Tokyo Tonkatsu: Ponta


Recommendations are always a bit tricky as I think Japanese palates are different from Western palates. In Tokyo there are so many choices of every food one can dream of, it all comes down to preference.

Butagumi seems to be the popular choice for non-Japanese people looking for the GOAT of Tokyo tonkatsu. GOAT being greatest of all time. Within the full blown Japanese community Butagumi is well received but not the greatest of all time tonkatsu. Yes it is delicious but Butagmumi salts and peppers the pork too much for my liking and I reckon a lot of other Japanese feel the same as well.

When asking my Japanese friends where their favorite place is, Ponta, in the Ebisu / Daikanyama area is always mentioned. And I finally went! And it was delicious!

Ponta ぽん太 in Daikanyama, was opened by an apprentice of Ponta ぽん多 a tonkatsu restaurant in Ueno, that has been in business since the 1940’s. The pork is slowly deep fried and the bottom is semi-saturated by the pork juices. Combined with the barely seasoned, melt in your mouth pork with a bite, a touch of crispy bread crumbs and the bread crumbs soaked in the pork’s juices, each mouthfull is a crazy umami pork bomb explosion. I don’t think I’ve ever had tonkatsu like this before. Amazing.

Though I must admit, this is one of those tricky places where Westerners either love or find it average, so do please take this post with a grain of salt.

Tonkatsu Ponta ぽん太
M – S
Lunch: 11:30AM – 2:00PM
Dinner: 4:30PM – Last order 8:20PM
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4 thoughts on “Tokyo Tonkatsu: Ponta

  1. Hi, I have been a fan of your blog for a while and just wanted to express appreciation for your candid and very well-written (aka, very easy to read) reviews and thoughts on your blog. I’ve been fortunate enough to come to Tokyo recently to live here for the next 3 years and I am planning to visit every single place you have mentioned on your blog. First stop was Ponta in Ueno station which was awesome. I liked it more because it was a different atmosphere and setting from the other Tonkatsu places we go to regularly and my husband was fascinated with the taste as well (I myself was a bit shocked with the ketchup to be honest :)). We basically plan our whole weekends depending on which place we want to go and eat, and going to Ponta was a great way to discover Ueno and taste a different dimension of Tonkatsu. I’m really looking forward to reading more of your stuff. Please keep up the great work and wish you the best.


    1. Esther, thank you so much for this!! Completely made my week… month. Sometimes I feel as though I’m just writing into the ether so I’m so happy my posts are of use to you. Ahhh you don’t know how much this means.

      Anyway, 1. welcome to Japan. How exciting you’re here for three years and 2. you beat me to the original Ponta! I still haven’t made it out there (I visit Ueno’s Ameyoko – the market – once every few months, if that.) I can’t believe there was ketchup on the tonkatsu! How strange hahaha. I imagine the cooking method is the same, though, with the tonkatsu sitting in the juices (the texture was something I had never experienced).

      Keep me posted on the other places you end up! Happy eating and again, so thrilled you have the opportunity to experience daily life in Japan 🙂


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