Seiji Yamamoto (pictured) with head chef Takeo Ozawa
A true icon: Chef Seiji Yamamoto was voted as the first ever American Express Icon Award winner, a prestigious accolade introduced to Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2019 and a fitting tribute to the man who has been one of Japan’s gastronomic luminaries for more than a decade and a half.
A story of seasonality: Seiji Yamamoto’s seasonally-driven, 12-course omakase (chef’s choice) tells the story of Japan’s best ingredients at their peak of ripeness. Depending on the season, diners will spin through a menu of ayu (sweetfish) in the summer; matsubagani crabs in the fall; and fugu during the winter.
Old meets new: While Yamamoto initially gained recognition for integrating avant-garde cooking techniques into his cuisine, he has always been deeply grounded in classic kaiseki tradition.
New digs: After more than 15 year in Roppongi, in 2018 Yamamoto relocated his iconic restaurant to a plot three times the size of the original, now claiming nearly 5,000 square feet in Tokyo’s modern Hibiya Midtown luxury development. Diners pick between seats in the main dining room, one of two private rooms or one semi-private room.
International presence: RyuGin commands two overseas branches. Tenku RyuGin debuted seven years ago in Hong Kong, earning a place on the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2014. One year later, Yamamoto opened Shoun RyuGin in Taipei, which has been voted into the last three editions of the list.