6 Japanese chain restaurants in New York City serving authentic Japanese food at reasonable prices

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Surprisingly, there are not that many Japanese Chain restaurants in New York City. A lot of Japanese chain restaurants have tried opening their stores in New York but many tended to end in failure due to stiff competition despite the fact that they were really good. However, the ones that have maintained their operations here are really delicious and are restaurant chains that many Japanese people go to even in Japan. In comparison to their normal prices back in Japan, they might feel a bit pricey but if you want some proper Japanese food for relatively low prices, these are some of the restaurants that you should definitely consider visiting.

Ippudo (一風堂)

Among the list, Ippudo (一風堂) is probably the most famous. While there are so many fake Ramen places in the United States, Ippudo is one of the most authentic Ramen shops you can find.  Ippudo is originally from Hakata in the the Fukuoka prefecture in Japan and Hakata is very well known for its Ramen. Ramen shops in Hakata generally serve Hakata Ramen which is a type of Ramen with broth made out of pork bones (the bone marrow from the bones are the source of the flavor) and garlic, and is one of the most popular type of Ramen back in Japan. Ippudo is also mainly based on Hakata Ramen, but its success can be attributed to how it was able to brand itself as a sophisticated brand.  

 Anyhow, Ippudo is one of the most authentic Ramen shop you can find in New York and the price is not too bad (roughly $20 per bowl) considering how you can get the same taste as you would if you came to Japan. (Of course eating it in Japan IS more delicious than eating it here) . Expect to 

spend around $25-35 per person but considering how you can get an amazing bowl of Ramen for this price, it is totally worth it.



・ 24 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

・ 321 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

・ 65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Ootoya (大戸屋)

Ootoya (大戸屋) might be relatively unknown in the United States but back in Japan, Ootoya is one of the most famous and successful restaurant chain. Specializing in healthy, nutritious and balanced dishes, you have the choice of a wide range of dishes, such as Soba, Tonkatsu, Udon and even fresh Sashimi. In Japan, it is customary to make your order a “Teishoku” which involves getting your main dish with a bowl of rice and miso soup and at Ootoya, you have the choice of making it a Teishoku for an additional 4 dollars (We highly recommend that you make it a Teishoku especially if you are having a savory dish as the main dish will go nicely with the rice.) Considering how obtaining fresh seafood which you can eat raw is rare, we also recommend the Salmon and Ikura Don which is sometimes referred to as the fish version of the Oyakodon (It is different from the chicken version of the Oyakodon) and trust us, there is nothing better than raw salmon and raw Salmon roe. A meal here would set you back roughly 20-30 dollars but if you are tired of going to Chipotle so often or wish to eat something good yet healthy, give Ootoya a try.




・ 141 W 41st St, New York, NY 10036

・ 8 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011

・ 41 E 11th St, New York, NY 10003


Gyu-kaku (牛角)

Gyu-kaku (牛角) is in fact, one of our favorite restaurants. Gyu-kaku is a restaurant chain which specializes in Yakiniku, which is essentially Japanese BBQ indoor. If you have never been to one, you essentially have a hibachi or a grill for one table so you pick out different kinds of meat from the menu and grill the meat yourself. While it might be customary to pick out an individual plate and eat only from what you order, Yakiniku is more communal; you cook with whom you go with and you share your meal which is fun experience wise and you also get to try different kinds of meat as well. At Gyu-kaku, we recommend that you at least order one Kalbi and Harami. The meat is really fatty so if you are a beer lover, it is the perfect dish to enjoy your meal and your beer. It may set you back roughly 100 dollars but rather than getting an OK steak somewhere in Manhattan, we  we would no doubt opt to visit Gyu-kaku instead. If you are a vegan, it might not be the perfect place for you, but if you are a meat lover, do not miss out on some Yakiniku action. 



