When I first arrived to Japan I was committed to eat all things Japanese and admittedly I have indulged in a fair share of sushi, ramen, bento boxes and kaiseki dinners. However, as much as I love Japanese food, there are moments when I crave a little taste of home. I believe that many expats would resonate, am I right? Thankfully, the food scene in Japan’s metropolis is as diverse as it gets and there are plenty of restaurants to sate anyone’s appetite. With that in mind, I put together a list of my favorite cafes in Tokyo which offer delicious western food.
800゜Neapolitan Pizzeria | Sendagaya 5-24-55, NEWoMAN Shinjuku 2F
California and Nevada dwellers might already know about this place, and it has now officially made it to Tokyo. The newly opened Neapolitan-style American pizza chain in Shinjuku offers finger-licking wood-fire roasted pizza, delectable burrata and amazing salads. I absolutely love that everything is super fresh and made to order. The pies are baked from scratch to crisp perfection with that beautiful light char. You can fully customize your pizza at the counter when you order, choosing from a wide array of different toppings. These include cheeses, vegetables, and charcuterie. Open-kitchen, burgundy leather banquettes and large crystal chandeliers effortlessly merge to create buzzy and pleasant atmosphere. Best part? Your order is ready in no time and the personnel is as nice and friendly as it gets. Oh, and if you feel like having a fancy dessert, head next door to Janice Wong!
Shake Shack | 2 Chome-1-15 Kitaaoyama, Tokyo 107-0061
Ok, it might not be THE burger place in Tokyo, but it certainly hits the spot with mouthwatering flavorful hamburgers and my all-time favorite hot dogs. I also enjoyed hanging out on their patio soaking up the beauty of summer night with my visiting girlfriends.
Deus Ex Machina | 〒150-0001 Tokyo, Shibuya
Tokyo is notorious for its unique concept stores and cafés. The space I fell in love with is this L.A.-esque spot hidden in the back streets of Harajuku which merges a hip café with a bar in the basement and gallery/shop (with displays of motorcycle and surfboards and clothing…) on the second floor. If you like pulled pork, you’ll be in a right place. Their perfectly toasted club sandwich was filled to the brim with shredded pieces of juicy pork with just the right amount of BBQ seasoning. Beautifully cooked fries and pickles on a side is a great bonus, while coffee deserves a special applause!
La Boutique de Joel Robuchon | Marunouchi Brick Square 1F, 2-6-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda
In case you fancy something French, you cannot go wrong with Joel Robuchon’s casual boulangerie and pastry shop located in Marunochi Brick Square. The number of classic French sweet and savory treats on offer is dizzying. You can get anything from freshly baked baguettes to that perfectly flaky and buttery croissant to oh-so-tempting salmon quiche and so much more. Besides desserts, I can never resist one of their crepes and galettes. If you are enticed to go, you can read my full review of this casual bistro here.
Shutters | 〒152-0035 東京都目黒区自由が丘2−9−6 Luz自由が丘
If you venture out to Tokyo’s off-beat neighborhood Jiyugaoka, I’d highly recommend hitting Shutters for delicious ribs. The personnel might not be the friendliest you’ve come across in Japan, but the food makes up for it all. The ribs are so flavorful, juicy and tender that they effortlessly slide off the bone. They come in various seasonings like soy sauce (my favorite) or salt and pepper, as well as garlic, mustard, wasabi, and basil flavor.
Luke’s Lobster | 6-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Located on the small side alley off of Harajuku’s Cat Street, this hole-in-the wall eatery serves amazing lobster rolls. Both the lobster meat and rolls are directly from local sources in New England. Luke’s is an American chain of fast casual restaurants best known for its Maine lobster rolls and other seafood (crab and shrimp rolls) and sides. Menu includes chowder, bisque, crab or shrimp rolls, crab and lobster combo rolls and two types of lobster rolls. Depending on your hunger level, for ¥980 you can get a “Japanese size” lobster roll, or a “U.S. size” for ¥1580. Both sizes use 6 inch-bun, the difference is in the amount of lobster meat. Luke’s only uses the claw and knuckle meat, which tends to be the sweeter and tenderer portions of the crustacean. I tried U.S. size roll a few times which was a revelation to behold. Fresh bun is generously filled with succulent and mildly sweet chunks of lobster beautifully flavored with dry spices and butter sauce. The bread is buttered and lightly griddled on the outside for a golden, crispy crunch. Finger-licking good!
Have you been to any non-Japanese restaurants in Tokyo which you loved? Please share your recommendations in the comments, I’d love to know!
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