Commonly referred as nabe (なべ), nabemono (鍋物) is the term referring to all varieties of Japanese one pot dishes. There is nothing as effective to warm the winter like a soup. But in East Asia, it is also believed that sharing from one and the same pot makes for closer relationships. Very much like the closeness implied by any Spanish Tapas Bar or Japanese Izakaya.
Wintertime is a great moment to visit Japan. Days are sunny and crisp, while interesting spots remain empty, far away from the crowds that are drown to the country in Spring or Summer time. So if you get the chance to visit Tokyo in these days, get a Yamanote ride to Ebisu (or simply walk during 10 minutes down South, from Shibuya). Head off the West Exit and simply drop in one of the many places around.
Ebisu-nishi is filled with restaurants worth visiting, aside from little stores and cozy cafés. Remember that a crowded restaurant is a sign for quality and good price/quality balance. In any case, all you can find around Ebisu (Daikanyama, Meguro, Naka-Meguro, Jiyūgaoka) is cheaper and more relaxed than other areas in Tokyo. Sometimes feels like the side of Tokyo that everyone should visit.
Artsy, silent, filled with small cafés, curious boutiques and low-rise houses. The perfect balance between Europe and the local Japan.
Choices can be hard with japanese-only menus. Still, it is easier when you go to non-japanese places. There everything is written in syllabic katakana. With imagination you can identify what is what (i.e. サラダ is read sa·ra·da that stands for salad)
In-house smoking can be annoying, but is unfortunately common in Japan.
Table grill, for some DYI cooking.
The final result.