From vegetarian butchers and junk food to decadent desserts and smoothie bowls, Metropolis has all your cravings covered. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, environmentally-conscious, have allergies or are just looking to eat a little cleaner in 2021, be sure to check this guide to the 10 best vegan and vegetarian-friendly spots in Tokyo.
1. The Vegetarian Butcher, Ikebukuro
Jaap Korteweg, the founder of Tokyo’s first vegetarian butcher, is a ninth-generation farmer who gradually became disgusted with the slaughtering of animals. After quitting meat, he realized there were hardly any decent alternatives. In 2010, he took the problem into his own hands, opening the Vegetarian Butcher in the Netherlands. The Ikebukuro offshoot, which opened August 2020, produces vegetarian meat products that can convert even the staunchest of meat enthusiasts. The “meats” all have fun, punny names, such as “WHAT THE CLUCK” for faux chicken and “UNBELIEVABALLS” for plant-based meatballs. You can eat-in at the counter seats, order it for delivery or to take away. Committed to sustainability and being COVID-friendly, the restaurant asks that you browse and order straight from your phone.
3-29-9 Nishi Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
2. 0%, Roppongi
0% — another summer 2020 open — is Tokyo’s first vegan alcohol-free cafe and bar. The otherworldly, futuristic interior curates a bar-like atmosphere sans alcohol. You can enjoy beautiful, artisanal cocktails along with vegan “guilt-free junk food” options. 0% offers vegan quesadillas and a range of indulgent desserts, such as CBD brownies and ice cream. In collaboration with artist Dunkwell, 0% has even developed a vegan alcohol-free wine with a quirky label which you can order online and have gift wrapped, making the perfect present for this holiday season.
5-2-4 Roppongi, Minato-ku
3. vegan cafe by love, Roppongi
Healthy, vegan food and mental wellbeing come together at vegan cafe by love in Roppongi. The menu offers an extensive selection of smoothie bowls and vegan drinks, as well as pastas and desserts. Each smoothie bowl on the menu is dedicated to a different chakra, encouraging you to develop, unblock or enhance a different aspect of yourself. For instance, the sacral chakra smoothie bowl enhances creativity and sexuality. Even if you don’t believe in chakras or the healing effects, the bowls are delicious and the ambience is undeniably soothing with a chic, clean, marbled white and glass interior and a calming ocean soundtrack. Once you arrive, a glass box full of inspiring affirmation cards are placed on your table, encouraging self-positivity.
3-1-14 Roppongi, Minato-ku
4. marugo deli ebisu, Ebisu
Located just a stone’s throw away from Ebisu Station, marugo deli ebisu’s delicious, vegan soft cream desserts are certainly worth the trip. The cafe has a toned-down wooden interior with floor-to-ceiling windows and gives the relaxed atmosphere of a vegan smoothie joint in Sydney. Marugo deli ebisu offers a large selection of smoothies and juices — all vegan — along with vegan smoothie bowls, and a wide selection of desserts and food items. The fried tempeh and peanut butter burgers are the perfect balance of feeling indulgent yet staying healthy. Marugo deli ebisu also has a couple of non-vegan food items, so you can bring your meat-eating friends, too. Having joined Tokyo’s new CBD craze, smoothie add-ons include CBD oils and hemp seeds and there’s even a mini shop and online store dedicated to healthy food items and lifestyle products, such as freshly baked vegan muffins, coconut oil and hemp powder.
1-17-1 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
5. Falafel Brothers, Roppongi, Ebisu and Shibuya
A Tokyo vegan go-to, Falafel Brothers dispels the notion that veganism has to be expensive and can’t be fast food. Having opened their first store in Roppongi, Falafel Brothers has spread across the capital and now has stores in Ebisu and, most recently, in Shibuya Parco, too. Foreigners in Tokyo will know it’s difficult to find good falafel and hummus, but if you’re craving some Middle Eastern flavors, head to Falafel Brothers. Falafel Brothers is a restaurant that does what’s on the tin — delicious vegan falafel in the form of sandwiches, salad bowls and hummus plates. They also create crispy vegan karaage (fried chicken) which makes you feel like you’re eating chicken karaage with none of the guilt.
Check here for a full review.
