Explore Tokyo with Gilt City

By Kelly Wetherille
May 1, 2014

There's no doubt about it; Tokyo has some of the best restaurants, bars, cafes, spas and salons in the world. But all too often, the hard part is knowing where to start or having the ambition to go out and try someplace entirely new. This is where Gilt City comes in. With some amazing special deals on food, wine, spa treatments, fitness classes and even live performances, it takes the guesswork out of planning your week.

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I recently had the pleasure of sampling a special Gilt wine and dinner event hosted by Joe Campanale, beverage director and co-owner of some of New York’s hottest restaurants, including Dell’Anima and L’Artusi, as well as the natural wine bar Anfora. The event was held at Patina, a fantastic new restaurant in Shibuya with an open, airy atmosphere and an extensive wine list. Had it not been for this event, I never would have known about Patina, and now I can’t wait to go back.

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After a welcome glass of sparkling wine, we settled in and listened as Joe briefly explained each of the wines he had chosen for us to taste, and why he paired it with a particular food. Outgoing and charismatic, he made learning about wine easy and fun, adding in little personal details about each winery or winemaker to make it even more interesting.

Among our favorite wines of the evening was the 2010 Au Bon Climat Hildegard, an estate bottled white blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Aligote. My dining partner, who has a much better nose for wine than I do, noticed a smokey oak aroma, which Joe said comes from the fact that it’s aged in new French oak. Its rich and complex flavors were balanced by a crisp, light sweetness that complemented the creaminess of the food. It was very moreish.

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The final wine of the evening, and the only red, was a 2010 Benjamin Leroux Chambolle-Musigny Pinot Noir. Joe said he wanted to show us that, contrary to popular belief, red wines can also be delicious with fish, so he paired it with seared cuttlefish rolled around chorizo. The smokiness of the dish perfectly balanced the light elegance of the wine.

While I had just a taste of this wonderful event, the lucky people who scored it on Gilt City got even more from it. At just ¥8,000 for two people, the purchase price included a full meal, 10 tasting pours of wine, and a specially curated gift bag including a spa ticket and Riedel wine glasses. It was an incredible value, and I’m sure none of those who bought it were disappointed.

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This is just one example of some of the fabulous deals that are available each week through Gilt City. The site is in Japanese only, but it is formatted to work with Google Translate if you’re using the Chrome browser, so it’s accessible to everyone. In addition to being a great resource for discovering previously unknown spots in our wonderfully vast city, an added bonus is that it allows you to try these places for a fraction of their usual prices.

Besides the dinner and wine event, other deals I’ve bought from Gilt City in the past six months or so include tickets to “Le Noir: The Dark Side of Cirque,” a burlesque-style Cirque du Soleil show. That package came complete with a glass of sparkling wine, a souvenir program and a special Q&A session with the performers after the show.

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A friend and I also recently purchased a very chic bento box deal for Le Jardin de Tweed, the rooftop terrace attached to Beige Alain Ducasse, located in Ginza’s Chanel building. Served on the most high-class disposable paper dishes I’ve ever seen, the food was delicious, fresh and filling. With its accompanying glass of Champagne, it was the most stylishly gourmet picnic imaginable, and on a warm, sunny spring day the view and atmosphere couldn’t be beat.

If any of these deals sound appealing to you, I highly recommend checking out Gilt City. New offers are added every day, and can include anything from makeup lessons and nail art to personal training sessions and glass making workshops. It’s the perfect way to get out there and explore our city, without breaking the bank!