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Breakfast in Tokyo

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Hi all,

Australians love their breakfast out and I have travelled to Tokyo a number of times but have great trouble finding breakfast spots. Last time I was in Tokyo, I had breakfast pretty much every day at the hotel (Claska), which was nice but got a bit similar after a few days. I did go to Viron in Shibuya which wasn't bad but obviously bakery focussed.

I'm looking for espresso coffee, eggs, bacon, etc etc... but all with the wonderful Japanese take on western food and open before 9.

Any ideas or recommendations - or am I dreaming?

Thanks
KZM

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  1. Unfortunately, you are dreaming. Several hotels do nice breakfasts, but to find a restaurant is very hard. Suji's is open at 9am, but only on Saturday http://www.sujis.net/sub24_3.htm.

    To make a big generalization, Japanese people are not morning people at all. Almost nothing opens early in this country (shops, restaurant, etc, etc). Eating breakfast out, is just not something done. Finding brunch on the weekend is hard enough - though there are a few good places now, including the wonderful Bill's (from Sydney).

    Tim

    12 Replies
    1. re: TimJE

      Thanks Tim. Thought I'd be dreaming. Will definitely get myself along to Bill's, as it will break up my hotel breakfast monotony.

      1. re: kersizm

        Bill's doesn't have a branch in Tokyo.

        1. re: Robb S

          But it does now (as of Saturday) in Yokohama, in the Red Brick warehouse. Open from 9 am and very nice too.
          http://r.tabelog.com/kanagawa/A1401/A...

          1. re: zaijin

            JT's Robbie Swinnerton reviews the new Bill's (or bills, though I don't think we should be indulging a chef's arrogant disregard for the conventions of our language.)

            http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bi...

            1. re: coldicott

              Hmmm. Another reason I'm a 'failed' Australian: can't stand said chef, nor his indifference to grammatical conventions!

      2. re: TimJE

        Agreed, it is hard to find good breakfast in Tokyo. On the other hand, there are a couple of rooms that serve Breakfast with a capital B, we're talking the real deal no joke power breakfast to get you through the day. Not cheap, but World Class. My favorites (in this order) are The Orchid Room at the Okura, Les Saisons at the Imperial (Michelin 1-star) and Girandole at the Park Hyatt.

        1. re: Uncle Yabai

          Hi Uncle Yabai (and All),

          Any recommendations for great Japanese-style Breakfast places? Thanks.

        2. re: TimJE

          Ugh. I just cannot like Suji's after eating there at least 3 times. I think it's overpriced and just not worth it.

          1. re: gkanai

            Agreed. Suji's stinks. Crowded, expensive as all hell, and industrial-quality portions of bad glop.

            1. re: Uncle Yabai

              yeah it's true about sujis. i want to like it because i like brunch, but it is outrageously overpriced and you can make similar stuff, but better, at home.

          2. re: TimJE

            Actually, if you qualify Denny's, Gusto and Royal Host as restaurants (these are all very clean sit-down restaurants), all of these places serve your typical breakfast dishes... toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes (hot cakes), sausages. Most of their locations open around 7-8am; Denny's 24hrs for the most part. While their breakfast offerings are not extensive and medicore, I'd still take any of them over IHOP in America.

            You are right that things tend to open late in Japan... even most bakeries don't open till 9 or later. Also, if you're looking for high-end breakfast type places (outside of hotels), those are hard to find.

            1. re: chowmouse

              I went to Royal Host on the recommendation of Monocle Magazine. For el cheapo pancakes it was great. For a nice relaxed morning with a newspaper, not so much!

              Bills is probably the closest to what I am after.

              Thanks everyone for the assistance.

          3. Le Petit Tonneau in Toranomon does breakfast: http://www.petitonneau.com/en/toranom...

            I don't know if they do a "wonderful Japanese take on Western food" though.

