‘French Cuisine’ is commonly understood as luxurious, and even a little forbidding. However, modern day French restaurants have evolved beyond pure haute-couture, with a variety of bistro-esque and casual destinations bringing the elegant and wonder-filled culinary style to a wider audience. Below are 7 magnificent French restaurants we have discovered, a selection for those who choose to take the high-road in Ginza eats.
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~The Essence of French Cuisine; A Parisian Giant’s Grande Maison~
Dominique Bouchet Tokyo, locateed in the heart of Ginza, offers an extraordinary experience and a taste of the renowned namesake chef’s kitchen. Chef Bouchet, a leading figure in French culinary evolution, regularly visits this location himself to bestow the most recent advancements from Paris; protege chef Kota Tanaka leads kitchen in his absence, and serves a menu more than worthy of its 2 stars. Dominique Bouchet Tokyo, with a focus on ‘Heritage’, recreates traditional dishes in a modern manner; whilst honoring the essential ‘sauce’, Dominique Bouchet’s kitchen contemporizes French cuisine with a scaling back in butter and oils to realize savory yet light and delicate tastes. The interior, designed with a Parisian apartment in mind, is both elegant and calm; the dining room boasts a removable partition for flexible numbers, and a private room up to 8, making this a perfect destination for a variety of uses. Relax and enjoy an unforgettable evening, alongside exquisite pairings of champagnes and French wines straight from the red brick cellar, at this luxurious Grande Maison.
・Address: 1-5-6, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch：12:00~ 13：30(L.O.) Dinner：18:00~ 20：30(L.O.)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Ginza Station Exit A13 (Tokyo Metro Ginza/Hibiya Lines)
3-minute walk from Ginza-Itchōme Station Exit 6 (Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line)
~‘Culinary Masters’ Award-Winning Health-Friendly French Cuisine~
3 minutes from either Ginza or Higashi-Ginza station, Ginza Kansei is run by 30-year veteran chef Mikiyasu Sakata. Chef Sakata devotes his life to cooking, professing it to be his joy to ‘interpret the essence of ingredients, and create delicious plates that bring joy to my guests’. In keeping to his mantra, chef Sakata concocts delicate dishes that embody the essential flavors and textures of his ingredients, and focuses on French cuisine that is at once delicious and health-conscious. Awarded the Bronze accolade in the government-sponsored ‘Culinary Masters’ awards of 2011, chef Sakata is also a master of Bourgogne wines. His selection and pairing are also a secret favorite of fans, with the pairing offerings accompanying the monthly chef’s course a sublime starting point for any wine-avid guest. With private rooms for 2-12 and full floors available from groups of 10 and up, Kansei is a perfect location for dates, celebrations, and receptions alike; do try calling, for a flexible yet extraordinary cultured restaurant experience.
・Address: 7-12-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: 10:30~15:00 (L.O.14:30) Dinner: 17:30~22:30 (L.O.21:30)
・Directions: 5-minute walk from Asakusabashi Station (Exit A1), Toei Asakusa Line
~‘Okayama X France’; A New Take on Healthy-Organic French~
In a corner of Ginza satellite Shintomicho, a nondescript herringbone-patterned door beckons visitors to a vivid and elegant hall of incredible culinary wealth. Plénitude’s owner-chef Kazuyuki Imada, trained in a starred Lyonnaise restaurant, combines his French and Okayama-prefecture roots to create health-conscious French dishes. Focusing on additive-free organic ingredients, the chef sources from select producers in his home-countryside; his wine list too is centered on organic, with a lineup of French labels for harmonic pairing. The simple grace Plénitude’s menu, accented by pure white plates from Bernardaud, exemplifies chef Imada’s style; the essences of nature, to be enjoyed with least foreign intervention. With only a chef’s course for either lunch or dinner, guests are invited to taste the flavorful blend of Okayama and France under the worthy stewardship of Plénitude’s kitchen. The hall, sanctuary-like with rays of sunlight shining in, is complete with a semi-private room for up to 8, perfect for lunch receptions and anniversaries alike. Flexibility in the form of vegetarian menus and French and English language acceptance is a further reason to try this unorthodox-yet sublime French experience.
