15 Best Cheap Michelin Starred Restaurants in Tokyo

‘Count memories, not calories.’

If you follow this motto during any trip, you must be a foodie at heart.

Then, I can assume that you always plan your trips around cities with some of the most elegant restaurants in the world.

However, you need to look at your budget also at the same time.

We all know that Tokyo is the best food city on this planet.

So, it is no wonder that this Japanese capital has the highest number of Michelin-star restaurants than any other city in the world.

While eating at a Michelin restaurant is on top of the to-do list for any foodie, in most cases, those fancy meals can’t match your budget.

But luckily, in Tokyo, you can eat at some top-rated restaurants without breaking your bank.

And today, I am here to present some of the cheap Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo, where lunch sets and elaborate dinner menus are offered at an affordable price.

15 Most Affordable Michelin Star Restaurants in Tokyo

I have chosen 15 cheap Michelin-starred restaurants out of a large number. Go through the following sections one by one to know the details about them.

Let’s start with a tonkatsu restaurant.

1. Katsuzen

You are visiting Japan but not trying tonkatsu. It can rarely happen.

Tonkatsu, in its most classic form, is a melt-in-your-mouth, breaded, and deep-fried pork cutlet often served with a rich sauce and shredded cabbage.

To enjoy this incomparable taste, go straight to the top at Katsuzen, which is the only Michelin Star tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo.

Japanese fried pork - tonkatsu

Its owner, Etsuo Nagai, has worked as a tonkatsu chef for around 50 years. So, there is no doubt about his tonkatsu-making skill.

The pork of this restaurant comes from black Berkshire kurobuta pigs, which is healthy as it is sourced from a stress-free farm.

A set of lunches will cost you around ¥4,500, including appetizers as well as rice, miso, and pickles.

And if you visit for dinner, it will fork out around ¥8,500.

2. Tsuta

Tsuta, the first ramen restaurant to achieve a Michelin star, is one of Tokyo’s most affordable Michelin-starred restaurants.

It is the place to go for a bowl of ramen like you have never had before.

Ramen

Only 150 bowls of ramen are served here daily. The price is around ‎¥1,000 to ‎¥1,500 per bowl.

The noodles in these bowls are made with buckwheat, which is typically used in making soba noodles. It is to bring a unique little twist to this dish.

The noodle texture is a combination of ramen and soba noodles, firm with softness and chewy with bite.

Tsuta specializes in delicious broths of salt (shio), soy sauce (shoyu), and miso ramen.

Miso Ramen

They use all top-quality, finest ingredients sourced from all across Japan.

The main attraction of this ramen restaurant is its signature dish shoyu soba, which is made using a delicious and unique blend of matured soy sauce, dashi, and black truffle oil.

shoyu soba

To grab those delicious dishes, you have to head there early in the morning to avoid the long queue.

If you wanna get a ticket, go there from 7 am on a weekday or 6:30 am on the weekend. Usually, all the tickets are sold out by 10 am.

Eating ramen at Tsuta will potentially ruin all your future ramen experiences, but it will be worth it.

3. Zuisetsu

Just think about Cantonese flavors with Japanese elegance, and you have got one of the best Michelin restaurants in Tokyo, which is Zuisetsu. Wouldn’t it be great?

As this restaurant specializes in Cantonese cuisine, this means seafood is front-and-center, especially prawns and whitefish.

Cantonese cuisine

They serve an elaborate dinner menu with distinct and exciting flavors.

Though both dinner courses include shark’s fin soup, it is not all about sea creatures.

You will also find soba soup and seasonal mushroom and beef spring rolls in the dinner course menu, which will cost ¥7,000 to ¥10,000.

So expensive. Right?

Mushrooms Soba noodle

Hence, instead of that, you can try a tasty lunch noodles dish or set menu only for ¥1,200 to ¥1,620.

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In addition, a la carte is available during the lunchtime service.

You can also upgrade to a mini-course lunch from ¥2,160, with a range of small exquisite Chinese-flavored bites.

Zuisetsu also specializes in tantalizing tantanmen noodles, featuring strips of cured pork that you should not miss.

4. Saito

You can’t leave Tokyo without trying sushi.

It is a must-try food in Japan, and Saito is the first sushi restaurant to be awarded a three Michelin star rating.

Sushi Master

Chef Takashi Saito of this restaurant is one of the best sushi masters in the world, who meticulously prepares sushi and maintains perfection throughout the whole preparation process.

Famous chef Joël Robuchon, who has the most Michelin stars in the world of any chef, described Saito as the best sushi restaurant in the world.

It may not be the cheapest Michelin sushi in Tokyo, but surprisingly, it is quite affordable if you go there especially for lunch.

Here the lunch courses range from ¥6000 with a great diversity of sushi.

Therefore, if you are a true sushi lover, you should try this Michelin starred sushi in Tokyo.

5. Kyourakutei

The noodles offered in Kyourakutei are some of the best noodles in the world.

In the front window of this restaurant, you can see soba noodles are being made from scratch: the stone-grinding of the buckwheat grains, dough kneading, and finally, the cutting of long, soft threads.

Soba Noodles

The retro atmosphere inside the store is charming and relaxing, which will put you at ease to choose from extensive soba options.

From the soba grains to wasabi, salt, and even the kombu seaweed for the dashi, the chefs here are highly selective about all the ingredients.

The grain-like seeds are sourced from Aizu, located in Fukushima prefecture. On top of that, these different handmade soba noodles are milled fresh on the day they are served.

Hence, be sure that you are getting the best.

They serve both hot and cold soba with toppings like thin slices of pork belly, fish cakes, and creamy yuba or tofu skin.

Yuba

To get the best taste of soba, you can try them made with both 100 percent soba (buckwheat) flour and 80:20 soba to wheat flour.

The pure soba noodles are popular for being darker and firmer, with a nuttier taste.

To enjoy the nutty depth of flavor, try them served cold with a light dipping sauce.

Oh, I forgot to inform you that you can have soba here starting from ¥1000 to ¥1,500.

The price is unbelievably reasonable! Right?

Though it is mainly a soba restaurant, Kyourakutei has a lot more to offer other than noodles.

Depending on your preference, many dishes also come with tempura vegetables and seafood.

6. Tempura Kondo

Famed as one of the best tempura restaurants in Japan, the head chef of Tempura Kondo boasts over 50 years of experience.

It is a Michelin 2-star restaurant that offers traditional tempura in innovative ways.

Chef Kondo is renowned as one of the best tempura chefs in Japan.

Japanese Shrimp Tempura

While serving traditional Edo-style tempura, Chef Kondo is not afraid to do experiments like serving unusual dishes like sea urchin, shrimp heads, and his famous sweet potato.

All the possible seasonal vegetables are arranged in unique and remarkable ways, reflecting the sense of aesthetics and culinary skills of the chef.

Conveniently, they only use fresh and seasonal produce, which are personally selected by the chef.

The shrimps served here are also caught every day to ensure the freshness of the food!

You can dine here for lunch at the starting cost ranging from ¥7,500 to ¥9,500.

7. Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima

Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima is one of the cheapest Michelin star restaurants in Japan, where you can get affordable meals.

This restaurant is popular for its signature dish iwashi (sardines), sourced freshly from the boat by the Tsukiji market.

iwashi

The art of making the perfect sardine is a tradition that has been continued through this family business. And it is now up to the third generation of highly skilled chefs.

Nakajima offers their sardines in five different ways: perfectly deep-fried with panko, simmered in a stock of soy sauce, salt-baked, dipped in a ginger and sesame marinade, and boiled in a Yanagawa-style nabe hot pot.

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You can choose any of them according to your preference.

The set menu features rice, miso soup, tsukemono (pickled vegetables), and green tea.

You can have a set lunch at the cost of ¥800 to ¥900.

This price range puts Nakajima in competition with Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu restaurant for the cheapest Michelin star in Tokyo.

Nakajima also specializes in a Japanese soup owan (means bowl), which is typically associated with traditional kaiseki cuisine.

Kaiseki cuisine

However, its kaiseki dinner menu costs over ¥10,000 per head. Hence I will recommend enjoying a set lunch here.

You have to wait in the long queue that starts well before the restaurant opens, but the unbelievable price and fantastic flavors of Nakajima are well worth that wait.

8. Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu

Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu is the second ramen restaurant in Tokyo that got a Michelin star after Tsuta.

This restaurant is famous for its high-quality Chinese-style tantanmen.

Japanese Chinese Noodle [Tantanmen]

It is a Japanese version of the spicy Sichuan dish made from green onions, minced pork, and a generous dousing of chili oil.

This perfectly firm noodles bowl has a strong sesame flavor and a light punch from the red pepper base.

Offering noodles starting from ¥850 at lunchtime, it holds the title of the cheapest Michelin restaurant in the Japanese capital.

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You can also get soy sauce-based tantanmen, which is light but rich in color and flavor without being too heavy as a typical tantanmen dish.

If you want to add extra spiciness, you need to pay an additional ¥50 yen for that.

There are also affordable bowls of shoyu and shio ramen on the menu, along with rice bowls.

shio ramen

You can even get topping (all day) and side order (evening only) options with it, including thin and thick slices of grilled pork, shrimp wonton, and many more.

Well, there will always be a queue, but don’t mind it since everyone is limited to just one bowl of noodles per sitting.

9. Kaiseki Ohara

Japanese traditional kaiseki cuisine is famous for its use of fresh, seasonal, and regional produce, with an emphasis on presentation, harmony, balance, and technique.

And if you want to try this haute cuisine at an affordable Michelin starred restaurant, then Kaiseki Ohara is the place where you should go.

haute cuisine

This restaurant offers a feast of seasonal delights doused in the humble and nice artistry of traditional Japanese cuisine.

The delicious traditional dishes like whole-grilled trout are cooked for so long to make sure that the bones are broken fully, making them edible.

Another dish, like the light soup broth with chrysanthemum petals, also proves the refined aesthetic sensibilities of the chef.