            1. If you're in Tokyo on a Sunday, the brunch (classic American brunch but with a twist, not necessarily Japanese twist though) at Beacon is very legitimate. Popular too, so you have to make reservations. Not cheap but very good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gkanai

                Beacon looks like it could be the type of thing I am after. Will give it a go. Thanks!

              2. Roti Roppongi is your best bet, in my opinion

                If you don't mind spending a bit more, Beacon is also excellent!

                2 Replies
                1. re: deb79

                  I am surprised you are listing Roti. They used to be good until about 2yrs ago and then their brunch changed. I saw the new menu - which was basically the lunch menu - and told them this isn't brunch anymore and walked out. I was really mad, as I had friends in from out of town and wanted to impress them with Roti's lunch.

                  I was at Addis the other day for lunch. Not bad, but not as good as it has been in the past. Still more reasonable than Suji's and better quality. I think Addis shines for dinner more than Brunch.

                  Bill's is still hands down the best in the greater greater Tokyo area and that is great news it will open in Yokohama this weekend.

                  1. re: TimJE

                    I think Roti must have reintroduced their brunch menu - it now includes Eggs Benedict, smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, blueberry buttermilk pancakes, spinach-feta cheese omelette, etc.

                    Also in that neighborhood, Lauderdale in Roppongi Hills seems to serve breakfast every day from 7am, with weekend brunch from 8am-4pm.

                2. I agree with the others -- you are dreaming! (especially about the bacon)

                  Scramble in Shibuya, just under the tracks by the crossing, does an OK set of breakfast eggs, should you find yourself in the neighborhood. This site says they open at 9am: http://a-shibuya.com/shops/34691 I've only been there around lunch/brunch time on weekends though and I can't seem to find any more info on their breakfast hours.

                  1. Oh and I just now found out that Sbarro is open in Shibuya! Apparently there is breakfast here too. I have never had it but can guarantee it will not be wonderful. But I'm really psyched about Sbarro, I'm not gonna lie. I love me some greasy cardboard pizza.
                    Review of Kichijoji location:
                    http://www.timeout.jp/en/tokyo/venue/...
                    "N.Y. Breakfast" menu: http://www.sbarro.jp/menu/morning.html

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: hello_liza

                      sbarro has a very special place in my heart but it's not exactly the type of place I am looking for.

                      Thanks for everyone's input, I was pretty sure I was dreaming. I'll go with some of your suggestions and see how I go.

                      1. re: hello_liza

                        Not sure why that article says it's the first branch to be opened in Japan. There used to be a sbarro in Roppongi in the 90's but it shut down.

                      2. Good Honest Grub in Shibuya. Not open until 10 or 10:30 and only on the weekends. Stay out late Friday + Saturday then you have an excuse to sleep later.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: kamiosaki

                          Went to Good Honest Grub for brunch the other day - got a really bland wrap paired with shockingly dirty salad. I was planning to leave the salad and scuttle off without complaining, but the chef had other ideas and started haranguing us for not eating his "fresh, organic salad".

                          1. re: coldicott

                            That's a shame - I remember them being a lot better. Did you point out how dirty it was, and if so what did he say?

                            1. re: kamiosaki

                              No - I'm British, so I'd sooner cut my tongue out than complain, but if a chef is gonna heckle me.... I'll still skulk off quietly, and then exact revenge at the bottom of thread on an Interweb site.

                        2. I must be the exception to your rule. I'm Australian, and have never been a huge fan of brekkies out or brunch... Having said that, if you find a decent flat white, please advise!

                          But back to your original question: A friend dragged me to Lobros in Kichijoji for brunch early 2009. At that time, they had everything you're after food and beverage-wise. Unfortunately they're not open before 11:30am:

                          http://www.bento.com/rev/2814.html

                          and

                          http://lobros.co.jp/cafe/access.html

                          Hope this helps, and don't forget the flat white!

