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Rating: 3.9/5 (39 votes cast)


Oruba Street, Al Wurdud, Riyadh   Info & mapWrite a Review
Tel: 01 4605672   

ellenaj | May 22, 2011 | Reviews (5)

You know what’s kind of surreal when eating at a restaurant offering a specific national cuisine in a country other than your own? It’s how everything out of place somewhat comes together to create a unique gustatory experience! Take for example an eating experience in Tokyo Restaurant, a Japanese restaurant in an Arabic city serving Japanese food with Indian and Filipino waiters to diners of various nationalities… fun!

Tokyo Restaurant in Orouba street looks like a traditional Japanese house set in the concrete jungle of Riyadh. I couldn’t help but do a double take when I first saw it. Once inside, I felt more “Japanese” with the paper walls, kanji, paper lanterns, wooden tables and chairs, teppanyaki grills, and chopsticks. I actually wondered if I had to leave my shoes before entering and sit on low tables to eat. Nope, didn’t have to.

I was excited to see the chefs cook in front of us when I saw the teppanyaki grills. Alas, the grills were put out of commission a long time ago! They are now mere displays. They should have removed them already and redesigned the place to open up for more diners. The restaurant can only accommodate around 6-7 families at a time so during busy hours, there is a rather long wait. However the wait should not dissuade you from eating in Tokyo Restaurant. The food more than makes up for it.

Tokyo Restaurant has been around for years. It’s known as one of the best, if not the best, Japanese restaurant in the city. The menu is extensive and the prices are just right. I am particularly fond of the salmon sashimi. The fish is served fresh and it has this melt-in-your mouth consistency. Yummy! I can finish a platter! Because I am so enamored with the raw salmon, I take little chances on the main meals. They’re just all right. The chicken teriyaki is the first savory dish I ordered in Tokyo because the teriyaki serves as my litmus test for a good Japanese restaurant. And Tokyo passes with flying colors. The chicken has an ample shine; its sweet coating not at all cloying. The bento is stellar in its portion. It has a little bit of everything and those bits just sit right in my tummy. The elements in the box are not too many, not too little. I love the potato karaage! The udon (noodles) has a light broth that has an acquired taste. I did not quite like it, except for the fried tofu that sits atop the noodles and broth. It might just be me though because I’m used to instant cup noodles. I recommend the macha ice cream for dessert. The sweetness of the red bean blends nicely with the slightly bitter taste of the green tea ice cream.

The service crew is friendly and fast. Their knowledge of the offerings is ample. I wish I can see the Japanese chef do the sushi in the family section too.

Okay, so I’m a Filipino being served by Indians (or fellow Filipinos) with Japanese food at a Japanese restaurant in an Arabic city. What’s so out of place in this picture? Nothing. No one. It’s a great gustatory experience that delights me every time. I go back for more!

Tokyo, 3.9 out of 5 based on 39 ratings

This post was submitted by ellenaj.

Tokyo details

Comments (5)

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  1. bless says:

    My daughter celebrated her birthday at Tokyo and we found the place cozy and clean including the washroom. Foods are more delicious than any other Japanese Restaurants in Riyadh where I’ve been through. The Filipino waiters are friendly.

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  2. beezer says:

    Service and quality is excellent here. The food is the best that I’ve had in Riyadh.

    They haven’t invested much into the restaurant throughout the years though. I believe everything is pretty much the same from when it opened. Aside from the forced partitions.

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  3. hmasurg says:

    Tokyo has been there since my childhood, I remediable seeing it when Oruba st. was mostly empty 20 some years ago. I may be wrong, but I think they are the first in to present Japanese food and Tepinyaki style cooking to Riyadh and Saudi. When I was a kid we we joyed their food and atmosphere, it was decadent and a great Asian experience.

    I have not visited it for many years, that’s until last year when I was invited to go there for a sushi dinner.

    The place had changed, and not for the better in my opinion. All that decadence and “Japanese flare” has long been gone. The curtains and partitions are tacky, the plates and utensils are overused and the service resembled that of a fast food place at the mall.

    The Sushi and Sashimi were not to standard, I really didn’t enjoy it. it didn’t look vibrant and fresh nor was it well crafted. A real shame.

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  4. toonsla says:

    My friend and I are very fond of Asian in particular Japanese cuisine. Ever since I came to Saudi Arabia I visited many Asian restaurants, including Chinese, Thai, Korean, Japanese and Filipino. However or very unfortunately, so many restaurants have adapted to the local demand and tastes, to find a restaurant serving authentic food is not easy. I heard of Tokyo, being one of the premier Japanese restaurants and run by a Japanese chef, I convinced my friend to try it out for dinner. I called up the restaurant around 9pm to find out about location and opening hours. A very helpful person told me that the restaurant is near Panda in Al Ouraba Street but that they would close at 11pm.

    I quickly told me friend and not much later we arrived at Al Ouraba St. We circled the Panda Supermarket and looked left and right but couldn’t find it. Even the foursquare position was wrong and we stood in front of a dark house. We parked the car and I called the restaurant once more to ask for directions. This time we finally found it. Like a small gem in the concrete jungle this little restaurant stood out! Big red Japanese lantern moving in the wind, we entered!

