Japanese and/or Macrobiotic
The basement of Crayon House has an organic vegetable shop and two separate natural-food restaurants: "Hiroba", serving Japanese food, and "Home", with French cuisine. "Hiroba" offers an interesting buffet lunch for Y1,200.
A tasty assortment of healthy Japanese dishes and excellent Belgian beer.
Rokubancho 4, Asahi Rokubancho Mansion 2F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 4:30-9pm. Closed Sundays.
A casual vegetarian/macrobiotic cafe located in the basement of an office building.
Hitotsubashi 1-1-1, Palaceside Bldg. 1F. (Above Takebashi station, in the Mainichi Shimbun building.) Open 11am-9:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Nezunoya provides relief for vegans in Tokyo. Nestled behind an organic food store, this lunchtime-only vegan cafe offers satisfying meals in a rustic atmosphere. The set lunch specials usually consist of a fresh seasonal vegetarian dish accompanied by brown rice, two smaller side dishes, miso soup, pickles, and warm barley tea.
Nezu 1-1-14. Open 11:30am-4:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Shimo-Kitazawa -- Alicia
The atmosphere may seem somber, but the carefully constructed vegetarian dishes are first-rate.
Kitazawa 2-9-23, Dai-ni Suzuki Building 2F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-7pm. Closed Mondays.
Note: Japanese restaurants specializing in tofu are usually not completely vegetarian.
A tofu and yuba specialty restaurant with branches throughout Japan. Full-course dinners range from Y3,600; lunch from Y1,900. This is definitely an old-school tofu shop - first you sip ume tea and listen to koto music in the waiting area, then you're led to a main dining room that might remind you of an upscale family restaurant. After the meal you can browse the "souvenir" section next to the cash register, which has packaged tofu items to take home. The customer demographic skews towards more mature Aoyama shoppers, and the menu notes the number of calories for each set meal. And the tofu is very good.
One of the specialties here is the "mineoka dofu" - sweet and very creamy, almost dessert-like in character. You can pick from a huge variety of set meals and side dishes, including seasonal specials, ranging upwards from Y3600 (Y1900 at lunchtime). Most sets have about a dozen dishes, and some highlights included tofu shumai dumplings, yuba (tofu-skin) soup, daikon-and-maguro sushi wrapped in yuba, and of course the soy-milk (tonyu) sherbet. There are a few premium sake choices - it's almost an afterthought - and they compete for your attention with offbeat plum-flavored drinks like the ume-champagne cocktail.
Ume no Hana is a nation-wide chain with 11 other Tokyo branches, including Harumi (03-5144-8235), Ginza (03-3538-2226), and Ueno (03-3834-7712). [Show more] [Show less]
Minami-Aoyama 2-27-18, Aoyama M's Tower Passage 2F. Open 11am-3, 5-9pm (LO) daily.
Good, inexpensive tofu dishes in a flashy setting. The decor is more exciting than the food, which is on the traditional side. [See FULL REVIEW
This venerable old tofu specialist (dating back to 1691) stands in a rather nondescript neighborhood about a 15-minute walk from the north end of Ueno Park. Multi-course meals feature tofu in all its variations, starting from around Y2000 for lunch and Y4200 for dinner, with some vegetarian options available.
Negishi 2-15-10. Open 11:30am-8pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Excellent tofu cuisine in a beautiful garden setting. They have a private teahouse which can be reserved if you call far enough in advance. Reservations absolutely necessary. Full-course lunch menu from Y2700, dinner from Y5500.
Hon-Komagome 1-1-26. Open noon-2, 5-10pm (8pm Sundays). Closed Sundays.
Shojin-ryori is Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Call ahead for reservations.
Onarimon -- Daigo
Top-class temple vegetarian cuisine. Lunch 10-12,000 yen, dinner 14-18,000 yen. (Strict vegetarians should note that the kitchen uses a bit of katsuo-bushi - dried bonito flakes - when preparing the dishes here.)
Azabu-Juban -- Itosho
Excellent, reasonably priced shojin-ryori (vegetarian temple cuisine). Lunch is Y6000, dinner Y8000-10,000.
