Ever since I came to Tokyo, I have never been to an izakaya. Smoke, drinks, and rowdy salary men. Not a good combo for kids and sensitive noses.
Izakayas are shops that mainly serve drinks and plates of pica-pica. People go there mainly to unwind, talk about their day, and complain to their bosses or colleagues when they are drunk enough. An acceptable practice only when you are drunk because you are not be responsible for any thing you say.
So here’s what we did!
1 Go on a sunday.
Izakayas are less crowded on Sundays. Salarymen are tired all week long, so Sunday’s their rest day.
2 Have an early dinner.
Instead of eating at 7pm, try to get to the izakaya earlier. 6pm seems like the perfect time. The izakaya wasn’t a ghost town, but the guests weren’t drunk (yet).
3 Stay as far away as you can from other guests.
Smoking is generally allowed but if you are seated far from them, hopefully the smoke won’t reach your table.
4 Choose a chain izakaya.
You can’t go to quaint little shops coz those sits 20 in a compact space. Chains will give you ample room!
The izakaya (山内農場) we went to specializes in chicken.
Tuna and avocado
Fried Tofu with bonito flakes
Chicken skin in ponzu sauce.
They were right! Both chicken dishes were good, the rest are meh. We were there for the experience anyway. They had this tablet that allows you to check your orders, the total, and if you need to divide the bill, automatically does it for you. Pretty neat! And quite useful when it’s 2am and you’re pissed drunk.