                          Ms. J

                          1. Actually Lauderdale in Roppongi Hills might be close to what you're looking for. Like Petit Tonneau, it's more French-style than North American, without any Japanese influence that I noticed. They have good French-style omelettes, pancakes, and great savory souffles in flavors like mushroom-herb and pepper-banana. It's a nice bright, airy cafe-style space, with big glass doors that open onto a terrace. Weekday breakfast is 7-11am, and weekend brunch is 8am-4pm. Sparkling wine starts at Y4600/bottle if you want a champagne brunch. 03-3405-5533.

                            Oh, and they have free wi-fi.

                            1. I had to change my breakfast style after moving here. Now it is two tsunomayo onigiri from the combine and a 500ml Meiji LB81 drinking yogurt. I then take it to the Kotto Dori Starbucks and get a espresso con panna and eat the whole thing sitting outside. If you sit inside, the staff after 18 months or so chided me for bringing in outside food. However, at around 12:30 and around 3:00 a number of yakuza have a meeting there on many days. They park a Black Mercedes and a White Mercedes out front each with a single digit license plate. They have the yakuza OL (in Armani pant suits!) go in advance and order the coffees-the young guys sit security and the senior guy is usually dressed like a university professor or older stylish hippie (but with snakeskin shoes and geek glasses) comes, they can take up to 10 seats and like having the trees planted near the sidewalk as cover.......that's right- you asked about breakfast in Tokyo......well for me that is breakfast in Tokyo

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: jet lagged

                                Sounds great. You offering tour packages?

                                1. re: jet lagged

                                  This one: スターバックスコーヒー青山骨董通り店? or this one: スターバックスコーヒー南青山骨董通り店? On which day is the chance the highest to watch your "friends"?

                                  1. re: jet lagged

                                    I laughed so hard. Thanks for the yakuza story!

                                  2. Two Rooms was recently recommended to me for Sunday brunch. Haven't been but from what I hear it sounds good.

                                    http://www.tworooms.jp/pdf/brunch.pdf

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: gkanai

                                      It's OK. Expensive and not too memorable. If you are going to drop that kind of money, might as well go to the New York Grill. Better food, same prices, better view.

                                      1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                        Gotcha- thanks for the reality check.

                                    2. I like Las Chicas, right behind the United Nations University in Aoyama. But it's a weekend brunch place that opens at 11. They do a great bloody mary!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: vhtran

                                        I've been here a few times for functions but had no idea it did a weekend brunch.

                                        Might have to give it a try this weekend.

                                      2. You can go to eggs and things in omotesando but you have to get there early to beat the line around the corner. I think they open at 9. We got there on a weekday when we were pregnant from the doctors office at 9 am and was like maybe 10th in line. I mean it's good, nice American size portions. But expensive. Dinner Breakfast should not be like 4,000 for two people but I'm sooo used to t here now. Japanese are actually up very early but they don't seem to like to do business very early. Maybe still drunk from the night before. They just don't seem to care for western breakfasts and would rather have natto and pickles and watery rice instead. Lauderdale, beacon and the rest are ok. We prefer Ty harbor to all of them. Talk about Sbarro. Nothing beats the ghetto midtown times square location that has the all you can eat breakfast to tr to lure tourists. All the powdered eggs you can eat and grade D but edible bacon and sausage. It was great. I will def try to hit Bill's in Yokohama.

                                        1. I don't know about espresso, but most old style kisaten coffee shops offer inexpensive breakfasts of eggs, toast, coffee or tea, and maybe bacon or sausage. But you need to look for old style, not modern (chain) coffee shops. By inexpensive I mean 500-700¥ or so.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: edozanmai

                                            Wow, unless you own a time machine, where do you find old-style kissaten anymore? I can't think of a single one in the neighborhoods where I live or work - they've all been replaced by cafes or modern coffee shops.

