Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - Person pouring wine
Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo – Pas a Pas

Pas a Pas is an Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Araki cho. I’ve actually spent most of my life just knowing Bistro meant food and possibly buttered snails. So let’s refer to Wikipedia Sensei. A bistro is, in its original Parisian incarnation, is a small restaurant, serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting with alcohol. Pas a Pas checks every single one of those boxes and it checks them so, so well.


Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - a tiny French Restaurant

Cheap French Food in Tokyo

Growing up in Arizona, in the US, I was born with my carnitas game down. Locked and loaded. French Food I knew from Pepe Le Pew cartoons. Unpronounceable fancy things on small plates and angry waiters. It was the pinnacle of luxury. My parents took us out to some amazing meals growing up. I remember lots of Italian restaurants, fancy Indian meals, tons of Chinese food but I cant remember us ever going out to French restaurants. As I grew up and moved to Oregon Micro Breweries took over all other forms of dining. That and the little Chinese restaurant in Eugene, OR that my roommate worked at. Popping by a French bistro for lunch was what famous people did. I would have never thought that an authentic French bistro in Tokyo would become one of my all time favorite restaurants.

The menu is simple. It comes in 3 courses. The wine is cheap.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - pate and rape salad

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo – in 3 courses

At Pas a Pas, French for Step by Step, you have 3 courses in each meal and several options to choose from in each course. All for 20 USD and this is a lot of food. Takao always goes for the pate you see above with a bit of carrot rappe salad. They also throw a big warm chunk of baguette and french butter on the table for you with the first round. Eat it all, the lovely woman who runs this place refills it for you. Which is not always the case in Japan.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - chicken mousse and rape salad

I always and without question go for the chicken liver mousse. Grilled liver, meh. Not my favorite but I’ll eat it. However, pan fry those suckers and then mix them in a blender with cream, butter and pink peppercorns and we are in business. Pardon me while I get an ice cream cone because I will eat that in scoops.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - a steak on a plate

Steak, Cheek and Butter

Takao went with the pan fried steak. Fried in butter of course. Viva la France. Served with a bit of the old spicy mustard this is exactly what you want for lunch. Preferably washed down with a bit of red. All of this before returning to work and have what I can only assume would be a massive afternoon nap at your desk.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - beef cheek in red wine sauce


Red wine pairs excellently with red wine sauce so I went with the slow cooked beef check. With a side of Gratin Dauphinois. I think one of the reasons I always felt so unaware of French food growing up is because it was hiding in plain site. Who knew scalloped potatoes had such an amazing name in French? Possibly everyone and I am just late to the game. Dauphinois. Pardon me as I gargle with champagne.


Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo Pas a Pas

Hope you saved room

It wouldn’t be an Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo without a very tiny and not overly sweet dessert. Here we have a wee coconut pudding with a big dollop of mango. I think first time visitors to Japan are always surprised by how unsweetened the desserts are. Once you’re used to it however it becomes difficult to go back West and enjoy desserts. I was never a big dessert person anyway. If I had to choose dessert or more steak or cheese I’ll always take the latter.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - cheese on a plate

Which is why I had a big, stinky plate of camembert for dessert. It wasn’t on the menu but I come here often enough that the lovely woman who runs this place always lets me know if they’ve got some extra “stinking bishop” that needs to be finished off before the mold goes from gourmet to grotesque. She brought out more bread as well. Absolutely lovely woman.

French Lunch in Tokyo

Just writing about this has me wanting to take a post meat, cheese and wine nap. How do the French get anything done? I visited Paris last October and they drink more wine at lunch than I do at Christmas. It’s extremely impressive. I’d be striking all the time to if my damned job kept getting in the way of my lunches. You dont see a lot of wine drinking during lunch here in Tokyo, which may take some of the authenticity away.

Go on though, you deserve it.

Authentic French Bistro in Tokyo - French food on gingham tablecloth

Cheap French Food in Tokyo – Pas a Pas

In true French Fashion I have no idea what their hours are and neither does Google. Avoid Sunday is my best guess.

Still hungry for more French Lunch Courses? Check out Lugdunum.

Leave a Reply