Traditionally-brewed matcha tea is served here in true kaiseki style after the meal.

brewed matcha tea

You can relax here with the tea and reflect on the grand meal you just completed.

The best part of this restaurant is it offers this sophisticated and appetizing multi-course lunch at a very accessible price.

The starting cost will be ¥7000 here.

So, it is the best value Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo for trying Kaiseki cuisine.

10. Sasuga

Another cheap Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo is Sasuga, a top-class soba restaurant situated just five minutes away from Ginza Station.

The highlight of this restaurant is Juwari soba, which is made from 100 percent buckwheat flour and water.

It means that the quality of the noodles here is as pure as they come.

You will find a number of soba options here, including kake soba and zaru soba.

Kakesoba is soba with a bowl of hot soup, while zaru soba is the noodles that are served cold with a distinct soup to dip them in.

zaru soba

Both will cost only ¥1,000.

If you want something with a little fancier topping, then go for the kamonegi soba. This soba is served with hot dipping sauce, duck, and green onion.

You have to spend ¥500 extra to taste this dish.

The environment here is so friendly (non-smoking).

So, to enjoy an excellent bowl of soba noodles, you can pay a visit to this restaurant.

11. Kiraku

Another budget-friendly Michelin sushi restaurant in Tokyo is Kiraku, which was founded in 1937.

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It is the ideal place to enjoy some of the most perfectly prepared sushi available in Japan’s metropolis.

They use only the fresh and carefully selected ingredients, ensuring every bite you take here will be a true, authentic experience.

Passing down the traditional techniques for generations, this restaurant is now run by a third-generation owner-chef.

There is no menu to speak of like most high-end sushi restaurants. It offers just nigiri or an omakase set menu.

Set of japan nigiri

The sushi found here is in Edomae style, which means you will see cooked and marinated fish alongside the fully raw offerings.

Anyway, don’t forget to make reservations in advance as the restaurant can only make room for nine customers at a time.

Speaking of the cost, the lunch and dinner here start at ¥4,500.

12. Nodaiwa

This one star Michelin restaurant in Tokyo has been offering unagi (eel) since the 18th century. And now it is under the fifth generation owner-chefs.

They traditionally serve barbecued unagi, keeping it on top of a bowl of rice.

Fried unagi

However, you can also try shirayaki, where the chef removes the excess fat and steams the eel. Finally, they serve it with rock salt and wasabi.

The starting cost of lunch and dinner is the same, which is ¥3,000. You can have a complete meal here for less than ¥5000!

Hence, this restaurant is worth trying for you if eel is your favorite food item.

13. Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais

If you love meat, you will be pleased to know that the cheapest Michelin star French restaurant in Tokyo is Bouchon Lyonnais.

I would like to inform you that Lyon has more restaurants than any city in France, and its cuisine is renowned for its quality and simplicity.

Hence, if you are in Tokyo, or if Japan is still closer than Lyon proper, you can go there for a taste of world-class French cuisine.

The chef usually focuses on classic dishes like quenelles, sausages, and cheese in a friendly relaxed environment.

sausage

For your kind information, the starting cost of lunch and dinner is ¥2,500 and ¥5,000 respectively.

So the lunch is fairly cheaper, and you can even say the dinner service also comes at a very reasonable cost considering Lugdunum Bouchon Lyonnais’s ancestry.

14. Regalo

You will find one of the best course menus in Tokyo at Regalo restaurant.

And you can dine here at a remarkably lower price.

This 1 star Michelin restaurant serves up interesting fusions like pasta with firefly squid and sansho pepper.

Firefly squid

They generally combine Italian methods (charcoal grills) and bases (pasta) with seasonal Japanese ingredients.

Just like the food, the staff is also very friendly and amiable.

Starting from ¥2,000, you can have a lunch course menu for under ¥5,000.

15. Hananoren Kagura

Want to have a big bowl of steaming stew?

Then you can consider going to Hananoren Kagura. It is the only authentic nabe hot pot restaurant that has been awarded a Michelin star.

The main highlight of this restaurant is they always focus on seasonality.

You will find just what’s best at that time of the year on the menu.

That means bamboo shoots and clams in spring, white fish in winter, and all types of other seasonal delights.

Cream stew

Dinner is expensive here, like most other Michelin restaurants.

Hence, I will suggest having lunch at the starting cost of ¥5,500.

Well, I have informed you of 15 Michelin restaurants in Tokyo where you can have your meal at an affordable cost.

Now, let’s wrap it up here.

Conclusion

Good food is good mood.

And Tokyo is giving you this opportunity to stay happy with its versatile and high-class culinary service.

By this time, you have got a vast idea about some of the best cheap Michelin star restaurants in Tokyo.

I think it is not surprising to you anymore why this city is referred to as a Mecca for food lovers.

I hope you can satisfy yourself with these affordable Michelin restaurant’s fascinating dishes in Tokyo.

Frequently Asked Question:

At present, there are 668 Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan. Among them, 29 restaurants have 3 Michelin stars, and 124 of them are 2-starred Michelin restaurants. The rest of the restaurants have one star.