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The World's Top Restaurant Goes to Tokyo

May 20, 2014

One of the world's best restaurants is turning Japanese, for the time being. By Scott Haas

Published on May 20, 2014


Foodies in Japan are heading towards a banner year. Noma, ranked as one of the best restaurants in the world, is relocating from its base in Copenhagen and setting up shop in Tokyo for two months in early 2015.

Chef Rene RedzepiRené Redzepi, the restaurant's chef-owner, has been smitten with high-end Japanese cuisine since 2009 when he visited Kikunoi, a kaiseki restaurant in the Gion section of Kyoto run by chef Yoshihiro Murata.

The menu at Kikunoi is artful and delicate and can include, depending on the season, dishes like sea eel and yuba rolls or sea bream sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves. This elegant cuisine and the educational experience made a deep impression on Redzepi. "I was awestruck by the richness of Japanese food culture," he says on the restaurant's website. "In some way since that first visit I've been secretly planning this temporary relocation."

So five years after Murata's initial invitation, Redzepi is making the move and taking the concept of the "pop up" restaurant to a trans-global extreme. What better place for an ingredient-obsessed chef than Japan, a country with 24 mini-seasons, some of which last five to seven days?

What kind of food should you expect? "Although our entire staff will move to Tokyo, we'll leave our ingredients at home," Redzepi says, "Rather we'll bring our mindset and sensibilities to the best of pristine winter produce from all over Japan." The particulars, like the opening date and locale, have yet to be determined, but all will be revealed on later this year. So grab your chopsticks, because these flavors are sure to transcend translation.


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