An izakaya is a typical drinking establishment in Japan, though they have always had more emphasis on food than the typical English or New Zealand pub. Like English pubs, and New Zealand cafes, some izakaya have recently started to modernize their menus, combining different styles and bringing foreign influence to traditional Japanese favorites to create new "modern Japanese" dishes. This is especially noticeable in competitive areas like Ginza, where izakaya have to differentiate themselves from the hundreds of other eating and drinking establishments in the area to attract customers.
Unlike Western pubs, much of the izakaya is private areas where you reserve a table, so more like what we would see as a restaurant, although many after-work groups use it as we would a pub. Some traditional izakaya have seats at the bar, where you interact with and are served by the owner, but more upmarket ones are strictly table service, with waiters and waitresses rushing about in response to bells at each table, making you imagine you are on an aeroplane.
Despite being in notoriously expensive Ginza at the heart of downtown Tokyo, a variety of dishes and several hours drinking at Tomoru came to approximately ¥6000 per head. As well as the crayfish salad, branded omelette and meaty morsels pictured, we also had several other mouth watering dishes washed down with wine and beer.