Eating in Japan is one of the (many) highlights you can do in the country, but eating at a high-end, exclusive Japanese restaurant is a whole new experience all together. As the Eat Your Kimchi duo found out the hard way, getting through the front door is a whole journey in itself.
Exclusive Japanese restaurants are generally very small, often seating only 7 to 10 people, usually to guarantee an element of quality to the menu. Due to the limited seats available, getting a reservation into an exclusive Japanese restaurant is next to impossible and one of the only few ways to get into one is to personally know the chef.
The thinking behind this is that the chef only wants to serve people who will appreciate the food, and once you know the chef, he knows that you can appreciate his cooking. As such, chefs will only want to serve people they personally know and thus the limited number of seats are constantly filled by a rotation of people who are in the restaurant's good books.
There is a second way of getting into these restaurants, and that is to know someone who has a seat reserved at one of these restaurants and getting them to give it up for you. However, there is pressure on those people getting referred to these restaurants by friends as if the food is not appreciated, bans can be issued out by the chefs.
The bottom line - It's next to impossible to get into an exclusive Japanese restaurant, and if you somehow manage to get into one, be sure to really enjoy the food or otherwise you will be banned!
Hit the audio tab above ^ to listen to Simon & Martina's experience at exclusive Japanese restaurants at the 16:07 mark
Or listen right here at the 16:07 mark:
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