Tenko is known for two things: its location inside a former, wooden geisha house on a tucked-away side street in Kagurasaka and for having the best tempura in Tokyo. Seating is available at one of the eight counter spots or in the private rooms hidden by sliding shoji-screen doors. There are no menus; servers bring the meal out in traditional sequence: tea, small appetizers, miso soup, and then the tempura (vegetables and seafood dipped in famously light and non-greasy batter), served with rice and dipping sauce.
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
This hard-to-find restaurant on the pedestrian back streets of the Kayabacho district is where chef Tetsuya Saotome has, for 30 years, been transforming fresh seafood and vegetables into extraordinary tempura using perfect proportions of flour, water and oil. His style is classic Edomae, which, during the Edo era (1603–1867), referred to the practice of using only seafood found in Tokyo Bay and vegetables grown locally. Saotome also adjusts the blend of frying oil according to the season.
We loved: Tempura made with fresh shrimp, (whiting), and (conger eel).
Insider tip: Guests can opt for tatami-mat rooms, but the best seats in the house are the ones at the chef’s counter.