(CNN) — Tuesday night, Den in Tokyo was given major honors by the World’s 50 Very best group, recognizing it as the most effective restaurant in Asia.

Den is no stranger to accolades. It has two Michelin stars and has been in the top 10 on the World’s Ideal list in decades past. But it also just comes about to be exactly where I ate 1 of the greatest meals of my daily life.

Likely to fantastic eating dining establishments can be intimidating, primarily to a solo traveler. Some of the massive-identify dining establishments I looked at for my November 2019 vacation to Tokyo wouldn’t even take a reservation for a single diner.

I place my identify on the wait around record at Den, even though, and a 7 days ahead of the excursion obtained a telephone get in touch with confirming I would scored a seat thanks to an odd-numbered occasion at the desk future to me. It was like discovering out I was likely to a awesome kid get together or remaining acknowledged into my “access” college.

Left: Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa with his beloved pup; right, a pillar at Den where customers leave thank-you messages.

Left: Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa with his beloved pup correct, a pillar at Den where consumers leave thank-you messages.

Lilit Marcus/CNN

However I was thrilled to get a reservation, I was also nervous — would the working experience be stuffy, formal, and whole of component names I might never listened to of? Would I depart the restaurant sensation like I’d just crossed a little something off of a list, or would I actually get pleasure from the meals?

Delightfully, I can say that the reply was the latter.

Den is superior-conclusion foodstuff with a silly perception of humor.

In the salad, carrots are sliced thinly and reduce in the form of smiley faces. Japanese-design fried chicken comes in a mock fast meals takeout box included in jokes and a goofy image of the chef. A person system comes with each individual diner’s countrywide flag stuck in it — a brief survey all around the tiny eating home that evening displayed very small American (hi), Chinese, Japanese and Canadian flags, which make for great souvenirs of the meal.

A serving of "Dentucky Fried Chicken" at Den.

A serving of “Dentucky Fried Hen” at Den.

Lilit Marcus/CNN

And that isn’t really all.

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa just isn’t the kind of male who hides out in the kitchen area and allows the foods do the conversing. He’s funny and chatty, with his long-haired chihuahua Puchi often in tow when he pays a check out to the dining place.

Tokyo is one of the world’s great meals metropolitan areas. Through my weeklong journey — my initially-ever take a look at to Japan — just about everything I ate was delightful, from minimart onigiri to late-night time ramen to super-expensive sushi organized in entrance of me.

Now, I can say that just one of the most unforgettable eateries I’ve at any time visited has been voted the most effective cafe in all of Asia.

But I can also say that my evening at Den was a entire great deal of exciting.

Asia’s 50 Most effective Eating places for 2022

1. Den (Tokyo)

2. Sorn (Bangkok)

3. Florilege (Tokyo)

4. Le Du (Bangkok)

5. The Chairman (Hong Kong)

6. La Cime (Osaka)

7. Suhring (Bangkok)

8. Odette (Singapore)

9. Community (Hong Kong)

10. Nusara (Bangkok)

11. Sazenka (Tokyo)

12. Fu He Hui (Shanghai)

13. Ode (Tokyo)

14. Villa Aida (Wakayama, Japan)

15. Narisawa (Tokyo)

16. Mingles (Seoul)

17. Sezanne (Tokyo)

18. Joo Ok (Seoul)

19. Ensue (Shenzhen, China)

20. Meta (Singapore)

21. Masque (Mumbai)

22. Indian Accent (New Delhi)

23. Les Amis (Singapore)

24. Caprice (Hong Kong)

25. Blue by Alain Ducasse (Bangkok)

26. 7th Door (Seoul)

27. Mosu (Seoul)

28. Da Vittorio (Shanghai)

29. Sushi Masato (Bangkok)

30. Onjium (Seoul)

31. Samrub Samrub Thai (Bangkok)

32. Mono (Hong Kong)

33. Gaa (Bangkok)

34. Wing (Hong Kong)

35. Ministry of Crab (Colombo)

36. La Maison de la Character Goh (Fukuoka, Japan)

37. Zen (Singapore)

38. Logy (Taipei)

39. Ultraviolet by Paul Pairet (Shanghai)

40. Labyrinth (Singapore)

41. Burnt Ends (Singapore)

42. Ete (Tokyo)

43. Cenci (Kyoto)

44. Cloudstreet (Singapore)

45. JL Studio (Taichung, Taiwan)

46. Raan Jay Fai (Bangkok)

47. Wing Lei Palace (Macao)

48. 8 1/2 Mezzo Bombano (Hong Kong)

49. Megu (New Delhi)

50. Dewakan (Kuala Lumpur)

By Taba