Michelin Starred – Shinjuku Nakajima

Shinjuku Nakajima
Hidden Location
You Have Arrived

Shinjuku Nakajima restaurant is located in a small side street in the Shinjuku area. It is very hard to miss, as there are no signs in English at street level.

Entrance to a Tranquil Environment

The restaurant is located down a steep stairwell, where the restaurant is located. This is a 1 Michelin Star restaurant, and lunch is the time to go for those on a budget. Everything is under $9 at lunch. Dinner will set you back $80+ from my understanding.

English Menu

The restaurant only serves sardines, so if you are not a sardine lover you may want to think twice, but doing so would be a huge mistake in my opinion.

Green Tea

The meal starts off with a cup of green tea.


A small portion of daikon radish and greens are served.

Smoky Miso Soup

A bowl of yummy miso soup was served. It had a slight smoky aftertaste, which was pleasant and interesting.


A small bowl of rice is served.  You can ask for a free refill if necessary.

Deep Fried Sardines

The Deep Fried Sardines (~7.50) was expertly prepared. All of the little pesky bones had either been removed, or cooked to the point where they had melted because they were not distinguishable. The fish was very crispy and served with a squeeze of lemon. It was served with a small cabbage salad, and a side of curried moyashi (bean sprouts), which were just fantastic. I could have eaten an entire bowl of the bean sprouts, they were that good.


The Yanagawanabe (~$6.50 a la carte) was served in a nice stoneware dish. Sardines are first deep fried, then placed into an egg and onion type stew which includes sugar, sake, shoyu, miso, and dried bonito flakes among other things, and pick up more flavor. The dish is then top with green onion. This dish screams Japanese comfort food.

The restaurant is quite small, but has a sleek modern design with a long L-shaped counter, several tables and several small dining rooms. Service was extremely friendly and English was spoken. They also have menus in English. Since the restaurant is on the smaller side, if you decide to eat here for lunch arrive early, as the line forms rather quickly.

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