Have you visted Yoyogi Village by Kurkku yet? It’s a trendy new space that opened only 2 minutes walking distance from JR Yoyogi station. It’s a surreal escape from the hectic Tokyo bubble and a relaxing place to hang out. The space was designed and created by music producer Takeshi Kobayashi in conjunction with several other influential individuals in Japan. The concept is “a retreat that is easily accessible from urban city life”, which I think they were pretty successful in creating. However, the space is just so small I found myself wishing it was at least ten times larger or had more things to do so that I could spend more time here :)
There are a few places to enjoy yummy eats in the village:
code kurkku: the main restaurant
pour-kur: bakery shop
Roots and Beats Coffee: coffee shop (with good coffee!)
Tako Yoyogi: Izakaya
drink & soup by kurkku lab: fresh squeezed juice and soup
Aside from the list above, there’s a few other things to enjoy such as a clothing store, a small gallery, book store, etc. If you are ever in Yoyogi, definitely stop by this place to take a break from hustle and bustle of the city.
Address // 1-28-9, Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-5302-2073
Website // http://www.yoyogi-village.jp/top/index.php
Brown Rice Cafe serves basic vegetables that somehow taste so good. There is no fancy presentation or elaborate cooking technique. They just serve you normal veggies but they draw out the strong natural flavor of the organic vegetables and it tastes so sweet and fresh. You can really tell this cafe puts a lot of effort into choosing the best seasonal ingredients from local farmers. I would say this is a dream cafe for anyone who believes in sustainable and local supplies.
Their menu doesn’t really have proteins, but the dishes are so filling that you almost forget you’re only eating vegetables. We love their “specials” that go for 2100yen. Aside from your meal, it includes a small dessert and drink. I really wish more places like this existed because it not only tastes good, but also happens to be good for your body and for the environment.
Address // 5-1-17, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-5778-5416
Website // www.brown.co.jp
You’d never think of going into this coffee shop if you were just passing by, but it’s the quintessential traditional Japanese coffee shop that you can imagine seeing in the movies. Nothing fancy, it’s just a small coffee shop but it serves the perfect cup of coffee. The best thing about this place is their master/owner and his wife. They have run the shop for over thirty years and they haven’t let the waves of different trends in Japan influence it. For thirty years they’ve kept their menu simple and only serve three items: Hayashi Rice, cheese cake, and Tarte Tatin (Apple Pie). They make them all from scratch fresh daily and it’s really an impressive dedication to their craft. Go for lunch, you can get Hayashi Rice, coffee, and a small dessert for only 900yen.
This kind of old school coffee shop is very rare in Japan nowadays with Starbucks taking over everywhere, but I hope it doesn’t disappear because it’s not just the food and coffee that makes it special, but the character and dedication to quality that the master and his wife bring to it. If you’re wondering why their coffee is so good, it’s partly because all of their coffee beans are sourced from local growers and he doesn’t serve any beans that are more than a week old.
PS: The owner named this place Yokohamaya because that’s his hometown :)
Address // B1F, 1-11-2, Azabudai, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-3586-7486
Website // n/a
Although it’s hard to find, this udon place in Ebisu is a hidden gem. Yamacho is an awesome udon place that serves two types of thickness for your udon so you can choose between thin or fat noodles. Neither one is really “better”, it’s really just a matter of your preference (though the thick noodles are more traditional). The Ebi tempura yakumi udon was great, and it’s really a steal for just 1000yen. Their curry udon was also 1000yen and they even give you a bib so you don’t get your clothes dirty. love it. We especially liked their dashimaki tamago (the egg dish in the top photo) for 680yen. The Tempura udon for 1230 yen was also good. The restaurant is small but their ambiance, service, and food were all top notch. It’s easy to see why this place is always crowded.
Address // 1-1-5, Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-3443-1701
Website // www.foodgate.net/shop_yamacho.html
A&G Diner is yet another really good burger joint in town. This diner is so shockingly small, we peeked in and couldn’t believe how tiny it was. In fact, it only seats about 8 people total at one time. As soon as they start cooking your order, you smell the wonderful juiciness of the burger throughout the entire place. We tried the Avocado Cheese Burger, Special Burger (Bacon, Avocado, Chedder Cheese, Gouda Cheese, Fried Egg, and Teriyaki BBQ Sauce), and the Bacon Cheese Burger. They were all excellent.
Essentially this place serves perfectly executed American burgers. I definitely have the urge to go back and try the other burgers on their menu, especially their monthly burger which is ever-changing.
This place has been constantly rated #1 for hamburgers on a popular review site here. They seem to be temporary closed for a good amount of time though (Info updated on October 17, 2013). However, they have 2 other locations in Roppongi as well as Komazawadaigaku if you’re interested in checking them out.
Address // 3-41-2, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan (map)
Phone Number // 03-3403-9033
Website // n/a