                                            1. re: Robb S

                                              There are lots of old style kisaten coffee shops in places like Asakusa, Ningyōchō, Higashi Nihonbashi, Ryōgoku and other areas along the Sumida River. Off hand, I would say there are more of these than chain shops in my neighborhood. I didn’t realize that they were sush a rarity these days in other parts of town.

                                            2. re: edozanmai

                                              I heartily recommend the Power Breakfast (Y1000) at On The Corner in Shibuya. It comes in a big casserole dish and includes two eggs, bacon, some excellent sausage, grilled tomato, potatoes, cheese, fried mushrooms and sauteed spinach. And reasonable-sized portions of all of the above - not just a spoonful of each.

                                              Breakfast is served from 9-11am, and then again from 3:30pm until 2am. On The Corner has a branch of one of Tokyo's best espresso cafes, Bear Pond, in front, so the coffee is also very good. http://onthecorner-shibuya.com

                                              1. re: Robb S

                                                I gave this a go on the weekend and was very happy with the breakfast. Plenty of food for the price and it was delicious.

                                                One tip though: Make sure you order your coffee from the stand in the front part of the restaurant. If you order at your table you don't get the good Bear Pond stuff.

                                                1. re: davey.c

                                                  That's weird, I always order cappuccino and I thought it was from up front - it's certainly a very fancy version and quite good. (Maybe it's different when you order regular coffee though?)

                                                  So how do you order - do you tell the people at Bear Pond up front that you're sitting in the back, or do you carry it in yourself?

                                                  1. re: Robb S

                                                    Yeah, you have to order from Bear Pond and carry it in yourself.

                                                    I found my cappuccino from On The Corner a bit too milky, and it was covered in cinnamon too.

                                                    Bear Pond don't actually do a cappuccino at this location: http://onthecorner-shibuya.com/pdf/no... The latte is great though.

                                                    1. re: davey.c

                                                      I just went to On The Corner for breakfast, and they definitely now serve Bear Pond coffee in the back restaurant, and advertise so on their menu. (Perhaps they changed their system?)

                                                2. re: Robb S

                                                  Sooo that means breakfast is NOT served from 11-3:30 pm on weekends? Seems strange -- that's my prime breakfast-eating time!

                                                  1. re: hello_liza

                                                    That's right - it's breakfast, not brunch, and they serve it all day, every day, except at lunchtime.

                                                    1. re: Robb S

                                                      Prompted by this thread and the recent reviews on JT, Bento etc. I went there for the all-day breakfast at 5:30 PM this evening. Overall satisfying but some thoughts:

                                                      1 - asked for scrambled eggs instead of fried, they were half perfectly edgy brown and half runny - ask for them to be tight if runny ain't your thing
                                                      2 - the sausage was good and not Japanese-y at all, but the bacon had that Japanese taste
                                                      3 - most of the items were covered with cheese - no complaints from me but some may not like

                                                      1. re: Robb S

                                                        That's like McDonalds in Japan. They sell hot dogs, but only until 10 AM. For some lost in translation reasons, hot dogs are considered "breakfast food" in Japan. Don't ask, just go with the flow, don't fight the tape.

                                                3. I have to go with the previous post that recommended The Orchard Room at the Okura Hotel. Best french toast anywhere in the world.

                                                  I would also add French Kitchen in the Grand Hyatt at Roppongi Hills.

                                                  These two venues have been the power breakfast spots in Tokyo - Orchid Room more old school, French Kitchen more new (lots of foreign investment banks in Roppongi Hills including CS and GS).

                                                  The Peninsula at Marunouchi also has an awesome breakfast but pricey.

                                                  1. Good morning breakfast lovers.

                                                    Tomorrow is my last real breakfast in Tokyo and I am up for a big buffe. I love those big chain hotel breakfasts and a good view with that. I have spent quite some time on the internet looking for good reviews but people seem to like the all american breakfast with big pancakes and sausages (no offence...).

                                                    I am looking for a buffe with lots of (quality) meat, salmon and fresh fruit. I do not care about desserts, pancakes, waffles or cereals.

