Tokyo karaage fried chicken spot near Hardy Barracks hits the spot

IPPO serves up fresh fried chicken karaage and offers great weekday lunch deals perfect for a break for you and your wallet while exploring the city. Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan
IPPO serves up fresh fried chicken karaage and offers great weekday lunch deals perfect for a break for you and your wallet while exploring the city. Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan

Tokyo karaage fried chicken spot near Hardy Barracks hits the spot

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Aside from sushi, ramen and tonkatsu, “karaage” deep-fried meat, fish or vegetables without the use of batter, is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. While any meat, fish and vegetables can be cooked as a karaage, most commonly, the dish is made with chicken.

To get the crisp and juicy texture, small pieces of chicken are marinated in soy sauce-based broth, dredged in flour or starch powders, and then deep-fried. Karaage is often enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon, a side of mayo, or tartar sauce for dipping.

IPPO a karaage restaurant in Tokyo.  Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan
 IPPO, a restaurant in central Tokyo, has a stylish atmosphere and delicious karaage. Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan

The dish is very popular at izakaya pubs and other restaurants as a side, appetizer or even meal. As you stroll around cities in Japan, you may notice that there are even restaurants dedicated to serving up the fried delicacy.

In Tokyo, you’ll find IPPO, a stone’s throw from Hardy Barracks. The eatery specializes in karaage and offers great weekday lunch deals perfect for a break for you and your wallet while exploring the city.

Ippo Tokyo
Look out for the nondescript entrance to IPPO, a restaurant in Tokyo offering delicious karaage.  Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan

IPPO is in the basement of a building near the Nishiazabu Intersection and has a clean, cozy Japanese-style interior with a long wooden bar and tables on tatami. Heading down the staircase to this relaxing environment with the promise of a tasty, fried treat, is a great way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the city above. The restaurant can accommodate as many as 40 diners and is a great spot for hosting a party or large groups, as well.

For lunch, from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., diners can choose from three options ranging in price from 880 to 950 yen (about $7.50 to $9.25) including karaage, oyakodon (a bowl of rice topped with chicken and eggs cooked together) and chicken-soup ramen. 
My usual order is the karaage set with about four or five large pieces of chicken thigh, salad, miso soup, steamed rice and pickles.

 Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan
IPPO uses hinaijidori chicken from Akita Prefecture for it's delicious karaage sets.  Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi, Stripes Japan

Since the eatery makes its karaage using the famous “hinaijidori” chicken brand produced in Akita Prefecture, the result is full-bodied, chewy yet tender and crispy-crusted pieces. The flavor is exceptional and pairs well with the rice and miso soup. I recommend sprinkling some of the rock salt IPPO keeps on the tables and counters over your karaage. 
While sampling tasty karaage, you may want another bowl of rice. Don’t worry – rice refills are free IPPO!
If you’re staying at Hardy Barracks or New Sanno, or are simply out and about in Tokyo, IPPO is a great option for a cheap and delicious lunch. Give them a try next time you find yourself hungry for crispy fried karaage chicken!

IPPO
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (Mon, Tue, Thu and Fri), 5 – 11 p.m. (Mon – Sat)
Location: 2-13-15 [B1F] Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo (a 2-minute walk from Hardy Barracks)
URL: https://ippo-nishiazabu.jimdofree.com/
Tel: (03) 3797-0887
*lunch sets are only available on weekdays.
 

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