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Aug 3, 2012 06:48 PM

Tokyo - Restaurants that can accommodate a vegetarian

We will be going to Tokyo and my brother who is vegetarian (dairy and egg are okay - no fish/meat/dashi) will be joining us; the other three of us eat everything.

I am looking for some amazing meat/fish based restaurants which have a good selection (does not need to be huge) of vegetarian dishes.

Korokke/tempura/grilled vegetables/soba/etc. Izakaya would be great.

Are there any good Ramen Shops that serve vegetarian?
So far I have seen Ivan Ramen (old thread) and T's Tan Tan (Tokyo Station)

Other ideas for "vegetarian" which we may want to try would be
Tofu Cafe Fujino (I missed out last time I was in Kyoto)
Tofuya Ukai or Ume no Hana
Tsunahachi (or some other tempura)
Gion Tsujiri (I had the best icecream of my life there - hojicha icecream)

Do any of the high end sushi restaurants have vegetarian sushi? Mizutani/Sawada/Saito/Yoshitake/etc

Do any of Ryugin/Narisawa/Aronia

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  1. Here are a few fun vegetable-oriented places where you can (probably) specify that you want one of the meals to be vegetarian:

    Vegetable sushi at Potager in Roppongi:
    Vegetable kaiseki at Nagamine in Ginza:

    In general though izakaya are you best bet - you can order a number of small dishes, including several vegetable items.

    Of the specific places you mentioned in your list, you might want to (have someone) call ahead and see if they actually have vegetarian options. I think with Daigo you have to order the vegetarian version somewhat in advance, and I'm not sure whether or not Ume no Hana does a vegetarian dinner.

    No, high-end sushi restaurants don't have vegetarian options.

    Ryugin might possibly have a vegetarian menu - you'd have to ask directly. If you want upscale French, Pierre Gagnaire and Michel Troisgros both have excellent vegetarian menus.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Robb S

      Robb, are there any Izakaya in particular that you remember having more (or good) vegetarian dishes?

      Thanks for the response.

      1. re: quddous

        Sorry, I don't know of any izakaya that serve strictly vegetarian dishes.

    2. You need to make sure that "vegetarian" actually means vegetarian. Many places serving vegetarian food would include dashi as a matter of course, for example (and not really consider a dish to be non-vegetarian if it contains dashi but no other fish component).

      Nagamine in Ginza I think is great fun (mentioned in Robb S's post) - I last went around 2 years ago but if it still is the same, any vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike would enjoy it I think. I most certainly did.

      You are asking about Aronia and Ryugin. The menu at Aronia has a very high vegetable content and theoretically they should be able to put together an entire menu without any seafood or meat, but I don't know whether they are wiling to do that. Suggest you simply email them - the email address is on the website and Akiko, the chef's wife, is very responsive (in English).

      At Ryugin there is barely any dish which does not contain fish or meat in some form, but who knows, they may be used to such requests as they have a lot of foreign guests (who are far more likely to request vegetarian options than Japanese people). There is some English spoken at Ryugin so you should be able to get the information quite easily.

      Otherwise sorry but I can't help with other recommendations as I have no interest in vegetarian places. I do know that vegetarians often complain that they struggle a bit finding decent vegetarian places (especialyl if they are on a budget), but given the vast number of restaurants in Tokyo there must be plenty to accommodate your brother. Maybe do a search of this site - I would have thought this has been discussed before.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Asomaniac

        I think a lot depends on how strict a vegetarian the person is. If it's someone who's going to worry about a little dashi in their 99%-vegetable dish, then probably they'll be happier going to a strictly vegetarian restaurant on their own, and letting their non-vegetarian friends enjoy real Japanese food somewhere else. If they're a little more relaxed, then take them to izakaya and try to order vegetable dishes for them.

        One thing that doesn't work out well is carrying a little card that states your dietary preferences, and expecting the waitstaff and kitchen staff in an ordinary izakaya or Japanese restaurant to accommodate you. They won't. (Unless you're at an international hotel, for example.) As Asomaniac said, there's really no understanding that dashi in a dish makes it non-vegetarian, and a busy kitchen at the height of dinner service is not an effective setting to educate someone on that issue.

        By the way, there are hundreds of restaurants in Tokyo where you can be sure to get a strictly vegetarian meal. Most of them serve Indian food.

        1. re: Robb S

          Vegetarian has been discussed but I was looking for meat/fish oriented restaurants with vegetarian. Sometimes there are meat/fish oriented restaurants which do care about having vegetarian clientele (very few even here in Canada). I think we will have to stick to purely vegetarian while he is in town (or let him have whatever is vegetarian on the menu and get him some snacks after the meal).

          The hardest part as you two mentioned is that most "Japanese Vegetarian" include dashi. We have that problem here in Vancouver too - even at my house where I made agedashi tofu (with dashi) recently and he accidentally ate some.

          1. re: quddous

            >even at my house where I made agedashi tofu (with dashi) recently and he accidentally ate some.

            OMG that's so horrible! Was he hospitalized? Did you have to call the waambulance??