Are you a foodie on a budget, but still want to indulge in the luxurious taste of wagyu beef? Look no further than Tokyo, where you can find quality cuts of this highly sought-after meat without breaking the bank.
Shibuya, a bustling district in Tokyo, is home to some of the best wagyu restaurants in the city. From classic A5 wagyu to lean meat and marbled options, there’s something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll explore three restaurants in Shibuya where you can enjoy delicious wagyu beef without spending a fortune. Get ready to satisfy your cravings and treat your taste buds to an unforgettable culinary experience!
Where To Eat Cheap Wagyu Beef In Tokyo?
1. Ushigoro Bambina: Classic A5 Wagyu for Surprisingly Little Money
Located in the heart of Shibuya, Ushigoro Bambina is a must-visit for anyone looking to try A5-ranked wagyu beef without breaking the bank. Despite its affordable prices, the quality of the meat is top-notch and will leave you wanting more. Whether you prefer your wagyu grilled, in sushi form, or in a hot pot, Ushigoro Bambina has got you covered.
2. Kobe Harborland Sandaya: Fine Dining with a View
If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, Kobe Harborland Sandaya is the perfect choice. Located right on the water, this spacious restaurant offers stunning views and high-class service. While their target demographic may be couples, anyone can enjoy their delicious wagyu beef dishes. Their carefully selected wine pairings will enhance your dining experience and leave you feeling satisfied.
3. Pound-Ya: Affordable Options for Maximum Wagyu Intake
For those who want to get the most bang for their buck, Pound-Ya in Roppongi is the place to go. They offer A3-A5 grade Japanese Black beef at affordable prices, with lean meat starting at ¥10 per gram and marbled meat at ¥18 per gram. Their Combo Steak is a popular choice, allowing you to indulge in both an akami steak and a wagyu hamburger for maximum wagyu intake.
What Is Wagyu Beef And Why Is It So Expensive?
Wagyu beef is a highly sought-after meat that is produced in Japan and is known for its rich marbling and buttery taste. The term “wagyu” literally means “Japanese cow,” and to be eligible for a wagyu designation in Japan, a purebred cow must be genetically tied to one of four Japanese-born breeds. These breeds are chosen primarily for their endurance and predisposition for marbling, which is the white specks of intramuscular fat that you’ll see spread throughout a cut of lean pink meat. The heritage and subsequent nurturing of these breeds is what commands top dollar, with adult cows selling for as much as $30,000.
The high cost of wagyu beef is also due in part to the exclusivity of the product, the experience it delivers to customers, and the expenses breeders incur, such as the import prices of the concentrated feed required to expand their bovine’s waistline. Prior to slaughter, a cow bred for wagyu beef can amass up to 50% of its weight in fat thanks to a meticulous feeding routine, which can last up to two years. The payoff comes down to taste, as when cooked, the marbled fat melts into the muscle fibers within the steak cut, helping it retain moisture and remain juicy. Another added bonus is that the ratio of mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio is higher in wagyu than other red meats, making it an appealing option for those with dietary constraints.
The Best Affordable Wagyu Restaurants In Shibuya
If you’re on a budget but still want to indulge in some delicious wagyu beef, Shibuya has got you covered. Here are the best affordable wagyu restaurants in the area:
1. Ushigoro Bambina: This sleek and modern restaurant offers classic A5-ranked wagyu beef at surprisingly low prices. Located just five minutes away from Shibuya station, Ushigoro Bambina has a separate halal menu for those with dietary restrictions. Their menu features three beef dishes, two of which are wagyu, including the prestigious Ozaki beef.
2. Nikubei Akasaka: This Tokyo restaurant specializes in Matsuzaka beef, one of Japan’s finest quality cuts. Cooked over a charcoal grill, their wagyu beef is both flavorful and affordable. Sample all the different cuts as a set to get the most bang for your buck and add their special soy sauce paste and wasabi to enhance the flavors.
3. Pound-Ya: For maximum wagyu intake at affordable prices, Pound-Ya in Roppongi is the place to go. They offer A3-A5 grade Japanese Black beef at reasonable prices, with lean meat starting at ¥10 per gram and marbled meat at ¥18 per gram. Their Combo Steak is a popular choice, allowing you to indulge in both an akami steak and a wagyu hamburger for a well-rounded wagyu experience.