Azabu-Juban 3-4-7. Open noon-3, 5:30-9pm daily.
Iriya -- Bon
Beautifully prepared temple cuisine. Lunch/dinner ranges from 7,000 - 10,000 yen.
The Tokyo branch of a famous temple restaurant in Kyoto, they specialize in teppatsu-ryori, a type of shojin-ryori (vegetarian temple cuisine). The tatami rooms look out onto a beautiful Japanese garden. Prix-fixe menus are Y5,000-15,000.
Setagaya-ku, Seta 3-6-8. (at the intersection of Route 246 and Kampachi-dori) Open 11am-7:30pm (LO). Closed Wednesdays.
The Taiwanese-style vegetarian cuisine here is a mock-meat cuisine based on soy protein, gluten, dried bean curd and vegetables, without onions or garlic, served with organic brown rice. The original branch is in Tachikawa, in western Tokyo.
Nishi-Azabu 3-1-22, Sai Bldg 4F. Open 11am-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Top-notch Chinese cuisine prepared with medicinal herbs, for whatever ails you. Prix-fixe menus range from Y4200-15,750, plus a big a la carte menu. Lunch starts at Y900 and includes numerous noodle and rice variations.
Roppongi 6-8-15. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-10pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
This is the kind of vegetarian Chinese that specializes in crafty "imitation meat" dishes alongside the more recognizable tofu and vegetable items. The results are quite tasty and varied in flavor - it's amazing just what you can do with mushrooms, wheat gluten, nuts, lotus root and other vegetables. It's just a tiny counter with nine stools, a TV set on the wall, a friendly mama-san, and shockingly cheap prices.
Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano Broadway 2F. Open 11:30am-3:30, 5-8pm. Closed Sundays.
The Taiwanese-style vegetarian cuisine here is a mock-meat cuisine based on soy protein, gluten, dried bean curd and vegetables, without onions or garlic, served with organic brown rice.
Tachikawa, Naka 1-19-8, Nakaichi Bldg. Open 11am-2:30, 5-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Indian/ South Asian
There are hundreds of Indian restaurants in town, so here are just a few to get you started.
While they many not win any awards for their rather basic decor, this late-night shop offers decent curries, friendly service and good value for money. And everything on the menu is available for take-out. If you somehow miss their 5am closing hour, they also have a 24-hour branch nearby (03-5272-6336).
Harajuku -- Devi
Interesting curries and other Indian fare at very reasonable prices. Budget around Y2000 for dinner, Y1000 for lunch.
Jingumae 1-15-1. Open 11:30am-3, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Critically acclaimed curries in a pleasant little shop located on the little street parallel to Kotto-dori. The food is authentic and good, and Ghungroo even caters events at the Indian Embassy.
Minami-Aoyama 5-9-6. Open 11:30am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Good curries from one of Tokyo's best Indian chains.
Udagawacho 30-5, 5F. (behind the koban on Inokashira-dori) Open 11:30am-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Meguro -- Rasoi
Excellent Indian cuisine. A la carte menu from Y1,110, lunch from Y780. They also deliver within the area.
Shimo-Meguro 1-3-28, Sunwood Meguro 2F. Open 11am-3, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
The cooking here is a level above the usual Tokyo Indian restaurant - sophisticated dishes with distinctive flavors and top-quality ingredients. The emphasis is on southern Indian specialties (the owner is from Kerala), with lots of curries of mutton, fish and chicken and some great starters. The popular lunchtime buffet is bigger than average, with fifteen different dishes. Budget around Y3000-4500 at dinnertime.
Toranomon 3-19-7. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10:30pm. Closed Sundays.
Good South Indian cuisine from the management of the Mumbai restaurant chain. Lunches are priced from Y850, dinners from Y1500. Lunch is served until 5pm, and on weekends and holidays there's an all-you-can-eat lunch for Y1980.
