Ponta Honke / Ueno-Hirokoji: A restaurant that changed the concept of tonkatsu

index pageTonkatsu topAbout this site
Ponta Honke (Taito-ku, Tokyo)
Uenohirokoji, Okachimachi, Yushima/Tonkatsu, Western cuisine

This is a long-established tonkatsu restaurant that reminds us that “this is where it all started” after eating at many different restaurants.
Lunch: ¥4,000~¥4,999 Dinner: ¥5,000~¥5,999

Tonkatsu is now very popular not only among Japanese but also among foreigners, and Ponta Honke is said to be the birthplace of tonkatsu.
We report on Ponta Honke, one of the most famous tonkatsu restaurants in Tokyo and Japan.
For business hours, holidays, reviews, etc., please check the official website and the Google map at the bottom of this page.

It is said to be the birthplace of tonkatsu!

I think it was around 2007 when I first visited Ponta Honke.
Until then, I had only been to so-called “ordinary tonkatsu restaurants” in town, but this restaurant taught me that there is a completely different kind of food in this world called tonkatsu.
I don’t remember exactly how much it cost at the time, but I was shocked at the price, as I had always eaten tonkatsu for around 700 to 800 yen.
Then I was shocked a second time when I tasted the tonkatsu that was brought to me.
The flavor of the meat, the way the batter was fried, and even the aroma of the pork were all new to me and truly eye-opening. It may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I learned that there is a completely different food on this earth from the pork cutlets I had been eating.
As I will explain later, Ponta Honke is a long-established tonkatsu restaurant that is said to be the birthplace of tonkatsu (there are various theories).
If you like tonkatsu, you should definitely visit there.

Tense atmosphere in the store

The other day, I visited “Ponta Honke” for the first time in a while, and was greeted by the same storefront as usual (first-time customers may find it a little difficult to enter 💦).
Ponta Honke is about a 5-minute walk from JR Okachimachi Station.

Once you step inside the restaurant, you feel an indescribable sense of tension.
Not in a bad way, but you can feel the owner’s extraordinary passion for his tonkatsu.
The clientele is a bit different from the trendy tonkatsu restaurants of late, with a higher age range and more chic-looking men and women.
The restaurant was founded in 1905. The secret is “selection of ingredients” and “skillful techniques.
The roasts are selected with a keen eye for quality, cleaned with expert techniques, and then deep-fried slowly in homemade lard for at least 10 minutes at a low temperature, using only the lean part of the core.
After a long wait, the tonkatsu is brought to the table in front of you, and your heart is always racing.

Everything is delicious, not only the pork cutlet, but also the rice, red miso soup, and pickles.

Obsession with the name “Katsuletsu”

Although there are various theories, it is said that Shinjiro Shimada, the founder of Ponta Honke, is the creator of tonkatsu.
Today, the term “tonkatsu” is commonly used, but the term “tonkatsu” originated in the Taisho era (1912-1926), and Ponta Honke, founded in the Meiji era (1868-1912), still sticks to the name “katsuletsu” (pork cutlet).
This is why the menu items are listed as “Katsuletsu” instead of “Tonkatsu”.
As you can see from the image below, the tonkatsu (= cutlet) at Ponta Honke is nothing short of delicious.
Eating tonkatsu here always makes me happy.

Other items on the menu are also carefully selected.

Along with Katsuletsu, Tongue Stew is one of the most representative dishes of “Ponta Honke”.
The tongue is made from carefully selected Japanese black beef, and the sauce takes about three weeks to prepare.
The tongue has a wonderful flavor that is the result of many necessary processes.
The tongue is not stringy at all, and the meat melts easily, giving it a rich, multi-layered texture.
The restaurant also offers a wide variety of other dishes, including fried dishes made with fresh ingredients.

Access, Reviews

For access to Ponta Honke, hours of operation, holidays, reviews, and more, please see the Google map below.

Tokyo restaurant guide 「Lehman's Lunch」