9 Great Restaurants in Gakugei-Daigaku, Tokyo’s Little-Known Neighbourhood

Gakugei-Daigaku is on the Toyoko line, a small neighbourhood between Shibuya and Jiyugaoka that relatively few people know about. Despite its lack of fame, this area has a mixture of a local sense of community and the exciting vibe of a city neighbourhood. It’s great for shopping, dining, and drinking. Here are nine restaurants within walking distance of Gakugei-Daigaku Station that are worth visiting for their friendly staff and high quality food.

1. Couki Shisen Menjo

Fans of spicy food can try this restaurant–a ten minute walk from the station–which has some of the spiciest ramen I’ve ever tasted! For those who’d like to try the hottest ramen in Meguro, order the hot sesame ramen “rekka.” This restaurant has an English menu and also sells some original tasty dishes including various kinds of ramen of varying spice levels, homemade gyoza dumplings, and rice and meat dishes.

2. Shanhai

The staff at this Chinese eatery are super friendly and sweet. Dishes here include shu-mai dumplings, omu-rice, hotpot with melt-in-your-mouth meat, and Chinese ramen. This restaurant is slightly more expensive than the average restaurant, but for the price, you get high quality service, a local vibe, and really delicious food.

3. Shanti Café & Bar

Shanti opened in April 2017 and is a Nepalese restaurant just a five-minute walk from the station and on the same street as Shanhai. The restaurant offers many different kinds of curry, rice, and naan bread. As a relatively new restaurant, the menu is constantly being updated. On the 7th of every month, naan bread is free (since the Japanese word for 7, “nana”, sounds a bit like “naan”) and on weekdays you can get a tasty bento curry lunch box for just 500 yen. Their chicken tikka masala and cheese naan is to die for.

4. Maruhashi

This Japanese restaurant is just a few minutes away from Gakugei-Daigaku Station on foot and has a really great vibe and friendly staff. If you’re in the mood for tempura and soba noodles, visit this place. It’s often difficult to find good soba in Tokyo, but their hot soba noodles served alongside vegetable tempura with grated radish was very enjoyable and at a fair price, too.

5. Songkran

This is my favorite place to go for Thai food. All the staff are from Thailand and they have an extensive menu categorized by noodle, curry, and rice dishes. Their food seems expensive at first but their portions are usually big enough for two people. I highly recommend their spicy and sour seafood fried rice, it’s fantastic!

6. Yaton

This local bar is hidden in the more residential area on 3-chome, but still just a five-minute walk from the train station. The elderly man who works there is just adorable and you can hear the locals having a laugh and a chat together. A variety of alcoholic drinks are available and the owner also cooks delicious dishes such as maguro katsu, potato salad, and yakitori skewered meat.

If you can try to speak a little Japanese and you’re friendly, you’ll be most welcome here!

7. Gyu-Shige Yakiniku

This is by far my favourite place to go for yakiniku. It’s got everything you need for a delicious evening of barbecued food: a variety of meat such as kalbi beef, pork, and sausages, kimchi, fluffy white rice, vegetables, and all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink sets. If you’re in Gakugei-Daigaku in the evening and you’d like to feast on meat, drink beer, sake, and cocktails, and eat until you’re fit to burst, I highly recommend this yakiniku place just a few minutes’ walk from the station.

8. Kontoite

Gakugei-Daigaku has shabu-shabu as well! On the opposite end of the station to the yakiniku restaurant is this quirky Osaka-style place with a loud Kansai old lady running it and mouth-watering shabu-shabu. This healthy, hearty, and satisfying hotpot dish has us visiting again and again.

9. Takaban

Photo credit: George N on Flickr

This is a chain restaurant, and the one in Gakugei-Daigaku is directly in front of the station. This mix of classy restaurant and izakaya has various special offers such as a 1000-yen all-you-can-drink set at certain times and free starters if you add the restaurant’s LINE ID. You can also get great deals on food; last time we were there, we got delicious chanko nabe for less than 1000 yen for two people. Visit this place if you’d like some affordable yet decent quality food and drink in a convenient location.

Gakugei-Daigaku may not be one of the most well-known locations in Tokyo, but it certainly has its own fair share of delicious eateries. A plus side to exploring somewhere off the beaten path is that you’re more likely to meet locals and less likely to end up at somewhere crowded or overpriced. Explore this charming neighbourhood in Meguro and discover your new favourite restaurant!

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