If your domestic Christmas decorations aren’t doing the trick, how about dining out at a restaurant with a bird’s eye view of Tokyo’s biggest and brightest illuminations?
Botanica, Midtown Illuminations
Offering the best vantage point from which to view the Starlight Garden illuminations, this high-class restaurant serves up French-style European food with an Italian twist. You can quaff some seriously good champagne, ordered from the restaurant’s comprehensive wine list, while the thousands of blue LED lights that spot the lawn below burst into images of shooting stars and supernovas. Of course, the stunning view comes at a price: A full-course dinner at the Terrance Conran establishment starts at ¥6,300; and the wine list, while impressive, is not cheap either, with the most reasonable bottle coming in at just under ¥5,000. If you’re looking for a robust red to go with a red-meat meal, I recommend Co^tes du Rho^ne, Vacqueyras Les Christins 2007 at ¥6,300.
Galleria 4F, Tokyo Midtown, Akasaka 9-7-5, Tokyo; (03) 5413-3282
Cafe Garb, Marunouchi Illuminations
This ground-floor cafe has a lovely view of the bright white fairy lights that illuminate the trees outside. Just nearby are the Imperial Palace gardens, where you can work up a healthy appetite before your dinner date. The area is high class, but you won’t necessarily hemorrhage money at this establishment: The most expensive item on the European menu is prime roast beef at ¥3,900, while the deep-fried shrimp with French fries on the side comes highly recommended and costs just ¥1,200. The wine list is decent but not especially inventive, and prices start from just ¥3,000 at bottle. I recommend Duck Pond Chardonnay (¥4,600). If you’re wrapped up well enough you can sit on chairs outside to contemplate the champagne-colored lights, but they’re as well viewed from behind the cafe’s plate glass windows.
Marunouchi 2-2-3, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5220-0440
Trattoria Pesce D’Oro, Shinjuku Southern Terrace Illuminations
Coo over the cute penguins gathered around the Christmas tree, while stuffing your face with black pork and chestnut pate. This glass-fronted Italian restaurant also neighbors a row of trees lit up with twinkly blue lights. If you’re looking for a blowout Christmas dinner, this is the place to go: Two people can book a four-course dinner for ¥10,000 (¥5,000 each), which includes gnocchi with black-truffle cream sauce and Iberian pork with veg. A nice bottle of Chianti to go with it will set you back around ¥3,000, or you could treat yourself to a Barolo for ¥7,200.
Shinjuku Southern Terrace, Yoyogi 2-2-1, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3375-0510
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