A snazzy joint only a few minutes’ walk from either Tokyo or Yurakucho Station, Yanmo is serving up some delectable cheapo friendly lunch sets.
Yanmo, known for its daily catching and grilling of fish from the Izu Peninsula, is a perfect spot for a sophisticated lunch against a backdrop of sleek, modern Japanese-style decor and ambiance. A visit to this restaurant is similar to some Michelin-star restaurants in that while the dinner prices (5,000-10,000 yen/person) might be a closer match to the swankiness of the place, the lunch prices are an absolute steal. Mainly finely dressed office workers from the area are in attendance, so you might want to slip into something slightly more put together than “shorts and a tee” summer gear.
The lunch menu is, unfortunately, only in Japanese. Should you not be able to read it, here’s a handy English translation so you can get by with a bit of pointing.
Sawara yuzukayaki (Japanese Spanish mackerel grilled with yuzu) – 1,400
Karei saikyozuke (saikyo-marinated flounder) – 1,400
Menuke misozuke (miso-marinated perch) – 1,400
Saba misozuke (miso-marinated mackerel) – 1,400
Saba shioyaki (salt grilled mackerel) – 1,100
(All sets come with a free bowl of rice and miso soup)
We ordered the saba shioyaki (cheapo instinct to pick the least expensive thing off the menu) and were more than happy with our choice. Seeing as grilling is Yanmo’s speciality (and that saba shioyaki is a commonly prepared dish in Japan), the mackerel was grilled to perfection—a thin, crisp exterior enveloping a moist and flaky interior. It was oily, but not greasy, and the mash-potato-looking ball of finely shredded daikon (usually topped with a splash of soy sauce) was a refreshing contrast to the salty fish.
The lunch set (including the soup and rice) was just the right amount of food to feel full without getting hit with the itis.
(N.B. If you plan on ordering from this lunch menu, you won’t be able to make reservations, however, we were met with only a 10-15 minute wait before being seated.
As expected in Japan, the service is phenomenal. Servers were friendly and continuously filling up glasses of water or tea without intruding on your chow down or your conversation with dining companions.
Finding the Place
Yanmo is in the Shin-Tokyo Building (B1F) found at 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Look for the restaurant directory on the main floor of the building that’ll point you down a level and in the right direction.
There’s also an equally good branch of Yanmo located about 2 minutes walk from Omotesando Station in the Minami-Aoyama neighbourhood.
Our video guide to the tuna auctions at the shiny new Toyosu Fish Market