そば is Japanese for buckwheat, the main ingredient for Japan’s popularly-eaten soba noodles. Classic cold soba noodles dipped in a slightly sweet soy-broth is the perfect mix for a hot summer day–so now imagine that with a Michelin Star! Amazing right? 玉笑 Tamawarai is a 1 Michelin Star establishment famous for its extremely fresh soba noodles (the chef cuts and boils the noodles after you order!) and seasonal side-dishes.
Located in-between the residential neighborhoods of Omotesando and Shibuya, Tamawarai snagged the coveted ‘#1 position for lunch spot’ on Japan’s largest restaurant review website Tabelog. Taking the recommendation of those who have dined there, I ordered two of Tamawarai’s well-reviewed dishes–their popular Yaki-Miso (焼き味噌) and classic Tofu Soba Noodles (豆腐そば)–and prepared to be dazzled.
As you can see, Tamawarai’s minimalist decoration and limited tables make it a very quaint establishment–but if you’re okay with savoring the most amazing Japanese version of al dente soba noodles in content silence, Tamawarai is perfect for you! The Yaki-Miso was a delicious starter–really sweet and savory, it would go perfectly with some beer. But the main guest of the night was most definitely the Tofu Soba Noodles. The noodles are freshly cut and boiled after you order so although it takes a while, they come perfectly prepared and al dente the Japanese way. The homemade tofu with dashes of Japanese onion was also a creamy wonderland. Blend them together with the extra soy sauce on the side, Tamawarai’s seemingly modest dish is a phenomenal take on soba noodles, well-deserving of its Michelin Star.
Although the portions are on the smaller-side (I saw people order 2 different soba sets), it gives you a chance to try a bunch of Tamawarai’s seasonal side dishes too. Other than the Yaki-Miso, it looked like the smoked red herring and tamagoyaki (grilled egg omelet) were also popular side dishes with the soba noodles. (If you’re looking for a more hearty meal however, I’d still recommend udon from Torijaya as the must-try!)
Make the trek to Tamawarai and look for the unassuming restaurant front because its delicious soba noodles are definitely worth the walk!
Address // 5-23-3 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Telephone // 03-5485-0025
Website // None