WadayaShinbashi 4-4-3, Minato-ku, Tokyo
TEL. 3436-0088
Guided by red lanterns you can find wadaya, which is one of the thousands of tiny pubs in Tokyo where salaried workers enjoy drinks and chats with office mates after five. Bigger chains of pubs also started recently to participate in this sector of restaurant business. They build neat and clean rooms and prepare low price standardized food to entertain patrons. However, these merits cannot make up for the lack of human touch.

The decisive factor is the people who run the bar.

Wadaya is run by an old couple together with their old mates. Looking at the people working in Wadaya I cannot but think that they belong to different "race", a race which once dominated the scene of Edo (the name for Tokyo till 1867 under feudal regime) but is already extinct.
In other words, that they aregenuine Edokko ( native Edo citizens like Parisians), who are somewhat short tempered and simple minded, but kind, honest and do not stick to money.

I became acquainted with Wadaya, because members of our Toranomon Orchestra regularly come here after their weekly rehearsal. One of our members happened to discover Wadaya and recommended it to us. Though he died a few years ago, we still come to Wadaya, spend time well beyond the closing time of 11 pm and thus back up his heritage.

Wadaya is a typical "nomiya" (Literally "drinking house". In another word "izakaya". ).

preparing tidbits

also preparing small dishes

the counter at 11 pm
There is a counter and a few tables and two tatami (straw mat) rooms. We can drink beer, sake (rice wine) and shoh-chuh (Japanese style spirit).

What they offer as small tidbits are numerous. It's very difficult to name all of them. Of course there are all kinds of raw fish, grilled fish, grilled "himono", cooked fish . They prepare traditional vegetable food, either raw, marinated, pickled, cooked or fried. Oden, yakitori, cutlet, noodles and rice menu in all kinds and so on. Virtually you can order everything imaginable as Japanese food.
In addition, the two cooks are eager to tackle with new menu. Nowadays they seem to be especially interested in Italian food. So, we got recently salad with mozzarella and tomato, pizza quatro stagioni and spaghetti bolognese :-)

You might be curious how much the price is. I say you don't need to pay more than US 30$ even though you eat and drink as much as you will. Members of Toranomon Orchestra usually pay some US 20$ for their evening feast.

Owner and his wife
I am worried about his health, as I just heard that he was hospitalized due to severe cerebral hemorrhage. (01/01/00)
After drinking, you must be careful about police control :-). If you are unfortunate you are deprived of driving license and fined ... I don't know exactly .. quite big amount. Therefore, whenever we drink, we usually don't drive a car but take either subway or taxi. Until about 10 years ago I used to drink till morning when subway resumes service. But, unfortunately I am not young enough any more to be able to sit up without affecting the work on the following day ;-)

Anyhow, if you know that there are "nomiya" or "izakaya" you don't have to complain about the high prices of Japan. (Meat eaters might have difficulties, as we con't eat much meat !) Compared with South East Asia, prices are at least about 5 times as much in Japan. But, in return, the places are equipped with air conditioner and their sanitary conditions are distinctively better. Compared with American or European bars, food is definitively more numerous and tastier ... I might be too patriotic in this regard :-p

So, try "izakaya" when you come to Japan !!!