Ain Soph.Journey is a quiet, cozy café-slash-restaurant in Shinjuku that serves as an herbivorous haven amid Tokyo’s primarily carnivorous culinary jungle—and renders “vegan” synonymous with “delicious.”
Located right in front of Shinjuku-sanchome Station’s exit C5, Ain Soph.Journey instantly immerses visitors in its laid-back atmosphere, enhanced by the warm, earthy colors of its West Coast-inspired interior.
The menu is extensive, boasting a wide array of Western-style dishes that extend beyond the standard fare at most Tokyo veggie eateries.
On the a la carte, try the Spanish omelet (¥800), which substitutes eggs with a tofu cream base, creating a similarly fluffy texture. The karaage (¥600) puts a veggie spin on Japanese fried chicken nuggets, replacing the poultry with soy meat, making this a low-cal treat.
Glasses of organic French and Austrian wine in need of company have a friend in the cheese platter (¥1,200), made of vegetable cheese—which is inexplicably hard to find in a country where soy milk runs like water.
The vegetable paella (¥1,400), nutty dry curry (¥1,350), veggie tortilla roll (¥1,600) and the mushroom Hayashi rice (¥1,300) all make satisfying main dishes.
The true stars of Ain Soph, however, are found in the dessert section. The pudding a la mode (¥850) is surprisingly creamy and caramel-sweet, considering the dish is completely free of egg, dairy or refined sugar; as is the nutty carob chip brownie (¥700).
The “tenjo no (heaven’s) vegan pancakes” (¥1,400) earns its name. It’s delectable and equal parts fluffy and light, emitting a flavor that’s buttery despite being dairy-free, and sweetened with Agave syrup, accompanied by a scoop of homemade soy ice cream.
Those craving a bit of everything can try the dessert plate (¥1,200), an assortment of everything except pancakes—they’re their own entity.
The prices are a little up there, but the food is top-notch and hearty—and is sure to sate vegans and non-vegans alike.
1F Shinjuku Q Bldg., 3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku. Nearest station: Shinjuku-sanchome.