・Address: 1-6-11, Sintomi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: 11:30~15:00 (L.O.13:00) Dinner:18:00~23:00(L.O.21:00)
・Directions: 1 min walk form Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line Shintomicho 2nd Exit
5 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Hibiya Line Hatchobori A 3 Exit A
~A Time-Transcending New World of French Inherited from ‘A Nu, Retrouvez-Vous’~
Looking down from the 13th floor of Ginza’s largest commercial complex GINZA SIX is ‘l'homme du temps signé à nu’, a sister Hiroo’s renowned ‘à nu, retrouvez-vous’. Chef Yuichi Minohara, former sous-chef at ‘à nu, retrouvez-vous’ under owner-chef Shohei Shimono, seeks to ‘found a new era of French dining in Japan refocusing on the essences of French cuisine’. His ingredients, the best of the season shipped straight from sources around Japan, include farm-fresh greens from contract farms in Nagano and Kanazawa, the day’s catch from Yamaguchi’s Hagi port, and Ishigaki-beef from Okinawa. Chef Minohara channels inheritance from ‘à nu, retrouvez-vous’, but also harbors a never-ending venturing-spirit for improvement; exquisite dishes bursting with the best of the season’s fruits, and top-of-the-line hospitality. Accompanying the kitchen’s creations are wines, a full list ranging from champagnes and bourgognes to new world and organic labels, available from the glass. The hall, designed for comfort for guests both domestic and foreign, is adorned with ‘words’ evocating the ‘moment’s sensory pleasures and feelings’ of feminine grace and strength. The counter seats, where the chef awaits for easy talk, is opt for dating, whilst the 8-seat private room and 4-seat semi-private rooms are perfect for business receptions and family occasions. The menu, flexible with vegetarian and halal options, and the availability of English-speaking staff, makes for a restaurant experience perfect any.
・Address: 6-10-1, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: Lunch: 11:00~15:00 (L.O. 13:00) Dinner: 17:30~23:30 (L.O. 20:30)
・Directions: 2 minutes on foot from Tokyo metro Ginza line Ginza A3 exit
2 minutes on foot from Tokyo metro Hibiya line Ginza A3 exit
~A Comfort Bistro in the Middle of Ginza~
A casual French bistro in Higashi-Ginza, Le Vin Et La Viande is a happy and comfy location reminiscent of Paris’ own outfits. Serving traditional regional French dishes using organic vegetables and fresh seafood from Tsukiji, with an additional winter specialite of Gibier, Le Vin is often full of guests enjoying its casual delicacies. Like its French counterparts, Le Vin’s wine list too is hearty, with unique and varied labels from across the country waiting for the perfect mariage. For a casual yet satisfying restaurant experience in the middle of high-class Ginza, head with friends and family to Le Vin Et La Viande.
・Address: 3-9-18, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: [Weekdays] Lunch: 11:30~15:00 （L.O. 14:30） Dinner: 18:00~23:30 （L.O. 22:00）
[Weekends] Lunch: 11:30~15:00 （L.O. 14:30） Dinner: 17:30~22:30 （L.O. 22:00）
・Directions: 3-minute walk from Ginza station (Exit A12), Ginza Line
3-minute walk from Higashi-ginza station (Exit A2), Hibiya Line
~A ‘True, Authentic Beauty’; the Classic Ginza Grande Maison~
An elegant underground hideout in the heart of Ginza, ‘l'art et la manièr’ awaits guests with the 250-plus labels of wine that owner-sommelier Noriatsu Yoshioka collected, through years visits straight to the producing sources. The executive chef Hiromi Koshimizu, formerly of Tokyo Baycourt Club’s Mal D’Amour, is a french trained avid who jumped into the world of French cuisine after an impressionate experience at the starred La Pyramide. ‘l'art et la manièr’s courses, infused with the season’s transient expressions, are delicate and sweet, a fitting partner to the soft white-toned main hall. Contrastingly, the private rooms are decadently ornated, with an extraordinary luxurious feel. Enjoy premier hospitality and flexibility ranging from vegetarian to children’s menus for the perfect date, reception, or family celebration.
・Address: 3-4-17, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: [Tue~Sat]11:30~13:00 (L.O.） [Mon~Sat]18:00~20:30 (L.O.)
・Directions: 3-minute walk from Ginza Station (Exit C8), Tokyo Metro Ginza Line
~Enjoy Authentic Wine and Meats at Le Vin Et La Viande’s Sister Bistro~
Sandwiched in between the Apple Store and Printimps Ginza, Le Vin Deux is the sister shop of the popular Le Vin Et La Viande bistro; like its elder sibling, Le Vin Deux offers a casual restaurant serving exquisite French local cuisine. The dishes, utilizing fresh organic greens and seafood from Tsukiji, as well as fresh home-baked bread of natural yeast, are the kitchen’s pride and joy. To partner is an extensive collection of wines from all over France; with a variety of tastes from each locale and seasonals bottles to spice, guests can enjoy a myriad of mariages with every visit. Add the meats, and the owner’s own skills as a seasoned hunter, and voila; the classic French pair of ‘wines and meats’, with delicious gibier offerings. For an easy dining destination with close friends and others, do choose Le Vin Deux of Ginza.
・Address: 3-3-12, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Hours: [Weekdays] Lunch: 11:30~15:00 (L.O.14:30) Dinner: 18:00~23:30 (L.O. 22:00)
[Weekends and public holidays] Lunch: 11:30~15:00 (L.O.14:30) Dinner: 17:30~23:30 (L.O. 22:00)
・Directions: 1-minute walk from Ginza station (Exit C8), Ginza Line
Ginza’s Main Street, the internationally renowned symbol of the centuries-old high-end commercial district, led to the proliferation of local ‘~~Ginza’ streets at the heart of many a regional town across Japan. Today, foreigners and locals alike flock to the multinational brand boutiques that line the street, especially on the weekends when, as since 1970, an expansive stretch is zoned as a pedestrian paradise.
