Review excerpt: While service at Esterre is as polished as you’d expect at a hotel of this caliber, there is none of the fuss associated with the highest level of Michelin-starred restaurants.

Review excerpt: On any given day, Lees Bread offers around 20 different varieties, most baked with organic Japanese flours and ancient grains, like kamut and spelt, sourced from farmers in Iwate and Hokkaido prefectures.

Review excerpt: "It's all about the relationship between the food and the natural environment in which it is grown," says chef Kazuhiro Matsuki who is practicing "satoyama gastronomy," a form of farm-to-table cooking at Shizuoka's Bio-S.

Review excerpt: At Tokyo's Sio, owner-chef Shusaku Toba is integrating strands into a cuisine that blends French and Italian with plenty of Japanese and other influences.

Review excerpt: A Peu Pres has a whimsical easygoing charm. And chef Mizuho Takemura’s take on French food is wholesome, without fanfare or drama.

Review excerpt: Kushiage, udon, kinmedai — Whatever is served at Beignet, you’re in for a treat.

Review excerpt: As Bistro de Yoshimoto's name suggests, and as the nonstop soundtrack of accordion music makes abundantly clear, the setting and the fare is undeniably French.

Review excerpt: On paper, the setting for Liaison, a French-inspired restaurant that’s on the upmarket end of eateries of the ward, is ordinary.

Review excerpt: Chwf Shimada operated a bakery and patisserie in Kobe for 20 years before making the move to Osaka with Louis Blanc. Without doubt, Shimada makes some of the most memorable and magnificent cakes.

Review excerpt: The menu at Ode unfolds over a leisurely two to three hours, comprising a dozen dishes at dinner (eight at lunchtime).

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