Sky Restaurant 634: One of Tokyo’s Best-Kept Secrets
Even though it opened over three years ago and immediately shot to the top of most tourists' must-visit lists when coming to Japan, I only recently made it to Tokyo Skytree. For the most part, it was everything I expected it would be: impressive engineering and architecture, amazing views across Tokyo's sprawling metropolis and beyond, plenty of photo opportunities, and no shortage of souvenir shops. What I didn't expect was to discover what was probably the most impressive restaurant I have dined at so far in Tokyo, not only for its location, but also for its wonderful food and service.
The numbers in Sky Restaurant 634’s name are pronounced “musashi” and represent the full height of Skytree, even though the restaurant itself is located just under the lower observation deck, at about 345 meters high. This makes it Tokyo’s highest restaurant, and therefore, the one with the best views. The majority of the tables line the floor-to-ceiling windows, but in order to make the most of your visit, be sure to request one when making your reservation.
Aside from the awesome view, the first thing I noticed about 634 was the outstanding service. Both the hostess and our waiter greeted us with warm smiles, and our server took the time to explain the menu and each dish in clear English. When we ordered a second glass of wine, he even suggested getting a pairing set that would save us a bit of money in the end. He was always attentive and closeby when needed, but never hovered unnecessarily.
As for the food, it was divine. Without even realizing it, I was making “mmmm” sounds with each bite. The restaurant serves course meals only, with two each available for lunch and dinner. We went for the Iki course (¥12,000 per person, plus tax and service charge), which includes an amuse bouche, starter, fish dish, meat dish, dessert, and petit fours with coffee or tea. Those who order the Miyabi course (¥15,000 per person) will be treated to all of this, plus an additional starter and a second dessert.
The exact dishes in each course change according to what ingredients are in season, and there is only one option available at a time (allergies and dietary restrictions can be accommodated if advance notice is given). But I choose to see this as a positive rather than a negative: it means I don’t have to make any difficult decisions, and I know I’m always going to get something wonderful and different, no matter when I go back. Michellin-starred master chef Naoya Makimura creates wonderfully creative and exciting dishes with French and Japanese influences, and everything is so beautifully presented that each dish looks like a work of art.
For our fish dish, we were served the most delicate bouillabaisse I have ever tasted. Fragrant with saffron and dill, and dotted with succulent chopped tomatoes, the sauce was so good that I found myself unashamedly mopping up the last of it with my bread, even after the tender fish, scallop, mussel and prawn were long gone.
The meat dish was equally enticing. Two pieces of roasted bone-in veal were topped with a grand veneur sauce, garnished with truffle shavings, and served with a mushroom and foie gras ravioli. The ravioli was handmade, but instead of a regular pasta shell, it used a Chinese dumpling shell, which lent the dish a unique texture and flavor.
I’m generally not one who goes for rich desserts, so I was pleased when our server placed a peach sorbet dish in front of me. True to the East-meets-West theme, it was accompanied by annin tofu, or almond jelly. Topped with a wedge of ruby red grapefruit, it made for a light and refreshing end to the meal.
Sky Restaurant 634 is definitely pricier than most of the restaurants I frequent, but if you’re looking for a place to splurge on a memorable meal and experience, I highly recommend it. Reservations are required and the limited seating fills up fast, especially on weekends, so be sure to call with plenty of advance notice if you’ll be celebrating a special occasion.
Address: 1-1-2 Oshiage, Sumida-ku, Tokyo
Open: Daily, except some irregular holidays; 11 a.m.–4 p.m. (last order 2 p.m.) for lunch; 5:30–11 p.m. (last order 8:30 p.m.) for dinner