no complaints. If anything were lacking, it was soup.

As far as weekday lunches go, this Italian restaurant is worth a visit while it’s still in business. 



Osteria Beverino



Kappa-chan, Ebisu  かっぱちゃん、恵比寿

After a week of Kushiwakamaru overkill, a visit to Ebisu Yokocho’s Kappa-chan came as a welcome change while offering the opportunity to try someone else’s yakitori

On the west side of Ebisu station, next to Seven-Eleven, Ebisu Yokocho remains popular after opening its doors to the public 3-4 years ago. Essentially just an alley - running through the ground floor of an old apartment building - lined with small, yatai-like stalls serving various staples such as yakiniku, oden, okonomiyaki, and yakitori, with a wine bar thrown in for good measure. 

Always busy, the atmosphere is in the faux-Showa vein, with hanging lanterns, Hoppy posters and beer crate-seating aplenty. Kappa-chan is the first establishment on the right as you come though the entrance. Not spacious, but we still managed a party of five without any discomfort. 

The food was pretty good. Not Kushiwaka good, but still delicious - the cherry tomatoes surprisingly so. Perhaps a little dainty, though.

The sasami topped with wasabi was lethal. We like wasabi, but all but one of our party nearly had a funny turn after experiencing it here. My favourite of the night was the sasami with yuzu-kosho (citrus and pepper). 

Worthy of a second visit.