tempura tendon tenya

It’s always good to find a “go-to” place. Somewhere reliable that’s easy to get to, never disappoints, and always seems to be what you’re in the mood for.

For me, that’s Tempura Tendon Tenya in Tokyo. They have a lot of locations, so as my “go-to” place, I can easily “go-to” pretty much wherever I am. The location in Omotesando is, unsurprisingly, usually the busiest. I’ve had to wait in line every time I’ve gone. But the branches in Meguro (right by the station!) and Ebisu (a little bit more of a walk but still pretty close to the station) are rarely full so you can easily pop in for a quick lunch.

Tenya’s great for so many reasons.

The tempura is light and crispy and clearly freshly made. Make no mistake — not all tempura in Tokyo is created equal. Tenya’s tempura has real flakes and crunches in your mouth. I’ve been to other tendon places around the city where the tempura doesn’t have those fabulous crispy pieces flaking off and the breading actually feels almost damp. Gross.

Tenya offers a lot of changing seasonal specialties so you never get bored. Keith gets a different special every time we go, and every time he swears it’s the best thing he’s ordered there. I tend to stick with the “Excellent Tendon” because, well, it’s in the name.

Get it as a set with soba or udon noodles (hot or cold) if you’re extra hungry. I’ve been ordering the tendon by itself (non-set) lately in an attempt to be more healthy (never mind the bowl of fried food), and really the tendon alone is enough for me. And it’s less than 700 yen! I’m consistently amazed with the quality and amount of food you get at some restaurants here for low prices.

It might not be fancy or particularly healthy, but Tenya’s definitely got it nailed when it comes to hitting the spot. And, hey, there’s veggies in the tempura. So I say eat up.

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