Conductor and restaurateur Joji Hattori gives us a tour of his favourite restaurants in Tokyo. From traditional Japanese cooking to modern fusion cuisine – every encounter reveals a culture committed to perfection.
”life is too short to miss out on great Tokyo food!”
The city of Tokyo, a metropolis of 35 million inhabitants, is packed with culinary highlights. Counting 12 three-star restaurants and a further 214 boasting one or two stars, Tokyo has more Michelin stars than Paris and New York combined.
Most Japanese restaurants specialise in a certain type of food, such as sushi, tempura, Wagyu, eel, noodles or tofu dishes. The master chefs hone their art to serve their specialisation, attempting day after day to perfect the dishes of their particular tradition. A tempura master, for example, would never cook meat. The only exception are the exclusive kaiseki restaurants, which serve a sequence of small dishes covering the entire spectrum of Japanese cuisine.
On the way to perfection
Devotion to food and the will to perfection are also what drive Joji Hattori. In 2015, the conductor and violinist opened a restaurant in his adopted hometown of Vienna – the SHIKI, which serves Japanese-European fusion cuisine. Already, the restaurant located near the Vienna State Opera has become widely known for its excellent cooking, thoughtful décor and elegant ambience. But far from resting on his laurels, Hattori strives for continuous improvement. Taking the next step on the path to perfection, the conductor invited his two head chefs Alois Traint and Gerhard Bernhauer to join him on a culinary journey of inspiration to Tokyo. Here, the two master chefs explored traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes in search of new ideas to take their own cuisine in Vienna to new heights. We were lucky enough to accompany the professional gourmets on their trip