(CNN) — Tuesday evening, Den in Tokyo was offered top honors by the World’s 50 Best team, recognizing it as the ideal cafe 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 listing in decades earlier. But it also just transpires to be where I ate a person of the finest foods of my lifetime.

Heading to good dining dining places can be overwhelming, primarily to a solo traveler. Some of the big-identify dining establishments I seemed at for my November 2019 journey to Tokyo wouldn’t even acknowledge a reservation for a solitary diner.

I set my name on the wait checklist at Den, while, and a week in advance of the trip bought a phone connect with confirming I would scored a seat many thanks to an odd-numbered occasion at the table following to me. It was like getting out I was likely to a great kid social gathering or currently being approved into my “arrive at” 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 proper, a pillar at Den the place consumers go away thank-you messages.

Lilit Marcus/CNN

Even though I was thrilled to get a reservation, I was also anxious — would the encounter be stuffy, official, and whole of component names I’d by no means heard of? Would I depart the restaurant emotion like I might just crossed a little something off of a listing, or would I in fact love the foods?

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

Den is superior-stop meals with a silly feeling of humor.

In the salad, carrots are sliced thinly and lower in the form of smiley faces. Japanese-style fried chicken arrives in a mock quick food takeout box lined in jokes and a goofy photo of the chef. One particular study course comes with just about every diner’s national flag caught in it — a quick study close to the modest eating area that night time displayed very small American (hello), Chinese, Japanese and Canadian flags, which make for good souvenirs of the food.

A serving of "Dentucky Fried Chicken" at Den.

A serving of “Dentucky Fried Chicken” at Den.

Lilit Marcus/CNN

And that isn’t really all.

Chef Zaiyu Hasegawa just isn’t the variety of person who hides out in the kitchen area and allows the meals do the speaking. He is funny and chatty, with his prolonged-haired chihuahua Puchi usually in tow when he pays a go to to the eating home.

Tokyo is one of the world’s wonderful foods metropolitan areas. All through my weeklong vacation — my very first-ever visit to Japan — just about every little thing I ate was scrumptious, from minimart onigiri to late-night ramen to tremendous-highly-priced sushi geared up in front of me.

Now, I can say that one particular of the most unforgettable eateries I have ever frequented has been voted the most effective cafe in all of Asia.

But I can also say that my night time at Den was a whole lot of exciting.

Asia’s 50 Finest Dining 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 Alright (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 Doorway (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 Mother nature 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)