    It reassembled a neighborhood eatery like you would find it in Osaka or Tokyo itself. Posters of Japanese foods on the wall, a Sushi counter, helmed by three chefs, one of them a elderly Japanese man, he must be the owner I thought. We chose to sit on the counter, I wanted all the action. So I greeted the obvious owner in Japanese, he replied in accent free Japanese. This is the right place I summoned and looked for the menu.

    The menu is simple designed, the selection of raw fish for sushi can be found and seen on the counter fridge itself and there is a menu for set menu, bento boxes, regular menu and sushi menu. I flipped through the pages, but I wasn’t really looking for something, I asked the owner if they have “Agedashi Tofu” he nodded and told me that its not in the menu, since its been ordered so seldom. I asked for cold buckwheat “Soba Noodles” he also nodded. I carried on, if they have Japanese curry? He replied I would have to pre-order; same for Japanese potato salad. By now I knew this was not going to be my last visit. We then decided on our order which consisted of: Nigiri and Maki Sushi platter, Shrimp Tempura, Cold Soba, Agedashi Tofu and Green Tea.

    Before they started serving the food we received an ice cold towel, a must in Riyadh after a long and hot day. Our waiter served us complimentary Miso soup and mixed salad before the food started arriving. While slurping the soup I watched the Japanese Chef, he rolled and formed the sushi in incredible speed. And before a minute passed he would have prepared a delicious platter of all different kind of sushis, some final touches and it was served to us over the counter. Salmon, Tuna, Unagi and Prawn Nigiri was placed together with three different kind of Maki Sushi’s. We shared and found that they were all delicious. So was the Tempura, so lightly fried that the flakes of the tempura batter were crushing into thin air once in my mouth, dipped in the Tentsuyu sauce with the grated radish, they were very tasty. My absolute favorite however, probably because its been a long long time since I had any, was the Cold Soba noodles followed by the Agedashi Tofu, a deep fried tofu dish, served in warm broth with bono flakes and seaweed. The Soba noodles came with all the trimmings, a bowl of cold sauce, raw quail egg, wasabi, shredded omelet, spring onion, chives and sliced seaweed. I mixed all ingredients in the special dipping sauce and stirred it well. A small portion of Soba noodles dipped in the sauce and with all that yummie ingredients now on the Soba, it tasted beyond delicious and I probably had a huge smile on my face. The Japanese guy asked me “Oishii?” and the only thing I could do was nod in full agreement.

    My friend and I kept on watching the chef’s behind the counter, forming and rolling Sushi’s. Mixing rice and cleaning the Japanese razor blade sharp knifes. After we were done with our meal we were offered dessert. I asked for Matcha Ice cream and I received a nod from the owner, they have it! Moments later, two small bowls with scoops of green tea ice cream topped with red beans were served to us. It was homemade, so much for that and it tasted good. It could have been a tiny bit creamier, but hey… it was good!

    We then asked for our bill and paid a decent SR 450.00 for the both of us. The green tea was free. A very delicious and exciting experience, I shall definitely return and hope you will agree with me when I say that Tokyo is probably the only original Japanese Restaurant in Riyadh.

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  5. Kiran Shehzadi says:

    I love to eat in Tokyo.Whenever i want to celebrate my happy moments i just come here and enjoy with my family and friends.

    We order the food and we get it in just few minutes :) .Tokyo’s service is very fast,quick and good.The food of Tokyo is very hot sizzling and hygienic.My stomach never upset after eat Tokyo’s food.

    All the different food recipes are amazing and i just love them.Tokyo’s all dishes include sweet deserts,ice-creams,spicy food,sea food,and light food are just yummy and delicious.

    Tokyo’s food is good for my and my family’s health.Tokyo’s food is so light and balanced.Im soo happy to have Tokyo’s rastaurant in my city Riyadh.Japenese food is always known for the best food with less colestrol and yummy delicious taste which is out of the world.

    Its yummy taste make my everyday healthy and fresh.
    Tokyo’s all waiters are so polite and kind.They always bow before the guests and respect them.

    The look and design of Tokyo is just fabulous,the decoration and greenry is just heart touching.

    When i visit Tokyo resturant i feel my self in the ”HEAVEN” … if Tokyo’s hounour comes to me and ask to change its name then i must suggest him ”HEAVEN” because its ”HEAVEN” on earth.

    I can find any type of japenese food in Tokyo like sweet,sour,salty,spicy,crispy and light food.I love to eat all the yummy food of Tokyo.

    The menu of Tokyo’s is very simple and in reasonable prices and also with lots of offers.

    Tokyo’s ice-creams are just out of the world,WOW when i put one spoon of the ice-cream in my mouth i just forget any other thing of the world.

    Tokyo’s all plates,glass and spoons are in cute shape and also clean and clear.

    Tokyo’s floor and walls are clean and out of dust.

    The lights and decore of the Tokyo restaurant is so pretty.

    The washroom is also so neat and clean and i just love the fragrance of the liquid soap.when i wash my hands after finish the food i spend my 5 minutes to scrub the liquid soap on my hands.

    WOW i love Tokyo Rastaurant and i always come here for dinner and celebrate my happy moments :) … My God gives it more success and increase its guests.

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