We’ve first been to Zen when we had an Airbnb in the area and didn’t want to hunt around for a lunch place. We’ve always had a soft spot for udon noodles: Compared to the better known, all-popular ramen they are thicker, more substantial and more “native Japanese”. They come in as many variations as ramen, though.
The first time we went to Zen it was packed with locals, and the air was filled with cigarette smoke. I had the cold udon to dip, and Ingrid had a signature version with a pickled plum on top. Both were high quality, with great broth, and the portions were large enough to fill you up after a long day in the city.
We later found that if you come at slightly “off” times, you’ll have lots of free seats, and a smoke-free environment most of the time; though watching the locals is a treat in itself.
If you’re really hungry, they’ll also serve up some decent tempura and while we didn’t try it (yet), their curry udon is supposedly also a treat.
While fairly close to Harajuku station, Zen is a bit off the beaten path as it is in an residential area without any special attractions. The owners were happy to chat a bit and exited about international guests.
Practical Details: Zen
- Japan, 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya, Jingumae, 1 Chome−2−14 幸進ビル
- Open: Mon-Fri 11:30-15:30 and 17:30-22:30, Sat 11:30-15:30
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