50Best Accolades
  • The Best Restaurant in Asia 2022, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna
  • The Best Restaurant in Japan 2022

Ever-popular contemporary Japanese spot crowned best in the continent


On the Pass

Zaiyu Hasegawa

Pastry Chef

Rei Mochizuki

A brief history: Charismatic chef Zaiyu Hasegawa opened Den in 2007 and the restaurant has been a firm favourite of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting Academy since it debuted at No.37 in 2016. In 2022, Den becomes the first Japanese restaurant since 2013 to be bestowed The Best Restaurant in Asia title, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna – the last winner being the iconic Narisawa.

What makes it special? Hasegawa’s ever-creative take on the elevated cuisine of his homeland is innovative, at times humorous, and always satisfying. But what makes Den so unique among Japanese restaurants – and so popular – is how relaxed and welcoming it feels.

What’s on the plate? While firmly rooted in the framework of kaiseki, Japan’s hyper-seasonal dining tradition, Hasegawa’s menus draw inspiration from all quarters. Expect foie gras in the savoury monaka appetizers, an ant or two in the classic 20-ingredient Den salad, and all kinds of surprises in his now-signature Dentucky Fried Chicken wings.

Service (and sake) with a smile: Returning local regulars and first-time visitors alike are greeted and served with warmth by the front of house team led by Emi Hasegawa, who also keeps diners topped up with eclectic pairings of wine, premium sake, spirits and tea.

Four-legged teamwork: No visit to Den is complete without being introduced to the restaurant’s loyal mascot, Puchi Jr. The second of the Hasegawas’ loyal chihuahuas to bear the Puchi name, this integral member of Team Den often makes appearances at 50 Best awards ceremonies, albeit in virtual form on T-shirts or badges.

No resting on the laurels: Hasegawa’s worldwide travels may have halted in recent times, but the pandemic did not interrupt his domestic projects. Top of that list was Denkushiflori, his latest Tokyo restaurant, opened in September 2020 in partnership (as the name suggests) with his long-time friend and angling companion, chef Hiroyasu Kawate of Florilège.