I get cravings occasionally for non-Japanese food, particularly for things that are available in abundance back home but rare in Japan.
When I lived in Fredericton I lived above a Greek restaurant and because I knew it would always be there I rarely took advantage of it and then I moved to Japan and immediately started to regret not frequenting Dimitri’s more often. Tireless Google searches and conversations with friends brought us to (what we thought was) the only Greek restaurant in Tokyo. The Aegean in Shibuya did more to turn us off of Greek food than it did to satisfy our year-long craving. The only good thing about The Aegean was the salad, it’s pretty hard to fuck up salad though, or at least I hope. The main dishes were mostly dry and under seasoned and tasted like they had been reheated in a microwave. In fact, a couple of times we actually heard the “chin!” of a microwave while we were dining.
Fast forward 3 years. After giving up hope on ever finding decent Greek food in Tokyo I stumbled upon a humble restaurant in Yokohama. Not Tokyo but close enough. Sparta claims to be the oldest Greek restaurant in Japan serving up mouth-watering Grecian cuisine since 1953. All the dishes are seasoned and cooked to perfection. It’s good that I don’t live closer to Sparta, I’d be seriously overweight if I did.
The most recent addition to my list of favorite restaurants is Shamaim. This place is about a 15 minute (maybe less) bike ride from my house. Dangerous? Yes. Awesome? Yes! I’ve read from several different sources that Shamaim has the best falafel in Tokyo. In my opinion, it’s the best falafel I’ve ever had–and I’ve had a lot of falafel in my life. It wasn’t dry like a lot of the falafel I’ve had in the past and didn’t crumble. For ¥2100 you can get an all-you-can-eat option which includes a little of everything with the exception of drinks and dessert. The Arabian coffee with cardamon was quite nice as well.
The one craving I have not yet been able to satisfy is my samosa craving. I’ve had plenty of samosas here (you wouldn’t believe the number of Indian curry joints this city has) but none have really hit the spot. I think I spent too much time at Boyce’s Farmers Market in Fredericton and got too used to the delicious samosas offered up there every Saturday. But I will keep searching.