Minami-Aoyama 1-10-5, Sai-Aoyama Bldg 2F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
Akasaka's long-running and highly regarded Indian-food pioneer is back in a new location and under new management. Their lunchtime buffet includes a big assortment of curries and other dishes, while the dinner menu features dishes from every region of India.
Akasaka 2-12-33, B1F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-10pm (LO) daily.
Don't come here looking for fusion cooking - it's all straight-ahead curries and tandoori items, above average in quality although sometimes overly salted. One thing that sets them apart is the Hoegaarden on draft, a refreshing Belgian white beer that provides a very pleasant contrast with the spicy dishes. The decor is fairly pedestrian, with sports on the big-screen TV, but at least the smoking and non-smoking sections are on separate floors.
Roppongi 3-3-15. Open 11:30am-10:30pm daily.
Authentic, very enjoyable Indian cuisine, with an emphasis on the cooking of southern India. The dosas are light and fluffy, the curries are hearty, and every dish has its own distinctive flavor and character. The decor is simple and tasteful, a nice change from the typical Tokyo curry shop.
Yaesu 2-7-9. (from Kyobashi sta. exit 5 walk 3 minutes towards Tokyo station, then turn right) Open 11:15am-2:30, 5-10pm. Closed Sundays.
Above-average curries and tandoori dishes, at good prices.
Yotsuya 3-3, Stream Yotsuya 2F. (from Yotsuya 3-chome walk towards Yotsuya sta, take the second left; the shop is on the right a few doors in) Open 11am-3, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Kojimachi -- Ajanta
. 3264-4255, 3264-6955
A huge menu, great food, a surprising variety of different breads, and extremely convenient hours.
Reliable Indian fare and terrace seating overlooking the Rainbow Bridge from the popular Maharaja chain. A buffet lunch (Y980) is served until 3pm (LO).
Daiba 1-6-1, Decks Tokyo Beach 5F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Excellent curries and tandoori items and fantastic nan.
Setagaya-ku, Sakura 3-25-3. (on Setagaya-dori next to a branch of Jonathan's restaurant, about ten minutes west from Kamimachi station on the Setagaya (streetcar) line) Open 11am-2:30, 5-10:30pm. Closed Wednesdays.
The simple interior of Spice Magic's home branch reflects the unfussy home-style cooking that has made the restaurant famous. Northern Indian favorites comprise the menu -- flaky potato-filled samosas, nutmeg-infused chicken korma, and salty paneer cheese floating in creamy sag spinach curry. Among the house specialties are tandoori chicken and gooey cheese naan.
Nishi-Kasai 3-13-3. Open 11am-2:30, 5-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Yokohama Minato-mirai -- Khazana
Reliable curries from a major chain of Indian restaurants.
Minato-mirai 2-3, Queen's Square "At 3rd", B1F. Open 11am-10pm daily.
From the owner of Al Flah supermarket, an authentic Pakistani restaurant popular with Pakistani customers. All meats are halal, and curries average Y800-900.
Ikebukuro 2-63-6, Palace Garden Milano 1F. Open 11:30am-10pm (LO) daily.
Excellent, authentic Sri Lankan cuisine prepared by native chefs at this friendly little neighborhood spot. The chef's special menu includes chicken live stew, fish curry and masala chicken. Budget around Y2500 for dinner, Y1000 for lunch.
Kami-Meguro 2-7-8. Open 11:30am-2, 5:30-10:15pm (LO) daily.
Very good Indian curries, tandoori dishes, and Nepalese specialties. Full-course dinners from Y2500 (or Y2000 for the vegetarian special). The dining room is tiny but cheerful.
Jingumae 1-21-15, Napole Harajuku 2F. (about one minute N of Harajuku Sta Takeshita-dori exit) Open 11am-3, 5-10:30pm daily.
The heady aromas of exotic herbs and spices wafting out of the kitchen summon up images of far-off lands, and the atmospheric Tibetan music on the stereo completes the picture. The menu here includes Nepalese and Tibetan sections, with set dinners ranging from Y1100-3000 and lunches starting at Y700. The food is nicely spiced, rich and garlicky, and fiery hot, and the portions are quite filling. [See FULL REVIEW
Shimo-Meguro 1-2-22, B1F. Open 11:30am-3, 5-10:30pm (LO) daily.