15-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
6. Fico and Pomum Juice, Aoyama
With the slogan “healthy fast food,” Fico and Pomum Juice provides exactly that — speedy food and drink that’s good for your body and mind. In 2014, Fico and Pomum Juice opened its first store in Aoyama and expanded to Marunouchi in 2017. Tokyo may seem like it’s lacking in juice bars vis-a-vis other global cities like New York, Sydney or London, but Fico and Pomum fills this gap in the market with a wide range of fruit and vegetable smoothies, raw juices, a range of almond/soy lattes — the beet latte is a personal favorite — and even hot smoothies. If you’re feeling peckish, they offer a selection of sandwiches, though not all vegan-friendly, as well as granola bowls and parfaits, but it’s really the juices that shine here.
5-52-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
7. BOTANIST Cafe, Harajuku
Opened by lifestyle brand BOTANIST — most famous for their botanical shampoos and conditioners — BOTANIST Cafe is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly cafe on the second floor of the brand’s Harajuku store. The airy, white dining space with hanging light bulbs is very on-brand for the minimalist lifestyle company and provides a spacious, calming atmosphere with sunlight streaming through the floor-length windows. BOTANIST Cafe changes with the season, with exciting seasonal vegan menus. This winter, you can order a special Christmas set or holiday cake and in the Spring, there are cherry blossom-inspired pink burger buns. Having adapted to the new normal, BOTANIST Cafe offers some of their vegan dishes and drinks to go or to deliver on UBER Eats.
6-29-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku
8. BiO Cafe, Shibuya
BiO Cafe is an easy-to-miss small vegan cafe located in the hilly side streets of Shibuya. Attached to the cafe is a mini storefront bakery where you can bring desserts and breads home. The cafe offers a wide range of food items and lunch sets, including a course meal for celebrations, but it’s really the desserts you should come for. The sweets are delicious, decadent and so close to the original, you think they couldn’t possibly be vegan. The pumpkin tofu cake is the perfect fall or winter dessert and all their desserts are served with a light, dairy-free whipped cream. With the kitchen behind a glass partition, you can watch the chefs hard at work, producing the delectable bites you’re about to enjoy. Joining the latest bagel trend in Japan, BiO Cafe has an extensive selection of flavored bagels as well as macrobiotic sweets.
16-14 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku
Elsewhere on Metropolis:
9. AIN SOPH. Journey, Shinjuku
With four stores in Tokyo, AIN SOPH. has made a name for itself in vegan foodie circles, but it’s AIN SOPH. Journey that leads the group and has a sister branch in Kyoto. Tucked away in the side streets of Shinjuku, you forget the bustle of the city in the two floors of utter tranquility. The restaurant is most famous for the light, fluffy souffle pancakes which have taken Japan by storm in recent years. The restaurant offers seasonal fruit-and vegetable-inspired dishes, such as sweet potato creme brulee in the winter and moscato shine pancakes in the summer. Since May 2020, you can enjoy the bakery sections in the Shinjuku, Ikebukuro and Ginza restaurants and take home the vegan tiramisu, cookies or cakes.
3-8-9 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
Lunch: 11.30am–4pm daily
Dinner: 6pm–9pm daily
10. Peace Cafe Hawaii, Shibuya
Opened in 2010 as the first vegan cafe in Hawaii, Peace Cafe Hawaii came to Tokyo Shibuya Scramble Square in November 2019. The Hawaiian-Japanese fusion dishes have been so popular that a second branch in Japan has been opened in Yokohama in November 2020, just a year later. The Shibuya branch is a take away and standing online spot whereas you can enjoy take-out or eat-in options at the Yokohama branch, which specializes in a wide range of vegan curries. Best known for their vegan loco moco and tofu cutlets, Peace Cafe Hawaii brings a much-needed vegan flare to the Tokyo department store food court scene.
2-24-12 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku
Want even more options? Our readers also recommend:
- Citron (Great quiche)
- Great Lakes Tokyo (Vegan burgers)
- Sasaya Cafe (Amazing vegan scones)
- Falafel Brothers (Falafel… obviously)
- Veggie House (Taiwanese)
- Izakaya Masaka (Vegan izakaya)
- Kuumba de Falafel (Falafel but also snazzy falafel t-shirts)
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