Harajuku Gyoza Lou: Some of the best dumplings in Tokyo

Harajuku Gyoza Lou in Tokyo, Japan
Harajuku Gyoza Lou in Tokyo, Japan

Harajuku Gyoza Lou is a casual dumpling restaurant in Tokyo, famous for its pan-fried and steamed gyoza, served at an affordable price.

The small eatery in the busy Shibuya Ward off Omotesandō Street has perfected the art of Chinese-style dumplings, or gyoza.

It’s no secret why Harajuku Gyoza Lou has recently become so popular with locals, tourists, and foodies for their pan-fried and steamed dumplings.

While the menu is small, where else can you get six freshly made, perfectly cooked dumplings for at most 390 yen, or about $2.57?

This is why I keep returning and recommend the small shop to friends visiting Tokyo for the first time.

If you are looking for more information about Tokyo and Japan, I highly recommend you pick up a guidebook such as Lonely Planet Best of Tokyo 2020


Bar wrapping around the central open kitchen, Harajuku Gyoza Lou, Tokyo, Japan
Bar wrapping around the central open kitchen

When I arrived at Harajuku Gyoza Lou, I was shocked to see only a few people waiting for tables. With wait times up to an hour during peak time, I was surprised when I sat at a table only moments after arriving.

Even if there is a line, expect it to move quickly with the high turnover. People sat down, ordered, ate, and moved on.

As with many restaurants in Tokyo, the atmosphere was buzzing, loud, and relaxed. The dining area felt cozy and welcoming. You won’t find anything fancy here, just a place to eat good food, drink a cold beer, and relax.

During my visit, people smoked inside the restaurant, which was common in Japan. Fortunately, this is not common anymore. Even with the smoke, the smells of fried and boiled dumplings permeated the entire restaurant.

In the center of the dining room was a U-shaped bar wrapped around a boisterous and lively open kitchen. You might get covered in steam or grease, but the best seat in the house is sitting at the bar.

Watching the chefs prepare and cook food and yell out orders was so fun and enriching. Solo diners will feel welcomed at the bar and can easily converse with other travelers or locals wanting to practice their English.

If you are with a few friends, you can grab a seat at one of the wooden tables to the right of the bar as you walk in. Harajuku Gyoza Lou is not the best place for larger groups as there were only about five tables, each seating four people.

Harajuku Gyoza Lou Menu

The Harajuku Gyoza Lou menu was simple: dumplings, a few sides, and drinks
The Harajuku Gyoza Lou menu was simple: dumplings, a few sides, and drinks

The menu at Harajuku Gyoza Lou was simple and had many cheap options. If you can’t read the Japanese menu on the wall, ask for the English menu.

The most surprising thing about the menu was that no food item was more than 390 yen or about $2.57. I don’t understand how this place stays in business for the prices they charge.

Other less exciting but probably just as delicious appetizers included chicken soup with white rice, cucumbers in a miso sauce, and pickled cabbage. But most people come for the dumplings.

As mentioned before, you can order your dumplings pan-fried or steamed. You can also choose between either original, without garlic and chives, or garlic, with garlic and chives. I recommend the pan-fried dumplings with garlic and chives. But for the price, try both.

Whatever dumplings you choose, dip them into a mixture of vinegar, soy sauce, and the slightly spicy chili oil (or however you want to) located at each table.

The combination of dumplings and sauce elevated the dumplings to a whole new level of umami.

Pan Fried Dumplings with Garlic and Chives

Pan Fried Dumplings with Garlic and Chives, Harajuku Gyoza Lou, Tokyo, Japan
Pan Fried Dumplings with Garlic and Chives

The most popular dish at Harajuku Gyoza Lou was the Pan Fried Dumplings (390 yen or about $2.57). Each order contained six dumplings.

These dumplings were beautiful, so simple yet beautifully plated. They were a work of culinary art. Now I know what it means when you hear the saying, “You eat with your eyes first.”

The bottom layer of each dumpling was crispy, while the other sides were wonderfully soft. The skin of each dumpling was masterfully thin, so perfect that the dumpling didn’t fall apart under the weight of the filling inside.

It may seem easy, but creating a perfect dumpling is a lot harder than it looks.

Though the filling of ground pork, garlic, and chives was juicy, my only complaint was that the flavors could have been more savory. I had some trouble tasting any of the garlic.

This problem was easily fixed by dipping each dumpling in a combination of vinegar, soy sauce, and spicy chili oil, which I always enjoy.

Steamed Dumplings with Garlic and Chives

Steamed Dumplings with Garlic and Chives, Harajuku Gyoza Lou, Tokyo, Japan
Steamed Dumplings with Garlic and Chives

I knew I couldn’t leave without trying the Steamed Dumplings with Garlic and Chives (340 yen or about $2.25).

The dumplings arrived piping hot. I had to wait a few moments for the dumplings to cool down so I could take photographs without steaming up my camera.

These dumplings arrived in a bowl and were as beautiful as the pan-fried ones.

As with the pan-fried dumplings, the skins of the steamed dumplings were perfectly thin. The skin was light and pillowy, with just the right chewiness in each bite.

The filling inside the steamed dumplings was the same: a combination of ground pork, chives, and garlic. The only thing missing, which I preferred, was the perfectly crunchy fried texture of the pan-fried dumplings.

Don’t get me wrong—the steamed dumplings were delicious, but after a few bites, the flavors and textures seemed dull.


The service at Harajuku Gyoza was what I would have expected, being at a popular restaurant in the middle of Tokyo.

The servers were quick and efficient. Whenever I needed anything, the servers were around to help.

Though the servers were a little rushed, they worked hard to satisfy each guest while being mindful of hungry guests waiting outside the door.


Does Harajuku Gyoza serve the best gyoza in Tokyo? I thought the food was fantastic, but I can’t answer that question.

I enjoyed the restaurant’s atmosphere and the food, especially the pan-fried dumplings. They were crispy on the outside and savory and juicy on the inside. And everything was affordable.

I was lucky the wait for a table was only a few minutes. I probably wouldn’t have been as excited if I had to wait an hour or more.

If you are in the Shibuya neighborhood of Tokyo and looking for something delicious, cheap, and casual, I highly recommend Harajuku Gyoza.


  • A lot of food for a little money
  • Bar is great for solo diners
  • Open kitchen
  • English menu available


  • There is usually a wait for a table on weekends and during lunch hours
  • Service can sometimes be rushed
  • Cash only

Last Updated on April 2, 2024

Photo of author
My name is Anthony and I am addicted to traveling all around the world experiencing new people, cultures, and foods. These are some of my stories.