Other cuisines, salad bars
An interesting miso and miso soup restaurant, with seasonal dishes like kimchee nabe and several varieties of cabbage rolls. Many dishes are vegetarian.
Kichijoji Honcho 2-15-2. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Shinjuku Gyoen-mae -- Aureole
European-style home cooking, wrap sandwiches and other "wrap cuisine" is the focus of the menu at this casual park-side cafe. Full-course vegetarian dinners are available, and everything on the menu is ready for take-out.
Shinjuku 1-3-12. (along the N side of Shinjuku Gyoen) Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Organic coffee and cakes, sandwiches and soups; everything is vegetarian/vegan (so don't expect any latte in your cafe). From the owners of the popular Cafe 8 vegan hotspot.
Minami-Aoyama 5-5-21. Open 8:30am-10:30pm daily.
Whether you're an abstemious vegetarian or a shameless hedonist, a meal at Asante Sana will leave you feeling positively virtuous. Attached to a store selling Asian imports, all-natural soaps, and organic food items, this tiny cafe off the beaten track near Yebisu Garden Place takes a holistic approach to natural living. [See FULL REVIEW
Meguro-ku, Mita 2-7-10-102. Open 11am-8pm. Closed Sundays.
This "vegetable cafe and bakery" offers curries and pastas during the day and a wider evening menu, with vegetarian tapas, falafel platter, vegetarian pizzas and lasagna. The refreshingly large drinks list includes organic California wines (Bonterra), a couple of US microbrew beers, and even tequila. There's plenty of outdoor seating, although it can get smoky.
Azabu-Juban 2-2-5. Open 11am-10:15pm (LO; from 9am Sat, Sun) daily.
It's worth coming here for the music alone - a fantastically eclectic mix from all over Asia and the rest of the world. The drinks menu includes coffee, tea, chai, Balinese rice wine, Thai soy milk, exotic cocktails and organic fruit juices. Food includes a nice selection of home-made desserts (all day long) and dishes like Tibetan dumplings (highly recommended) and tofu salad. The tiny chairs and tables don't encourage too much lingering, but this is an essential stop on a Nakano tour.
Nakano 5-32-9. Open 7:30-11:30am, noon-10pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Nishi-Shinjuku -- Sizzler
If you have a sudden craving for baby corn, sliced beets and green goddess dressing, Sizzler still runs one of Tokyo's better salad bars, with plenty of options for vegetarians.
The well-stocked salad bar is the main draw here.
Koraku 1-3-61, Tokyo Dome Hotel 2F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
The all-you-can-eat salad bar is surprisingly varied, and still one of the better ones in town.
Yokohama Minato-mirai -- Sizzler
One of the best (well, one of the only) salad bars in the neighborhood.
Minato-mirai 2-2-1, Landmark Plaza 1F. Open 11am-10pm (LO) daily.
Gourmet burritos, tacos, and fajitas, all made from premium organic ingredients. Choose from grilled chicken, carnitas (braised pork), steak or vegetarian filling; prices range from Y800-1100. Everything is available for take-out, and you can fax your order in advance. There are a few outdoor courtyard tables for when the weather permits.
Roppongi 6-6-9, Piramide Bldg. 1F. Open 11am-10pm. Closed 2nd Sunday.
Health-oriented but not really vegetarian fare (there are lots of fish dishes) in a casual French style.
Shinjuku 3-14-1, Isetan 7F. Open 11am-10pm (LO 9). Closed Wednesdays.
Italian-inspired late-night vegetable dining, with produce from organic farms around Japan. Prix-fixe menus are Y3000-4000, and include cheese fondue or bagna cauda as a main course. There are more than fifty wines, starting at Y3000/bottle.
Roppongi 3-9-3, Dai-2 Roppongi Village Bldg 1F. Open 7pm-7am. Closed Sundays and holidays.
