I know that many tourists come to Japan and check off all the Michelin-starred restaurants. They are indeed good.. but if you do that, you are missing the real Japanese dining experience, which is all about the atmosphere, the delicious food, and the decent price! In my opinion, it's a complete myth that Tokyo is the most expensive city in the world. Don't get me wrong. It's not like eating in Bangkok but there are MANY restaurants that offer great food at affordable food. And many of them are IZAKAYA (居酒屋) - a type of Japanese bar in which a variety of small, typically inexpensive, dishes and snacks are served to accompany drinking.
Here are some of my favorites
KOTARO in Shibuya
This one is higher-end from all the other ones and it carries a certain level of sophistication. And it's probably the yummiest! Tucked away in the back alley of Shibuya, Kotaro is truly a treasure in the busy city of Tokyo. Do note that you will need to book months in advance to be lucky to get a seat ;)
Although this is not an Izakaya, I am putting this in here because its my all-time-favorite, where I take all my visitors and they LOVE it! It's an amazing meat-stick place - casual and fun! Prepare to come out stinking of food though!
UKYO in Azabu-Jyuban
Quaint sake bar with over 200 bottles from around Japan, with excellent food many topped with truffle, ikura and caviar! A must visit during your stay in Tokyo.
TEYANDEI in Shibuya
An okinawan Izakaya where you can try the very-strong Okinawan alcohol- Owamori! Teyandei is another hard-to-find restaurant in the back street of Shibuya and holds a very casual atmosphere. Food is excellent and is super busy, even during the week!
GALALI in Omotesando
Despite being right next to the upmarket shopping street, Galali offers excellent value. The two-storey restaurant is decorated stylishly, of course a la Japonais! They offer 12 types of Japanese salt to accompany their delicious food & sake!
UBCRA in Ebisu
I used to g to this Kyoto food Izakaya in Ebisu almost weekly because the food is amazing, healthy, well-priced and it was right around the corner from my home.
AJINO NAKAMURA in Hiroo
Hidden in the high-end residential area of Tokyo, this Izakaya is slightly on the higher end. If you ever go there, don't forget to order the Salmon Ikura rice because it's just too good to be true!