Menu in: Japanese
Lunch from ¥900, dinner ¥4,000 per person without drinks
Nonsmoking seats available
Get a window-side seat for a spectacular view over Ginza
Beautiful modern design and unique twists on staple Korean dishes
Gets crowded, so walk-ins may be disappointed
11F, 3-2-15 Ginza, Chuo-ku
Nearest station: Ginza
Open Mon-Sat 11am-11:45, Sun & hols 11am-11pm
The first thing that hits you upon entering Ginza Una is the attention paid to the aesthetic. From the sweeping wood beams to the modern sculpture to the huge windows affording a bird’s-eye view of Ginza, this place exudes class and sophistication.
Surprisingly, though, the prices are reasonable… especially considering the neighborhood. Dinner courses range from ¥3,800 to ¥8,000, and even better deals can be had at lunch, which starts at just ¥900.
Ginza Una is a branch of the Iwate-based Pyon Pyon Sha chain of Korean restaurants. The menu features regional variations on Korean classics, as well as the Morioka specialty of spicy, cold noodles known as reimen. There’s also a selection of beer and sake from northern Honshu.
Although we arrived in the early evening and managed to get a table, we discovered that booking is de rigeur for dinner after 6pm. We started off with an interesting sangria (¥680) and lychee-flavored makgeolli cocktail (¥680), before moving on to Iwate beer (¥800) and the house variety of the milky “Korean sake” (¥500).
Ginza Una’s food menu will feel comfortably familiar to those with even a basic knowledge of Korean cuisine, though what makes this place stand out are the twists that the chefs put on well-known favorites. The cheese chijimi with leeks (¥700), for instance, was a fantastically original creation, the crispiness and chewiness of the cheese mingling with the negi in our mouths.
There are also myriad varieties of bibimbap on offer. The one we chose came in a still-sizzling stone pot (¥900) with red-bean rice and sweet chili paste, which combined to give a sweet and spicy zing.
Our last two dishes offered welcome contrasts: a spicy, flavorful hotpot of kimchi chige (¥900), with intensely buttery mushrooms and succulent bits of pork and tofu, followed by the fervently recommended reimen (¥900). These fresh noodles, topped with egg, beef and kimchi, were nestled in a sweet, refreshing broth of apples and melon. It was the perfect culmination of a delightful meal, and left us with just the right amount of sweetness on our tongues and food in our bellies.
Even the most jaded lovers of Korean cuisine will enjoy Ginza Una, which would seem right at home on the Upper East Side in Manhattan or in a swanky Seoul neighborhood. The whimsical and airy sophistication of the place makes it a real gem, but the prices and the jazzy yet unpretentious food are what cause it to really shine.