Maisen Tonkatsu Tokyo – 2024

Must Try

Tonkatsu is a breaded and deep fried pork cutlet, usually served with a thick, tangy sauce (“Tonkatsu sauce”), shredded cabbage, and miso soup. Inspired by European cuisine, it first appeared in the late 1800’s in a Western-food restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo.

These days, Maisen in Tokyo is pretty universally acknowledged as one of the best tonkatsu houses in the city. Their signature dish is the kurobuta tonkatsu (literally “black pork,” also known as Berkshire pork in the US). Kurobuta is known for its high fat content and intense, juicy flavor.

The original restaurant is uniquely situated inside a former World War II public bathhouse. In fact, the main dining room (pictured above) was once the changing room, complete with some of the original architectural details in the high ceilings.

There are many other locations around the city, but this original one is special because of the building itself.

Lines can be long, especially during peak hours. We actually arrived before opening and there was already a line trying to get into the first seating!

I highly recommend trying to black pork “rosu” (fattier cut) versus the “hire” (filet, leaner cut). The “rosu” is deliciously juicy, and the black pork is particularly flavorful.

We did notice that after the first wave of people sat down, there were actually still plenty of tables open. I guess we didn’t have to line up before opening!

I felt like trying something different, so I went with the “katsu-don”, which is a smaller pork cutlet over rice with egg. It was also delicious, and exactly the size I wanted (i.e. smaller).

Their sandwiches are fantastic, and if I were to go back again, that’s what I would order. You can also find these at many “depachikas” (underground supermarkets). They are a convenient lunch or snack, easy to eat and conveniently packaged for take-away.

We tried other snacks, like these mini sausages and potato wedges. They were fine, but they didn’t stand out the way their signature pork cutlet dishes stand out.

There are other more “boutique-y” and gourmet tonkatsu places in Tokyo. However, Maisen has many locations around the city, it’s convenient, and the food is always very good.

Maisen4-8-5 JingumaeShibuya-kuTokyoPhone: 03/3470-0071Related postsFirst visit to MaisenSecond visit to Maisen (Most detailed post)Japan’s Underground DepachikasButagumi (tonkatsu restaurant)

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