Restaurant Port offers some of the best scenery and cheapest meals in Minato Ward.

Tokyo’s Minato Ward has a well-deserved reputation as one of the swankiest subdivisions of the city. Minato encompasses the fashionable shops, restaurants, and clubs of the Akasaka, Azabu, and Roppongi neighborhoods, as well as the headquarters of some of the most prestigious companies in Japan in the Hamamatsucho and Shiodome districts.

So you probably won’t be surprised to hear that Minato Ward eatery Restaurant Port offers an amazing view of the high-rent skyline, including one of the best possible vantage points from which to enjoy an unobstructed line of sight to Tokyo Tower. However, Port’s meals are incredibly affordable, and outside of its group of regular customers, hardly anyone knows about the place, because it’s also the cafeteria for the Minato Ward Office.

For those who haven’t had the occasion to visit one, Tokyo’s ward offices are essentially like a city hall. Residents and local business owners go there for things like registering their official address, submitting marriage paperwork, and other administrative and paperwork stuff. In a ward as big as Minato, there are a lot of people working at the ward office, and Restaurant Port, located on the 11th floor of the building, is a place for them to eat lunch.

Port is open to the public too, though, and you don’t even have to be living or working in Minato to dine there. Breakfast is served from 7:45 to 8:45 in the morning, and lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. We decided to roll up a little before 11, so that we could be first in line when they opened for lunch.

You order by purchasing a meal ticket from a vending machine. The menu consists of standard Japanese casual restaurant fare like donburi (rice bowls), curry rice, and noodles of the soba, udon, and ramen varieties, and nothing costs more than 900 yen (US$7). Right now they’ve got a “Regional Ramen Festival” going on, with a different type of ramen being cycled in every few days, so that’s what we opted for, paying 600 yen for the Noto Irushi Ramen, a specialty of Ishikawa Prefecture made with a fish stock broth.

▼ Photos of representatives in the Regional Ramen Festival

After purchasing our ticket, we walked around the corner to the counter and handed it to the staff…

…and after a short wait, we had our food. Since we were the first customers in the restaurant for lunch, we took our tray to a corner seat situated where two window walls meet.

Visually, we were pretty impressed by our ramen. Everything had been skillfully prepared and placed in a stylish crimson bowl, and the color of the yolk in the sliced egg was particularly enticing. We honestly hadn’t expected a government office cafeteria to put so much effort into the presentation.

As for how the ramen tasted, it was fine. Not spectacular, but not bad either. At 600 yen, it felt like a fair price and left us satisfied, wand we can say the same about the 300-yen mini curry rice we’d added as a side order.

But if the flavor of the food is good but nothing to write home about, why are we writing this article? Because when we looked up from our bowl of ramen, this is what we saw.

The windows look out at Tokyo Tower, and the view is pretty much perfect. There are lots of places in Minato Ward where you can catch a glimpse of Tokyo Tower peeking out from between the city’s skyscrapers, but at Restaurant Port you can see the structure all the way from top to bottom.

The restaurant owes this amazing view, in part, to the fact that the Minato Ward Office is located across the street from the grounds of Zojoji Temple, and on the opposite side of the grounds and its surrounding green space is Tokyo Tower.

You can se Tokyo Tower from just about any table in Restaurant Port, but the corner seat we snagged offers the very best view, so getting there before they open for lunch is definitely worth it. And if you’re craving even more ward office eats, there’s another hidden cafeteria worth checking out on the other side of downtown Tokyo.

Restaurant information
Restaurant Port / レストラン・ポート
Address: Tokyo-to, Minato-ku, Shibakoen 1-5-25, Minatokuyakusho 11th floor
東京都港区芝公園1-5-25 港区役所11階
Open 7:45-8:45. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed Saturdays every week and also from December 29 to January 3

Photos ©SoraNews24
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