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- Tempura Iwai
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14｜Tempura IwaiTempura (Ginza)
Chef Iwai's sincerity continues to shine after 25 years of serving earnestly prepared Tempura to his hardworking customers
Tempura Iwai has been captivating customers for over 25 years with its unwavering dedication to tempura. Chef Yoshiro Iwai founded Tempura Iwai in 1998, after spending 17 years at the prestigious Tempura restaurant Ginza Ten-Ichi. In 2015, Chef Iwai relocated his restaurant to its current location, meticulously preserving his signature white wooden counter to maintain a close bond with his customers. Since its initial opening, Chef Iwai and his wife have jointly managed the restaurant, creating a warm and peaceful atmosphere that offers respite from Ginza’s buzzing streets. Tempura Iwai’s omakase comprises 14 to 15 seafood dishes that follow the tradition of Edo-style tempura. Each ingredient is meticulously chosen by Chef Iwai at the market. In every course, the seafood dishes are complemented with fresh seasonal vegetables. This ensures a balanced course that varies based on the freshest ingredients available that day. Chef Iwai customizes each course according to guest preferences, providing a more personalized dining experience. The restaurant’s wide open counter allows guests to observe the entire tempura preparation process, enhancing their intimate dining experience. Throughout the course, Chef Iwai matches the pace of each customer while frying each tempura to perfection, showcasing his level of craftsmanship. A visit to Tempura Iwai today allows guests to enjoy the result of the skills Chef Iwai developed over 25 years of trial and error. Particularly noteworthy is Tempura Iwai’s uni (sea urchin) tempura, a favorite among regular customers. Fried without a seaweed wrapper, it floods the mouth with rich umami with every bite, creating a truly memorable experience. Chef Iwai recalls that in the earlier phase of his career "many customers used to provide tough feedback, but that feedback ultimately fueled my growth." The perfected uni tempura we enjoy today reflects Chef Iwai’s persistent efforts to address the thoughtful feedback of his most loyal customers. We encourage you to ask Chef Iwai about these stories as you enjoy his tempura.
Midway through the course, Tempura Iwai presents its iconic tuna sashimi
First time guests at Tempura Iwai are often surprised by the singular piece of tuna sashimi among the various tempura dishes. We asked Chef Iwai about this unexpected dish which unveiled a story that speaks volumes about his deep rooted values. When Chef Iwai initially opened his restaurant in 1998, a tuna dealer offered him heartfelt and valuable advice. Filled with a deep sense of gratitude, Chef Iwai made the decision to feature his tuna in his course as a sign of appreciation. Though he initially had concerns about how tuna would pair with tempura he eventually decided to serve the sashimi as a palate cleanser in the middle of the course. This decision consistently received high praise from customers and has since become a staple dish. Even now, as the tuna dealer’s son is taking over, the trust and strong bond with them continue to grow, Chef Iwai explained with a smile.
“ROCOCO has become an indispensable presence in my restaurant”
Tempura Iwai is one of the few tempura restaurants with its own wine cellar, reflecting Chef Iwai’s personal passion for wine. Together with his wife, the pair meticulously selects the wines and champagnes that best complement the restaurant’s tempura. The strong initial impression ROCOCO made on Chef Iwai resulted in its immediate addition to their beverage menu among many great wines and champagnes. Chef Iwai recalls, "It was incredibly delicious, to the point I was shocked!" ROCOCO has since become the most popular beer at his restaurant. “ROCOCO has become an indispensable presence in my restaurant.”
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