SinKaya: Shibuya's Heavenly Secret
Shibuya's Dogenzaka has a reputation for its seedier side, albeit safe for those adventurous enough to wander its streets. One of its oldest areas, called Hyakkendana ("100 Shops"), is usually shunned by tourists and only ever used as a short-cut for locals.
And it's exactly that reason why SinKaya, located on the second floor of the SG Building just past the entrance of Hyakkendana (look for the great big red Torii), has been one of the Shibuya's best kept secrets for so long.
SinKaya is a modest izakaya-styled restaurant and bar. What separates it from the countless other places to eat and drink in the area is its cleanliness, quality of food and drink, and masterclass chef and service. The menu is very much to the point - SinKaya specializes in small meat dishes and "hoto" - a popular regional noodle dish from Yamanashi-ken, where the owner's parents were born.
Sin took his time creating each of my orders - whose portions could have easily satisfied two people. The food was delectable and paired well with the many types of shochu on offer.
In addition to beef, pork, and fish, horse is also available to sample. I tried the bacon tartare and was blown away by Sin's preparation and presentation. The daikon (Japanese radish) salad and beef hormone I also ordered were quite possibly the best I've ever had, 100% fresh and filling.
What really made me fall for the place was how quiet and secluded from the outside world it was inside. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in Shibuya, one of Tokyo's busiest, loudest cities.
I don't get out to Tokyo very often, but I'm sure to stop by SinKaya whenever I do. Its close proximity to Shibuya Station makes it the perfect place to stop by for a quick drink or meal - for one or couples, too. Highly recommended.
SG Building 2F, 2-17-3 Dogenzaka
(Just a few minutes walk north from Shibuya Station, Hachiko Exit)
Open: 18:00 - 26:00