When planning my trip to Japan, I got a tip from a friend of a friend, that I should try the world´s first Michelin-Starred Ramen at Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta. Of course I wanted to try that since I never ate in a Michelin-Starred restaurant before.
Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta
Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (Facebook) is a tiny 9-seats restaurant in Tokyo. The closest metro station is Sugamo and it´s only a few minutes walking from there. Tsuta was opened in 2012 by it´s owner Yuki Onishi.
Since there are only a few seats and you can´t make a reservation in advance, Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta created a whole system to be able to serve as many Ramen lovers a possible.
How to get a seat
Here is what you have to do:
The early bird catches the worm
- You have to go to Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta as early as possible in the morning (on the day that you actually want to eat there). They open at 11:00 am, but the staff is already there preparing the food. I read that some people go already at 7:00 am. However, I didn´t want to wake up so early. Me and my boyfriend went there at around 9:00 am and we were still lucky. But I guess that after 11:00 am it will be hard.
- After paying 1000 Yen per person (~8 €), you will receive a colored card with a designated time. Depending on how early you go, you will be able to get an early lunch time or a later one. In my case I got a 1:00 pm slot. In general they serve lunch from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and counting that there are only 9 seats, there are not too many cards available every day.
It´s worth the wait
- Once you have your ticket, come back at your designated time slot and queue. Please follow the instructions that are hanged out on the wall on how to behave during your waiting time. Some of these rules are to queue in 2 lines and leave space in the middle, so the people that live in the house behind can pass.
- Although you have a card with a timing, that doesn´t mean you don´t have to wait long. We were lucky and it took us only about 40 min, but I read that one girl waited also 5 hours.
- When you are the first in line, the staff will hand out a paper with instructions and you will get your 1000 Yen back. After a while they will ask you in and you can finally enter.
- Now you have to order your meal by using the vending machine. It´s easy to figure it out since there is a menu where you can look up the dish numbers. I was a bit disappointed since the dish that I wanted to eat was already sold out (as well as the second best option). Well, I decided for a simple Ramen dish with pork (and was crying inside to not get to try the egg).
- Sit down at the bench until you will get seated.
- Now the fun part begins and you can enjoy your Ramen! 🙂
For me it was a very funny experience. The person next to me (an Asian guy) was slurping his Ramen so loud, that I couldn´t stop laughing. It sounded like a vacuum cleaner. He was eating super fast and very serious. You have to know that in Japan usually it´s very rude to make noises while eating, but it´s ok if you eat soup and it´s a sign that it tastes good.
I really enjoyed my Ramen and it tasted perfectly. I added a little slurping here and there ;). Since I am not so familiar with chop sticks still, it took me a while to finish up.
Definitely I can recommend the whole experience and it´s a great opportunity to try a Michelin-Starred restaurant for a very cheap price.
Btw, It´s not allowed to take any pictures of the kitchen, but it´s fine to take pics of your food.
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