Gyoza 1059 or “Communist Gyoza”
This restaurant is also known by Americans as Gyoza Ten-Go-Ku, Gyoza Heaven, and Communist Gyoza. Tucked away on a side street in Tachikawa, this hole in the wall makes the best gyoza around! Gyoza is a small dumpling (similar to a wonton) which is steamed and pan fried. The gyoza served here are HUGE, about the size of a fist. Flavors include mushroom, vegetable, garlic, green onion, potato, cheese, corn, and shrimp. Seating is limited. Each plate (five very large gyoza) averages ¥700. The restaurant has a policy requiring each person to order a gyoza plate (versus sharing an order) and a drink. You can order more drinks later, but you are forbidden to order any more plates after your initial order. This policy and its enforcement has given rise to the “Communist Gyoza” moniker. No matter, because one plate will be plenty for anyone. Just be warned that the garlic order is essentially like eating a handful of nearly raw garlic. Most people can’t handle it, but you’ll definitely be safe from vampires. The restaurant is colorful and deliciously worthwhile. If Japan had a Seinfeld series, this place would be in it. Because this place is so popular and seating limited, you might want to arrive when it opens at 5:30pm. Otherwise, you may have a long wait.
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DIRECTIONS: Exit Tachikawa Station from the Granduo side. Turn left and follow the road that borders the Granduo and the railroad tracks. Stay to the left when the road branches. When you see the pedestrian path heading under the railroad tracks to the left, keep your eyes on the right, trained on the small alleys. Turn right to go up the second small alley. Now look at the apartment buildings on your left. There will be a very small black and white sign for Gyoza 1059 at the entrance of the first one. Go up a few steps and enter the restaurant. Hours: 5:30-10pm (last order 9:30 pm), Tuesday-Saturday. Tel: 042-526-2283. GPS: 35.6977,139.4179
Teresa Negley, Karen Ozment, Kerri Wright, 1996. Liz Ruskin updated 2010. Directions verified 2011.
Edo Ichi “Vikings”
This is a chain of all-you-can-eat restaurants where you cook your own food. When you enter, pay about ¥2500 (cheaper for children) per person and get a receipt. You will then be escorted to a table and your grill will be started. Put oil on the grill and head for the plates. There is a selection of sushi near the soda dispensers and rice, soup, and curry in large pots on both sides of the case where the plates are located. Go to the open refrigerated display cases and select as much of whatever food you want. There is a wide choice of meat, vegetables, gyoza, salads, fruit, and noodles. Take the plates to your table and grill your discoveries. For dessert, try cream puffs, chocolate pie, or ice cream. The ice cream is located in a separate case near the drink dispensers. One word of warning: Because many people are cooking, the room gets VERY smoky. Do not wear good clothes! I also take my contact lenses out. If you are tall, be careful not to hit your knees on the bottom of the grill because it is very hot! Try to go before the rush which is usually 6-7pm. Not only is the restaurant less crowded but so is the highway.
DIRECTIONS: Set your Odometer to zero and exit right out the East Gate and turn left at the first light (Inadaira Koen Minami intersection). At the next light (5 way intersection, 0.7 km.) Make a right hand turn (not a sharp right, but angled right towards Daiei). At 1.9 km bear right at the intersection, where this road merges with another (Family Mart on right Corner, Toyota dealer on left corner). Turn left at the second light onto Itsukaichi-Kaido Road (2.0 km, Tennobashi Intersection, just after you go under the tracks). Stay on this road until the light with Edo-Ichi Yakiniku all-you-can-eat Restaurant on the far right corner (3.5 km). Hours? Telephone?
Karen Ozmen, date?
Savini Italian Restaurant
After a day of shopping in Tachikawa, go to Savini for lunch or, better yet, for their “Imagination Cake.” This dessert is a light-tasting sponge cake with a generous amount of whipping cream, with small slices of kiwi, cantaloupe, and strawberries. It’s a delicious treat at ¥600 per hefty slice. Other desserts sounded equally scrumptious—baked pudding, chocolate mousse, homemade Italian ice cream, ricotta cheese cake, and fresh fruit (¥500-¥700). Lunch entrees include sirloin garlic steak, grilled lamb (¥1900-¥3500), goulash, veal or grilled chicken (¥1200). Sixteen choices of salad are available for ¥850 to ¥1250: spinach, seafood, tomato, green, octopus, bacon and shimeji, zucchini and eggplant, and crabmeat. Pizza in all combinations are offered: vegetarian, anchovy, shrimp, shorizo, pear, bacon, salmon, seafood, and seppie (squid ink). Pizzas with 19 or less items cost ¥1200 to ¥3900, depending on size. There is also a large selection of drinks.
Open since 1968, this 30-seat restaurant fills up fast at lunch time with business women as well as women with bags filled with shopping bargains. There are English menus.
DIRECTIONS: Savini is located on the second floor of the Inoue Building. Take the train from Fussa to Tachikawa. Exit the station, walking past Lumine Dept Store, using the stairs on the left. Cross the street and go down the alley next to the Klimt Coffee Shop (pink awnings). Continue straight on this road and you’ll see the Savini sign. Hours: daily 11:00 am – 12:00 am. Telephone? Karen Ozment, date?
Princess Raira Chinese Restaurant
This eating treasure is located in Kunitachi, only a short train ride from Yokota. The food at Princess Raira’s is the freshest and highest quality without being overpriced. My favorite was the gyoza with a close second being the shrimp in a sweet-sour chili sauce. The chicken and peanut dish is well worth your yen. Princess Raira is open daily and does not close down after lunch, which means you can leisurely chat while eating the best Chinese food you will ever find.
DIRECTIONS: Exit the Tokyo-bound train at Kunitachi station. Be sure you are not on an express train as they go right through this station without stopping. Go to the right of the station, which is the South Exit. Continue walking right on the street angling towards the right. Stay on the right side of the street for a few blocks until you reach the restaurant. Hours? Telephone? Author? Date?