Before we get started, check out these awesome cooking classes in Shinjuku:
Airkitchen is like the Air BNB of cooking classes, letting you take a cooking class from a Shinjuku local right in their house. It's an awesome way to get a truly local experience (and a great meal) while in Tokyo. Check it out!
Best Affordable Restaurants in Shinjuku:
Kizuna Sushi Nishi Shinjuku Location (Sushi)
Kizuna Sushi is known for its freshness, relaxed traditional style ambiance, and affordable all-you-can-eat course that is ¥3,980 for men and ¥3,480 for women (2-hour limit). The all-you-can-eat menu has around 100 types of sushi to choose from and includes some expensive ones such as uni (sea urchin) and ikura (salmon roe). All-you-can-eat uni and ikura for under ¥4,000 is really a steal! Give it a try if you've worked up an appetite and have a craving for sushi.
Kizuna Sushi is located about a 5-minute walk from the West Exit of Shinjuku Station.
Don't miss that blue signboard, otherwise, you'll be missing out on some of the best ramen you can possibly have in Tokyo. The basement floor restaurant of only 15 seats has become one of the iconic ramen joints of Shinjuku. Whenever you visit, you're likely to see a long line in front of it. While it is famous for its thick seafood-based tsukemen (noodles and broth are served separately), you also might want to try their simple standard ramen too. Kamatama ramen (like Kamatama Udon, a popular type of udon with a raw egg inside the dish) is also worth a try. A meal at Fuunji will cost you around ¥1,000.
Located a 6-minute walk from the South Exit of Shinjuku Station.
Tonkatsu Santa ('Tonkatsu', Or Deep Fried Pork Cutlets)
Tonkatsu Santa's claim to fame is its super crispy tonkatsu crust. How they do it is a secret but some people speculate they add bread crusts to their batter. The result is a coating with a crunchy texture, unlike any other tonkatsu. Not only can you have pork cutlets done that way, but also shrimps! The tonkatsu-shrimp mix set is quite popular. Most dishes are ¥1,300 or less.
Tonkotsu Santa is located a 5-minute walk from the East Exit of the Shinjuku Station.
Torimitsu ('Yakitori', Or Japanese Skewered Grilled Chicken)
This little back alley restaurant may be hard to find, but you won't regret getting there once you've tried the amazing yakitori! The quaint little yakitori restaurant really has a local feel to it. With only 12 seats, it's quite popular with the locals and for any out-of-town visitors wanting to try some great grub! If you're unsure what to order, just ask the chef to grill you up a few different things so you can try some of the locals' favourites. Customers here often pair their meal with some Japanese sake or shochu. You can have an excellent filling meal with drinks for less than ¥4,000.
Torimitsu is located a 4-minute walk from the Seibu Shinjuku Station.
Kouei Honten ('Yakiniku', Or Japanese BBQ)
This restaurant specializes in 'horumon' (innards) but you can get regular cuts too that are amazing. They have a huge variety of meat cuts available, including marbled Japanese beef. Everything is reasonably priced for the quality you receive. A plate of premium quality Japanese beef is just ¥1,500 for instance. The restaurant has many side orders of soups and salads as well.
Kouei is located in Kabukicho (east side of the Shinjuku Station).
Darumaya ('Jingisukan', Or Lamb Yakiniku)
Darumaya is the best-rated 'jingisukan' (a type of lamb yakiniku from Hokkaido) restaurant according to many online sources. Rarely is lamb served at other yakiniku restaurants - or at Japanese restaurants in general for that matter - so it's definitely something special worth the try. The place is pretty small with only 14 counter seats, so you're better to make a reservation to be safe! The succulent meat and its affordability are what makes this place so popular!
The restaurant is located on a second floor (above the Le Coupe Chou restaurant), at a 5-minute walk from Shinjuku Station's West Exit.
Shabujo ('Shabu Shabu', Or Japanese Hotpot)
This restaurant is definitely one of the best for shabu shabu in Shinjuku. It's located in Kabukicho (east side of Shinjuku), among the crowded streets and the bright lights, but the interior is so warm and calming. The restaurant has some excellent quality meat and vegetables. The presentation of the dishes is also quite something. It adds an extra touch that makes it feel more sophisticated than other shabu shabu restaurants. Another point of merit of this restaurant is the excellent homemade sesame dipping sauce served with every meal. Set meals start at ¥3,800.
Buchiumaya ('Okonomiyaki', Or Japanese Savoury Pancake)
Located around an 8-minute walk from Shinjuku Station, you'll find a very popular okonomiyaki restaurant that has been featured several times on TV shows. They are specialized in serving Hiroshima style* okonomiyaki, and this is probably one of the most famous okonomiyaki restaurants in all of Tokyo! You can experience exquisite okonomiyaki with a local atmosphere. As this restaurant is very popular, making a reservation is highly recommended. Expect to pay ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 for dinner and about ¥1,000 for lunch.
*Unlike the Osaka style okonomiyaki, the ingredients of the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki are not all mixed together; they are layered. Also, the Hiroshima style always includes noodles (either yakisoba or udon) and a fried egg. Unlike the Osaka style where the customers make the okonomiyaki themselves, restaurants serving the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki are made by the chefs and served to you on a plate.
Daian (Soba Noodles)
Daian is one of the most famous soba restaurants in Tokyo. You can enjoy a soba set meal during lunchtime for around ¥1,500. For dinner, if you order appetizers and sake besides soba, you can expect to pay about ¥4,000. The soba is handmade and they offer a variety of toppings such as vegetables, mushrooms, fish, and meat.
Located just a minute walk from the South East Exit of Shinjuku station.
Bonus Info - Night Foodie Tour In Shinjuku
If you want to discover Shinjuku's food scene and also learn about the culture of the place, we recommend this wonderful foodie tour of Shinjuku by night with a local guide. You get to eat a set of delicious sushi made right before your eyes, and also a wagyu beef (yes, the famous Japanese cattle!) and a yakiniku (Japanese bbq) full meal on the same tour. The guides are super friendly and you'll learn a lot about the area from a local's perspective.
See the link below for more information.
These are arguably the best restaurants in their respective genre where you can eat a meal for ¥4,000 or less in Shinjuku. Hope you found this article useful and that you'll get to enjoy these superb restaurants!
For more affordable restaurants around Tokyo, check out our article on Tokyo's top restaurants: