Friday, May 1, 2009

Vegan Restaurants, Part 1

I have been promising myself that I would post a little something on all the vegan restaurants I went to in Tokyo, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.  This might have to take on several parts, I'm afraid.  ;)  (Especially now that I'm in Kyoto!)  To clarify, no -- I'm not vegan, but I am lactose intolerant, and therefore, I love vegan restaurants!  I am able to order anything off the menu without fears that it might contain milk.  
A special thanks to Jason for lending us the Vegan Restaurants guide, it was invaluable!  If you are vegan and staying in Japan for a while, it's highly worth it to purchase this guide.  The reviews are pretty accurate, and the prices and maps are all spot-on.  It is fairly hard to be vegan in Japan if you don't hunt down these restaurants, as almost everything has fish broth in it!
1. Der Akkord, Omotesando: macrobiotic, all-natural bakery.  They use only the finest ingredients (sea salt from France, Japanese mineral water, etc.) and that is reflected in their delicious breads.  They all use a sourdough starter, so if that's not your style, this bakery might not be for you.  I liked the raisin walnut bread and the pies (apple, pumpkin, sweet potato, etc.) the most, as well as the salty 'pizzas'.  Know that they only use natural sweeteners (not even honey, syrup, etc.) so the desserts are not super sweet.  ;)  Everyone in the small bakery is super friendly, and you can see the care they take with their work.
I should mention, that their stuff is extremely expensive.  A loaf of bread might cost $9 or so.

Pumpkin bread

Asparagus pizza: so good!  I love their savory foods even more than their sweets.

2. Brown Rice Cafe, Omotesando: A vegan restaurant with an extensive menu, more high-end than some of the others, located in a ritzy area of Ometesando.  Prices can therefore be slightly high.  I ate in the actual cafe only once, and then have gotten many things from their deli next door.  Their vegan muffins are some of the best I've had here, with a delicious streusel top that I need to find in New York!  
Vegan bento box, a dazzling array of yummies!

veggie burger platter

3. Saishokukenbi, Shinjuku: A Buddhist vegan buffet tucked away into a side street of Shinjuku, Saishokukenbi is a delight to your eyes and taste buds!  It was quiet and homey, and the food is incredible.  They have a whole variety of smoked meats, most of which tasted quite authentic. They also have noodles and tempura and salads galore.  Even a good selection of dessert -- mochi, red bean jeam, etc.  Highly worth looking for it.  

4. Nagi Shokudo, Shibuya: Small restaurant located in a residential area of Shibuya, not easy to find!  They have a delicious lunch special, you choose 3 items and included is a salad, soup, and rice, all for about $10.  The food is high quality, but it only kept us full for a few hours.  :P  Also, the apple cinnamon cake they serve for dessert is no good.
Pumpkin salad, lotus root salad, and falafel (yay)

Deep-fried wheat gluten, miso greens, and seared tofu with mushrooms

5. Crayon House, Ometesando: This place is not vegan, they serve fish and even some meat occasionally, but I thought it was okay to put it in the same category.  They do label everything. They use only organic ingredients, and everything is very fresh.  At lunch they have a buffet for about $12, and they serve delicious homestyle Japanese foods.  It's attached to a Crayon House bookstore, so be prepared to wait in line with the thousands of mothers and children.  ;)
sample lunch tray: some fried 'fish of the day', lotus root, pesto salad
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  1. Mmmm so good!! I want to eat all of it! Can you send me some food as email attachments?

  2. wow, so many vegan places.... must have been foodie paradise! i know i'm drooling over the photos... hehe..