・ 805 3rd Ave #2, New York, NY 10022

・ 321 W 44th St #103, New York, NY 10036

・ 620 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

・ 34 Cooper Sq, New York, NY 10003



Similar to Gyu-kaku, Toraji is also a Yakiniku chain. While Gyu-kaku has been around for decades, it is only recently in which Toraji gained popularity back in Japan. Considered the upcoming chic Yakiniku restaurant in Japan, it is rapidly expanding its operation abroad. Toraji might be a little bit more expensive than Gyu-kaku but it makes up for the difference in price with the wider range of meat they sell. For example, they have a wide range of Wagyu beef (和牛) in addition to other parts of the meat such beef tongue and intestines. (Though it might not sound appetizing, trust us, they are amazing. For beef tongue, grill it on the hibachi before you grill the meat which is already marinated in sauce so as not to get the flavor on to the beef tongue. Once the beef tongue is cooked, drench it in lemon juice before eating it. The beef tongue has a lot of fat in the meat and the acidity of the lemon juice goes so well with the beef tongue. Intestines contains the most amount of fat among the dishes served and depending on the type of intestine, they have a very different texture but many tend to be chewy. Because Yakiniku is an indoor BBQ, you might come home smelling like one but we guarantee that it will you will not regret it. If you take your family/friends or date here, they will surely be impressed with you knowledge concerning authentic Japanese restaurant and cuisine in NYC.



・ 217 E 43rd St Fl 1, New York, NY 10017


Go Go Curry

Go Go Curry is a Japanese chain restaurant which specializes in Japanese curry. While Japanese food is often considered very healthy, this restaurant is more geared towards serving junky yet very addictive food. While the base of their dishes are curry, you can have different kinds of protein that comes with your curry. Their most popular dish is said to be the curry with the Tonkatsu on top (which is often referred to as Katsu Curry) or you can choose other protein such as Ebi fry (Fried Shrimp) or grilled sausages. But for us, the roux of the curry is their selling point; their rich yet somewhat spicy roux is very addictive and after a month or two, you would probably feel like going back for more. While it may not be the perfect place for a date, if you are by yourself and you feel like having something good, Go Go Curry might turn out to become one of your guilty pleasures.




・ 235 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

・ 273 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

・ 144 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

・ 144 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011

・ 231 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012

Ichiran (一蘭)

Similar to Ippudo (一風堂), Ichiran (一蘭) is also a very famous Ramen chain which originated in the Fukuoka prefecture and serves Hakata ramen. Hakata ramen is a type of ramen in which the soup of the ramen is made out of pork bones and garlic so the bone marrow from the pork bones let out rich flavors and aroma into the soup. Ichiran is also famous worldwide as many of the seats are individualized and once the ramen is ready, the people at the restaurant on the other side of the curtain lift them up to serve you your meal. Once the meal is served, they lower the curtain down again. It involves minimal contact leaving you to concentrate on the taste of the dish. Many people have a misconception concerning ramen. It is not traditionally something you take a long time to finish, nor is it a dish which you enjoy with a bunch of people. It is the Japanese equivalent of American fast good. Once you eat, you get out. People line up outside and even if you are with other people, there might be occasions where you cannot sit next to each other (while this does not happen much anymore) In that sense, Ichiran is the best representation of what a ramen shop is like. You can go in by yourself and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that as that is what a Ramen restaurant is supposed to be.

 Another point worth noting is that, you can order a Kaedama (替え玉) at Ichiran, which is rare in ramen restaurants in the United States. If you order a Kaedama, the people at the restaurant will bring you an additional noodle but only the boiled noodle itself. You typically order the Kaedama when you are hungry but are about to finish the noodles in your bowl so if you are still hungry for more, you just pour the boiled noodles back into your left over soup. In most ramen restaurants back in Japan, having the Kaedama option is the norm, so perhaps, whether or not the restaurants  have the Kaedama option might be a good indicator of whether or not the restaurant is legit. (If the people at the restaurant do not know what a Kaedama is, they have never had ramen in Japan so I would not trust them. That is how normal, having the Kaedama option is.)  

 If you do not feel like you want to have more noodles but, feel like you want to put the leftover soup to good use, we recommend that you order a bowl of rice which you will use to soak up the soup. We do not recommend this to people who do not like drinking the soup, but if you love the soup at Ichiran, we are sure that you will enjoy this way of eating it as well. 

 While the ramen will cost you roughly 25 dollars, its definitely worth spending that 25 dollars here as you will get a high quality and authentic ramen. 




・ 152 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020

・ 132 W 31st St, New York, NY 10001

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