This year, Tokyo’s chefs have whipped up some soup-to-nuts courses that show off how versatile those little fungi can be, pairing them with everything from classic Italian risottos to Tajima beef sukiyaki (type of Japanese hotpot) and even desserts. We’ve selected some of the most truffle-packed courses around town so you can sate your desire for those moreish morsels while they last.
Chef Luca Fantin has a knack for subtly combining the flavors of Japan with dishes from his native Italy in a way that feels almost nostalgic. This year’s winter degustation course is no exception, with a kurigohan (chestnut rice) inspired parmesan and chestnut risotto, and plump medium-rare morsels of lobster finished with delicate slivers of raw matsutake mushrooms, for example. But more importantly, all the dishes are conceived to pair well with white truffles. Interestingly, the restaurant lets guests opt into the truffle experience. They need only ask and a white-gloved waiter will come to shave a mountain of white truffles over any (or every) dish, even the desserts. Who knew the truffle’s woodsy umami would pair so well with sweet grappa-seared persimmon?
- Hours: Tue–Sat from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (last seating)
- Address: Ginza Tower, 2-7-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Truffle course: ¥24,500 plus ¥8000 for each serving of truffles
With a brand synonymous with fine dining and three Michelin stars, it’s no surprise that this Tokyo stalwart serves up a stellar truffle experience. Only two dishes in chef Ken Ichiro’s seasonal Menu Spécialité include white truffles, so this may be a controversial choice for this list. However, you get to eat at a castle in the middle of Ebisu, which certainly adds to the feel of European luxury. The course naturally includes Robuchon signatures like his foie gras-topped chateaubriand and his gold-touched marbles of Sologne caviar on chilled crab and lobster jelly, along with a couple of truffle-dusted flavor bombs: a gondola starter with aged Comte sauce and a pasta dish with a mousse of Hokkaido scallops and aromatic Château-Chalon yellow wine.
- Hours: Daily from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. (last seating); Lunch: Sat, Sun and holidays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (last seating)
- Address: Yebisu Garden Place, 1-13-1 Mita, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
- Truffle course: ¥70,000 (2F main dining), ¥67,000 (3F private room), until Nov 30
Executive chef Olivier Chaignon is exploring more sustainable ways to deliver a haute cuisine experience, using free-range poultry and eggs, organic produce and pole-and-line-caught fish. If, like me, you suffer from bouts of anxiety over consuming a luxury product flown in from the far side of the world, his locavore approach with the other ingredients may soothe a bit of that guilt. If not, the divine flavor of dishes like Yoron Island guinea eggs with caramelized shallots and a Saga saffron sauce certainly will. He’s working the truffles—and a tongue-twisting linguistic playfulness—into dessert as well, with a white truffle-topped white chocolate truffle of chestnut rum cream.
- Hours: Tue–Sat from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Address: 7-5-5 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
- Truffle course: ¥50,000 (lunch), ¥75,000 (dinner)
White truffles are usually used in Italian and French cuisine, but their rich umami lends itself just as well to other fare too, as evidenced by high-end yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) restaurant Ten’s premium winter course. It features nearly endless cuts of their toothsome, tare-dipped Tajima and Kobe beef for grilling. They also add white truffles to sukiyaki, rich Korean yukhoe tartare and to the border-defying hamburger in a perfectly grilled bite they are calling “the most luxurious hamburger sandwich in Japan.” With a private room, a well-appointed wine cellar to pair, top-grade wagyu and mounds of fresh white truffles, I’ll argue this course is the country’s most luxurious yakiniku too.
- Hours: Mon–Sat from 5:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.; Sun from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
- Address: Casa Splendid Nishi-azabu B1, 1-4-46 Nishi-azabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Truffle course: ¥66,000
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When the restaurant’s name is literally “field of truffles,” you know they are going to have some goodies for you. This Tokyo outpost of a venerable Nice restaurant serves up Japanese-inflected European fare full of black truffles year-round, relying on flash-frozen supplies in the off-season. But in fall, they offer special fresh truffle courses in both the black and white varieties with loads of freshly shaved goodness on each dish—amuse bouche to dessert. The French-style preparation is fairly orthodox, though that’s hardly a complaint with hard-to-improve classics like tournedos rossini or truffle rice steamed in individual Staub pots. And it’s also one of the longest-running white truffle courses in town for those who want to live the truffle dream into the new year.
- Hours: Daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Address: 1-4-46 Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Truffle course: ¥58,000, until Jan 31
Those are the best courses this truffle hunter has sniffed out this year! If you’ve any others to recommend, please let us know in the comments and I’ll be only too happy to check them out. In the interest of rigorous journalistic research, of course.