Torikatsu Chicken might just be your best find in Shibuya, Tokyo.
The nondescript katsu restaurant is our newest favourite katsu place in Tokyo, and it was by no means “stumbled upon”. It is one of those super hidden joint that wouldn’t simply “appear in front of you”. You have to know about it to find it, and finding it on its own is a challenge; we’d like to think of that as part of the experience.
Torikatsu Chicken redefines ‘hidden gem’ altogether, and its very affordable katsu sets—starting from ¥650 or S$8—make it all too appealing. We are so going back to Torikatsu Chicken every time we are in Tokyo.
Situated farther up from Shibuya’s famous 109 Shopping Mall is Torikatsu Chicken, a traditional katsu eatery tucked deep in a dodgy alley in Dogenzaka. The eatery is run by an old couple, who speaks English by the way. No problem on communication despite the hand-written menu being entirely in Japanese.
Its appeal and success is a simple formula: honest, good food at very humble prices. The katsu comes in a variety, and the basic sets are 2-pc at ¥650, 3-pc at ¥800, 4-pc at ¥1,000.
Take your pick from torikatsu (chicken), tonkatsu (pork), kani-furai (crab), aji-furai (mackerel), ika-furai (squid), kaki-furai (oyster), nasu (eggplant), tamanegi (onion and egg).
There are more, and they are mostly seasonal, but we say go straight for the torikatsu. We would never choose chicken over pork katsu, but if the shop’s name is Torikatsu Chicken, it is only right that you pick the tori over tonkatsu, yes? The logic works; the chicken was tender beyond imagination. It was easily the best torikatsu we’ve ever had.
And just in case you are wondering, the tonkatsu was slightly tough and dry. We would recommend to skip the tonkatsu and go for double portions of the torikatsu.
Unsurprisingly, we picked kaki-furai too; because, oysters. The mackerel was fresh and sweet too, and with the ika. Whatever you do, just remember that you are eating nothing but authentic and real good katsu that are freshly coated in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and deep-fried before your eyes.
Oh, yes. Did we mention it is an open kitchen? You get to see the chef at work, but you have been warned—your coats will stink from all that deep-frying.
Every katsu set comes with rice and shredded cabbage, and the lovely Japanese aunty will serve you free-flow roasted tea too.
We have nothing but praises for Torikatsu Chicken, and it was a very memorable dinner we had.
Torikatsu Chicken Shibuya
Mon to Fri: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm
Sat: 11am – 8pm
Nearest Station: Shibuya
If you are heading to Tokyo and need more recommendations, read our Tokyo guides to find the best places in the city.