If you go to Tokyo, this place is a MUST.
I rave about it to just about anybody who will listen because if you’re looking for the best tonkatsu in the world, you’ll find it here!
The restaurant itself is super cute (and a bit hard to find, although there are guides luring you to it all across the street!) and, fun fact, used to be an old bath house, so the main area where you sit is where people used to change!
If you are unfamiliar with tonkatsu, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Tonkatsu is tender and juicy pork thats coated in light panko breadcrumbs, fried until crispy… or in other words, the best piece of fried meat you will eat!
In my opinion, no one does it better than Maisen. Ofcourse they do more luxury tonkastsu using the best pork but they also have delicious fillets for a much more reasonable price!
However, my favourite has got to be the daily changing set lunch. It’s a bit of secret that only locals know since it’s written in Japanese on a tiny board, but I love it because it’s got a bit of everything!
You start with some freshly grated daikon with a drizzle of soy sauce to cleanse your palate before the main event.
And this is what you come for.
The menu changes daily and today’s main was a pork and green pepper fry along with a king prawn cream croquette.
The meat is unbelievably tender and juicy whilst the outside gives a contrast with the crunch and it’s surprisingly not greasy at all!
Whilst I couldn’t eat the croquette I was told it was piping hot and creamy with large chunks of prawn (no skimping here!)
As with any traditional set meal, it comes with a few sides. the first of which was some light and refreshing cucumber salad with shirataki noodles. The cucumber gives a lovely crunch and cooling flavour when you need a break from the rich tonkastu.
There was of course some nimono on the tray as well – super fluffy yet creamy potatoes, carrots and melt in the mouth onions and pork belly stewed in a sweet yet savoury stew. This is a meal that will transport any Japanese person back to their childhood – it tastes like comfort!
I always find the little portion of fish a really nice touch, it’s simply seasoned with salt and grilled to give it a perfectly flaky texture. They also somehow have the most deep coloured salmon known to man which gives a lovely brightness to the tray of more brown hues!
I couldn’t recommend Maisen enough, so if you’re planning a trip to Tokyo, this better be on your list!
If you can’t make it, make sure to go to a depachika or get a quick takeaway from outside the store where they sell bentos, sandwiches (which are to die for: the fluffiest, slightly sweet Japanese bread (crusts off of course!) which encases the tender tonkatsu and delicious sauce, I could eat 100 easily) and mini katsu burgers!
Address: Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, 神宮前4−8−5