                                                    I am planning on doing Roppongi/Akasaka tomorrow so I am looking for something either in Roppongi Hills, but Ginza is also OK.

                                                    I am thinking about French Kitchen at the Hyatt.
                                                    Anyone been there, reviews?
                                                    Hilton Shinjuku has good breakfast rep. and might be worth a detour. Anyone been there?
                                                    Any other recommendations in those areas?
                                                    Anyone been to the Peninsula breakfast?

                                                    Thanks,
                                                    kengdirr

                                                    8 Replies
                                                    1. re: kengdirr

                                                      I haven't been to the Peninsula for breakfast. French Kitchen is probably the best weekday breakfast buffet in Roppongi, and better than Marble Lounge at the Shinjuku Hilton in my opinion. (Sorry I can't remember specifics about salmon or meats, but they had a lot of good dishes.)

                                                      In Ginza, the Imperial Hotel has a good breakfast reputation, but I don't think it's a buffet.

                                                      1. re: Robb S

                                                        I've always found this praise for the French Kitchen rather odd. The offerings are pretty weak, the service stinks, and it is expensive as all hell. Terrible value for money, and never fails to disappoint. I have had a number of business breakfasts there and everytime I look forward to be proven wrong, but alas, no go.

                                                        The clincher was a couple of months ago when I met somebody for breakfast and this person got there before I did, and told the server his name and my name and that he was waiting for me. He was sitting in one of the booths off to the side, so not really visible on a cursory pass of the restaurant. When I arrived I gave the front person my name and his name and she said that my companion hadn't arrived, so I waited by the entrance. Only after waiting for a while did I call him to ask him when he was coming, when he had been in the restaurant the whole time. All I got for that was a fake "gomenasai", and no offer of redress.

                                                        1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                          Thanks for the help guys.
                                                          As I called many of my options to hear what kind of breakfast it was, I changed my mind and decided to go for early lunch instead. Then I called the same places to hear about the lunch options, but due to the earthquake e.g. New York Grill didn't have their lobster (5200 is pretty expensive for "chicken or pork", then you might aswell head to l'Osier for a three course lunch for 7000) and French Kitchen didn't even have a buffet.

                                                          I just think I'll head to Barbacoa for meat feast. Really not what I am looking for, but the food is far more important than the service and location.

                                                          1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                            I was going to say I think it's good as long as someone else pays, but your story is exactly what also happened to me last time I had a business breakfast there.

                                                            1. re: Uncle Yabai

                                                              Finally- I found someone else who will confirm that Roppongi French Kitchen is crap. I have tried 5 times. Micro portions of bad tasting food in an "open kitchen" where you can't see anything. As I have to take US CEOs around Tokyo for my work, they do ask to go there. I warn them and sometimes we go, and it has ALWAYS been a bad, rip-off. If one is looking to meet well dressed Japanese women in their 30 and 40s who are trying to have a fling with a Western banker, then I recommend it. (Not likely at breakfast time though-Two Rooms is probably better for that reason anyway...)

                                                              1. re: jet lagged

                                                                Pure Cafe won't be a socializing breakfast (sorry Freud!). The pure WE is a macrobiotic cafe for a long, slow, parfumed morning,and the grain pancake soy milk cream fruit are among one of the different spot for fashion classy between young japanese women in Omotesando
                                                                http://d.hatena.ne.jp/MacrobiLotus/to...
                                                                http://pure-cafe.com/menu/index.html
                                                                The hic is the coffee, too light... and too far from a 'cafe late'(=no milk)!!

                                                                1. re: Ninisix

                                                                  One look at that ersatz food (tempeh sandwich?) makes me want to scarf a large fried bacon on a stick as an antidote. I guess my food sensibilities are just a galaxy away from the target customers of this cafe.

                                                                  1. re: steamer

                                                                    Not so far... the organic bacon exist !! even the tempeh bacon... HIHIHI!!