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Friday, Dec. 4, 2009


Staying in Tokyo for Christmas dinner

These days, just about every restaurant in town offers a Christmas menu — in just about any cuisine you want. Whether you're craving turkey and stuffing, oysters and risotto or gravlax and smoked trout, there's a place for you. Here are just a few Food File recommendations.

New York Grill

One of our all-time favorite venues for any celebration is the New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Shinjuku. Boasting unrivaled cityscape views, it feels as special as it looks. Better yet, it has the cuisine to match the setting. Chef Nadine Waechter Moreno will be delivering a sumptuous menu featuring (among plenty else) grilled Kagoshima Prefecture kuroushi beef accompanied by mashed potatoes with winter truffles.

New York Grill & Bar, Park Hyatt Hotel 52F, 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku; (03) 5323-3458; tokyo.park.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/entertainment/restaurants/

Christmas dinner menu: five courses, ¥22,000, available Dec. 16-25, 5:30-10:30 p.m.; also open daily for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


The Tokyo outpost of Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson's much-lauded New York restaurant exudes a sleek, refined sophistication that perfectly reflects his signature Modern Scandinavian cuisine. Blending French technique and Big Apple sophistication with traditional Swedish recipes and ingredients, Aquavit's Christmas menu might be the lightest, healthiest holiday fare in the city. Start with champagne; round it off with one of the trademark homemade aquavit liqueurs.

Aquavit, Aoyama OM-Square, 2-5-8 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku; (03) 5413-3300; www.aquavit-japan.com Christmas dinner menu: appetizer and five courses ¥12,000; available Dec. 23-25, 5:30-10:30 p.m. (last order); also open daily for lunch 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (last order)

Brasserie L'Artemis

L'Artemis was given a full makeover this autumn, metamorphosing in the process from a formal restaurant to a more casual brasserie feel. What hasn't changed is the quality of Chef Yusuke Nakada's cuisine or the fantastic cost-performance of his menus. The centerpiece of his Christmas dinner (far more affordable this year) will be venison.

Brasserie L'Artemis, 2-31-7 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku; (03) 5786-0220; r.gnavi.co.jp/g853800

Christmas dinner menu: appetizer and four courses ¥8,400; available Dec. 24-25, 6 p.m.-midnight; also Christmas lunch menu ¥5,000; 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (last order)

Wine Cellar Davis

The annual Christmas feast offered by Shoko Davis at her intimate restaurant/wine bar is now a firm fixture in the local calendar. This will be the 12th such event and, as ever, the focus of the banquets will be roast goose with trimmings. For homesick Britons, though, the promise of authentic Christmas pudding for dessert may be just as much of a draw.

Wine Cellar Davis, 2-5-6 Takanawa, Minato-ku; (03) 3440-6007

Christmas dinner menu: four courses, ¥7,900; available Dec. 23-26 (Dec. 24-25, two sittings: 6-9 p.m.; and 9 p.m.-midnight)

The Hobgoblin

Flying the flag for English ale and pub grub for almost a decade, the Hobgoblin has become a Roppongi institution and so has its Yuletide fare. If it's the Great British Christmas dinner you're after, this is the place. There's roast turkey (with stuffing, of course) plus all the essential trimmings — roast potatoes, bacon-wrapped chipolatas (translation: mini-wieners), carrots, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce and gravy. No figgy pudding here, but you do get a slice of Christmas cake to round off your meal.

The Hobgoblin, Aoba Roppongi Building, 3-16-33 Roppongi, Minato-ku; (03) 3568-1280; www.hobgoblin.jp

Christmas dinner menu: three courses, ¥5,000; available Dec. 25 only. Four sittings: noon; 2:30 p.m.; 6 p.m.; 8:30 p.m.

The Pink Cow

A lively and welcoming cafe-bar, art space, alternative music venue and community nexus, the Pink Cow has many facets. It's also a home away from home for the foreign community, and never more so than in the festive season. The kitchen will be serving a wholesome, hearty Christmas dinner of turkey (there's stuffed tofu for the vegetarians) with plenty of other kinds of goodies and entertainment.

The Pink Cow, 1-3-18 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku; (03) 3406-5597; thepinkcow.com Christmas dinner menu: three courses, ¥4,200; available Dec 24-25, 7-10 p.m.


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