In Daikanyama lies Caffè Michelangelo, a medieval-looking cottage—or rather dark oak cabin—that would serve as the perfect setting for Hansel and Gretel. But here neither witches nor breadcrumbs are present, and you get out alive—with a tummy filled with deliciousness!

This charming café is a casual art-house joint, perfect for chilling on a cold winter afternoon or catching up with friends. Despite being located on a main road in Daikanyama, a short walk from the subway, it feels as if you’re deep in the woods.

Into the woods we go

Into the woods we go
(Photo by Vesna Kevork)

The real star is the ambience. The cabin-like exterior conceals an artsy, old-school European interior vibrant with soft jazz or classical music in the background. A myriad of brochures and magazines showcase the latest from the worlds of art, music and food. The café brims with patrons, each enjoying their meal, deep in conversation or finishing off lattes. The courtyard, with its angel fountain, is charming and secluded.

The pasta/risotto lunch menu (¥1,800) consists of a choice of either dish plus soup and coffee or tea. The bacon and cabbage soup is smoky, warm and chunky with pieces of cabbage, served in a cappuccino cup. It’s tempting to break all cardinal rules against cappuccinos after 10am and drink the soup like a beverage. The spaghetti is infused with garlic and chilli, and topped with eggplant, prawns and broccoli—healthy, hearty and very welcome.

Come for the art referrals and the hip crowd. No ghastly fairy-tale witches lurking in the dark here, just the cool kids on the block—as well as businessmen and lunching ladies enjoying the funky, artsy vibe. No need to trek to the mountains for a quick getaway, when a cabin in the woods is well within reach.

29-3 Sarugaku-cho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 03-3770-9517. 11am-11pm. Nearest station: Daikanyama.