Maruyama-cho is one of the least-known corners of Shibuya. A generation ago, it was more famous for its "short-stay" hotels and carousing salarymen's sake bars than its dining options. While those pleasures are still available, today the neighborhood attracts a rather more varied — and less predominantly male — demographic.

Just five minutes' walk from the Hachiko Crossing (and only a couple from the rear of the Mark City complex), the short street that undulates through the heart of Maruyama-cho is buzzy and bright in the evening. One of the landmarks is Kaikaya, a seafood-specialist izakaya tavern that has evolved from cult favorite to local institution while more than doubling its footprint. Its new annex next to the original premises is not just larger, it's entirely nonsmoking.

At the far end of the street, Meri Principessa offers budget Italian drinks and snacks in its ground-floor standing bar (currently nicely open-fronted), with seats for 26 in the compact basement. Its diminutive wood-fired oven produces highly acceptable pizzas from as little as ¥500 apiece.