Address: 1-chome~8-chome, Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
A Kabuki-only theater established in 1889, the Kabuki-za is located just a few minutes walk from the bustling Ginza 4-chome crossing. The anchor of Kabuki-style traditional theatre, it has remained throughout the Imperial Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras as well as the postwar Showa and current Heisei periods as the pillar of the art as it evolved, integrating new techniques and trends in refining its existence to adjust to newer times. As only the best perform at the Kabuki-za stage, the titles staged too tend to be those traditionally famous and popular. However, in recent times the theatre has adjusted to adopt its international following, with an optional foreign language guide to assist those not fluent in Japanese; hence, we would highly recommend attending a staging or two of Japan’s traditional arts during your stay, with Kabuki not being the least of them.
Address: Ginza 4-12-15, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Japan
The headquarters of Wako, the spun-off retail wing of luxury watch and accessories giant Seiko, the ‘Ginza Wako’ building, as it is affectionately called, is a cultural and historical icon. Worth a rumored almost 100 billion USD in the frenzy days of the ‘Japanese Miracle’, the luxury retailer is still frequented by the famous and affluent for a variety of commercial uses, and also often hosts a diverse array of events at its 6th floor art gallery ‘Wako Hall’. Of course, being at the heart of Ginza’s iconic 4-chome crossing, thousands of visitors choose to meet, greet, and be merry on the Wako’s premises as well, and as an 86-year old timepiece overlooking Ginza’s glorious days, the building is currently a Heritage of Modern Industrialization, as designated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
Address: 4-5-11 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
The Mitsukoshi Department Store, one of the last remaining domestic luxury full-range retail giants, is a postwar icon symbolizing the consumerization of Japan’s modern economy. A hallmark of the Ginza strip sitting right across fellow icon ‘Wako’, Mitsukoshi is a much-loved shopping destination dating several centuries in enterprise history, and its modern day rendition in the heart of Ginza boasts a total 16 floors of high-end restaurants, 200+ fashion boutiques, and the largest cosmetics retail floor space in the area. The complex also has multiple rest stops for those tired from the stresses of shopping and walking, with a variety of neat cafes and a 9th floor ‘Ginza Terrace’ overlooking the street to complete the perfect elegant afternoon.
Address: 4-6-16 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Designed by the decorated architect Kisho Kurokawa and built in 1972 as the world’s first capsule-style apartment-housing complex, the Nakagin Capsule Tower is renown as both an emblem of Kurokawa’s early works, and a symbol of the postwar ‘Metabolism’ architectural movement spearheaded by him and his peers. The ‘capsules’, round-window bestowed rectangular blocks, are each tiny and minimalistic yet functional living quarters; the tower’s concept allows for the addition and subtraction of these capsules in tandem with the population’s organic movements, a revolutionary architectural idea. Hence, despite the inconvenience and growing concerns over durability, the tower itself is a much-loved cultural icon, with many owners using it as office or second home. Until recently, the joys of living in these quarters were known only to owners; however, with the advent of Airbnb, it has become increasingly popular as a short-term destination for fans and visitors, especially since its demolishing has been decided for a date not too far away.
Address: 8-16-10 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
・Taxi drivers are increasingly capable regarding English, so it may be worth an attempt.
・As long as you know your destination address, the taxi's on-board navigation will do the rest.
Train System Pointers
・Japan's Railways run almost perfectly on-time, so calculating transit times is easy.
・Signs and announcements are multilingual; when in doubt, just listen or see.
・Tokyo's subway system can be difficult to navigate; if lost, officials at the ticket gates are willing to help.
・Japan is a safe country; traveling with small children and strollers will be perfectly fine.
1.Ginza, despite its location in the heart of the city, has a surprising many parks and offers beautiful scenery during cherry-blossom season (Tsukijigawa-Unemebashi Park, Kyobashi Park, Ginza Sakura Avenue, GINZA SIX, etc.）.
2.‘Ginza’ has a decidedly fitting meaning of ‘bustling place’.
3.The origins of ‘Ginza’ lie in the Edo-period mint of silver coins; in 1612, the office in charge of minting silver, originally located in current-day Shizuoka, was moved to its modern-day area in the new capital of Edo (Tokyo).
4.There are studies stating that during the Edo-period (17-19C), the area that is current day Ginza was a peninsula protruding into Tokyo Bay.
5.There are hundreds of locations with the ‘Ginza’ name throughout Japan, but the ‘Ginza’ in Tokyo is the original.
6.The first authentic Indian cuisine restaurant, run by an Indian native, opened its doors in Ginza in 1949.
7.The ‘gunkan-maki’ style of sushi, where the topping is held in place on top of the rice not due to the chef pressing the two together but with a wall of nori seaweed, commonly seen with pieces of ‘ikura (salmon roe)’ or ‘uni (sea urchin)’, was first invented in Ginza.