Thoughts on life after the PhD
Closest station: Ekoda, Seibu Ikebukuro line (also Shin-Egota, Oedo line)
Hours: M-F 5-11 pm, Sat and Sun 12-11 pm
Reservations: Recommended for weekend dinners
Falafel and hummus probably aren’t the first delicacies that come to mind when you think of eating in Tokyo. But I’m willing to bet that Shamaim, the amazing Israeli restaurant tucked away in an alley near Ekoda station, could give any New York or even Tel Aviv joint a run for its money.
Shamaim does an incredible 2000 yen all-you-can-eat set lunch and dinner that feels like a never-ending parade of deliciousness. First they bring you the soup–potatoes, carrots, onion, and chickpeas in a rich red broth. Then comes a basket of the softest, warmest pita bread ever, plus light and crispy falafel. It’s all surrounded by bowls of more deliciousness to stuff in your pita or just eat by the forkful (or maybe that’s just me with my bad table manners)–hummus, tzatziki, soft onions mixed with dill and lemon juice, stewed mushrooms, pureed and sweetened tomatoes, spicy greens, and chilled cucumbers and lettuce.
All of that’s pretty much a meal in itself, but you’re not done yet. Next they bring out the chicken schnitzel (oh so light and crispy), plus a plate of grilled chicken and lamb over a plate of rice and lentils. (You can opt out of the meat when you order, and I probably would have been extremely full without it–but sheesh, that schnitzel is good.) Oh, and there’s also a bowl of these crispy fried potato wedges that put mundane French fries to shame.
In theory, you could keep ordering more helpings of whichever dish you wanted for as long as you wanted. In reality, I usually start to feel stuffed after my second stuffed pita. Next time I’ll probably just opt for the falafel set (around 1200 yen for a small portion, 1500 for a large).
The menu includes a very extensive wine and beer list, great cocktails, and yummy non-alcoholic drinks (the mint iced tea went down nicely). The 2000 yen all-you-can-eat deal is probably the most popular food choice, but there are plenty of smaller options for those who might be intimidated by the endless parade of plates. Oh, and the head waitress is also incredibly genki and attentive.
So if you happen to find yourself in Ekoda (just a few stops from Ikebukuro on the Seibu Ikebukuro line, or a ten-minute walk from Shin-Egota station on the Oedo line), this place is a must. Sadly, they’re only open for dinner on weekdays, but weekends they do lunch and dinner. Reservations recommended for dinner.
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tales of travel, research, and life
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