No matter which of these affordable wagyu restaurants you choose, you’re sure to have a delicious and satisfying meal without breaking the bank.
Restaurant 1: A5 Wagyu At A Reasonable Price
If you’re looking for A5-ranked wagyu beef at a reasonable price, Ushigoro Bambina in Shibuya is the place to go. Despite its affordable prices, the quality of the meat is exceptional and will leave you wanting more. The restaurant offers three different ways to enjoy your wagyu: grilled, in sushi form, or in a hot pot.
One of their most popular dishes is the wagyu sushi, which features a perfectly seared slice of wagyu on top of a bed of rice. The meat is so tender and flavorful that it practically melts in your mouth. If you prefer your wagyu grilled, try the wagyu steak, which is cooked to perfection and served with a side of vegetables.
For those who love hot pot, Ushigoro Bambina’s wagyu hot pot is a must-try. The broth is rich and flavorful, and the thinly sliced wagyu cooks quickly in the hot pot. Don’t forget to dip your meat in their special soy sauce paste and wasabi to enhance the flavors.
Restaurant 2: Lean Wagyu Options For Health-Conscious Diners
If you’re a health-conscious diner looking for lean wagyu options, look no further than Yakiniku Like. Located just a 2-minute walk from Meguro Station, this restaurant offers a variety of lean wagyu cuts for those who want to indulge without sacrificing their diet. Their all-you-can-eat plan (starting at ¥3,980 plus tax) includes 16 types of grilled dishes and 23 side menu dishes, such as salads and snacks.
For those specifically looking for lean options, their all-you-can-eat course containing Kuroge Wagyu beef (starting at ¥5,980) has 25 kinds of grilled dishes and 43 kinds of side menu dishes. This allows you to enjoy the taste and texture of wagyu beef while keeping your meal on the healthier side. Plus, with a time limit of 120 minutes, you can indulge without overdoing it.
Reservations are not required but clients are required to order at least one drink. Children up until elementary school age can partake in these courses for half-price, and babies can enter for free. After your meal, you can even indulge in their banquet plan that includes karaoke for a fun night out. Yakiniku Like is a great option for those looking for affordable and lean wagyu beef in Tokyo.
Restaurant 3: Marbled Wagyu For The Ultimate Indulgence
If you’re looking for the ultimate indulgence, look no further than Nikubei Akasaka. This Tokyo restaurant specializes in Matsuzaka beef, which is known for its exquisite marbling and melt-in-your-mouth texture. At Nikubei Akasaka, you can sample all the different cuts of Matsuzaka beef as a set to get the most value for your money. The beef is cooked over a charcoal grill, and the restaurant’s special soy sauce paste and wasabi add an extra layer of flavor to the already delicious meat.
Wagyu beef is famous for its high-quality omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, resulting in a sweet and non-greasy flavor that is enjoyed by many. The marbling in Matsuzaka beef is particularly noteworthy, giving it a distinct color, texture, and firmness that sets it apart from other types of beef. If you’re looking to indulge in some of the best marbled wagyu beef in Tokyo, Nikubei Akasaka is the place to be.
Tips For Ordering And Enjoying Wagyu Beef In Tokyo
Ordering and enjoying wagyu beef in Tokyo can be an unforgettable culinary experience. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:
1. Know Your Grades: Wagyu beef is graded on a scale from A1 to A5, with A5 being the highest quality. When ordering, be sure to ask for the specific grade of beef you are getting to ensure that you are getting the best quality meat possible.
2. Try Different Cuts: Wagyu beef is known for its marbling and tenderness, making it perfect for a variety of cooking methods. Don’t be afraid to try different cuts, such as sirloin or ribeye, to find your favorite.
3. Enhance the Flavor: While wagyu beef is delicious on its own, there are some condiments and seasonings that can enhance the flavor even more. Soy sauce paste and wasabi are popular choices, but feel free to experiment with other flavors as well.
4. Pair with Wine: If you’re dining at a more upscale restaurant, consider pairing your wagyu beef with a carefully selected wine. The right wine can enhance the flavors of the meat and make for a truly memorable dining experience.
5. Consider Halal Options: If you have dietary restrictions, don’t worry – there are halal options available for enjoying wagyu beef in Tokyo. Look for restaurants that offer separate halal menus or ask your server for recommendations.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your wagyu beef experience in Tokyo is one to remember.