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If a restaurant is a reflection of its chef, then it’s no surprise that Sio stands out — and as somewhat of a paradox, too. Located well away from the center of Tokyo, out in the quiet backstreets of Yoyogi-Uehara, it is compact and simply furnished. But it boasts a sense of style that would be the envy of many places in far buzzier parts of town.

That is all due to owner-chef Shusaku Toba. Having built up a name for himself as the man in charge of the kitchen at the highly popular natural wine specialist Gris, he bought the place last year and took over the excellent location. He’s done more than just change the name (pronounced “shio”), though. He’s raised his game, given greater depth to the menu and imbued the restaurant with a powerful new identity.

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