Ebisu -- Ta-im
Great Middle-Eastern fare - falafel, hummus, Israeli-style salads - and various Israeli wines by the bottle, all at reasonable prices. The Y1300 Ta-im lunch plate offers a good sampling of the menu, with portions of Israeli salad, falafel, hummus, babaganoush and other vegetable spreads, along with lentils and rice, toasted pita bread, pumpkin soup, dessert and a drink. Great Middle-Eastern fare - falafel, hummus, Israeli-style salads - and various Israeli wines by the bottle, all at reasonable prices. The Y1300 Ta-im lunch plate offers a good sampling of the menu, with portions of Israeli salad, falafel, hummus, babaganoush and other vegetable spreads, along with lentils and rice, toasted pita bread, pumpkin soup, dessert and a drink.
Most of the fare is vegetarian, but they also serve lamb and chicken dishes if you're so inclined. The dining space is a simple lunch-counter setup, with Israeli radio providing background music. Hummus, falafel, and a few sandwiches are available to take out. [Show more] [Show less]
Ebisu 1-29-16. Open 11am-3:30, 5:30-11pm. Closed Wednesdays.
Falafel and other hot and cold pita sandwiches. There's a small outdoor terrace seating area, or you can take out.
Akasaka 2-11-7, ATT Shinkan. Open variable hours. Closed weekends.
An Israeli restaurant and pub, one minute from Ekoda south exit. They serve falafel, humus, salads, stuffed pastries and soups, plus shish kebab and one or two other meat dishes. 50 seats; reservations recommended. The all-you-can-eat special is Y2,000. Open noon-midnight Saturdays and Sundays.
Sakaecho 4-11, Art Bldg 2F. Open 5-11pm (LO). Closed Mondays.
Al Mina, Tokyo's only Palestinian restaurant, serves great Middle-Eastern cuisine and some decent Lebanese and Palestinian wines. The warm, inviting space includes a comfortable sofa area where hookahs can be enjoyed, a slightly fancier gold-themed dining area with a wall of mirrors, and a small stage where a Friday-night belly dance performance takes place. Al Mina, Tokyo's only Palestinian restaurant, serves great Middle-Eastern cuisine and some decent Lebanese and Palestinian wines. The warm, inviting space includes a comfortable sofa area where hookahs can be enjoyed, a slightly fancier gold-themed dining area with a wall of mirrors, and a small stage where a Friday-night belly dance performance takes place.
The kitchen offers a mix of well-known Middle-Eastern favorites and less familiar (to us anyway) local dishes. In the former category are various kebabs - lamb, chicken, kofta - and mezze-style starters - stuffed grape leaves, spinach pies, lamb meatballs, falafel, babaganoush, tabouli salad, grilled haloumi cheese and so on. Among the less familiar items, we very much enjoyed their Mansaff - a lamb stew incorporating big chunks of nicely marinated meat, nuts and rice in a tangy hot yogurt sauce - and a side dish called Sabanekh Beladass - sauteed spinach and lentils complemented by tasty toasted onions.
The dinnertime menu is quite extensive, and also features grilled meats and seafood (scallops, prawns, fish); a tagine of the day; roast chicken with couscous or with vegetables in yogurt sauce; and steamed lamb chunks with baked garlic. For dessert you can choose from baklava, goat-cheese cake, date cake with coconut and nuts, and a milk and rose-water pudding, accompanied by various coffees and teas. A vegetarian prix-fixe menu is also available. Budget around Y3500 for dinner. [Show more] [Show less]
Kanda Tacho 2-2-3, Genki Bldg B1F. Open 11:30am-2:30, 5:30-10:30pm (LO). Closed Sundays.
Jap Cho Ok serves up modern Korean cuisine that hasn't lost its bite, with an emphasis on herbs and spices and fresh, top-grade ingredients. The menu is large and diverse, with plenty of vegetarian items. [Note that the restaurant is located in the basement of a large modern building between Nishi-Azabu and Gaienmae, underneath some shops, and it's fairly difficult to find; readers regularly report that it's closed.] [See FULL REVIEW