Is Gyoza Stadium closed during Namja Town Renovation?
We'll be staying in Ikebukuro next month. I was looking forward to bringing the kids to Gyoza Stadium since they love gyoza but I've just read that Namja Town is closed for renovation until the summer.
Can anyone please confirm whether or not the gyoza and dessert sections are also closed?
Either way, does anyone have recommendations on child friendly eateries in or near Ikebukuro? When I say child friendly I mean interesting, nom smoking, and not too crowded. My kids will try eating anything but they love any kind of noodles and dumplings.
According to the website, the Gyoza Stadium will be closed. Also, they're not saying what's going to happen to the ice cream and the dessert floors. It's sounding like there's a chance they're only reopening the Gyoza Stadium this summer. That'd be a shame, because the ice cream section had some good stuff.
How old are your kids? Both Tobu and Seibu department stores at Ikebukuro station have restaurant arcade floors... Tobu has a more extensive selection. Just about any of those restaurants would be child-friendly. Most have plastic models of menu items on display, which makes it easy to order. Sunshine City has many places to eat, too. But I think there's better selection of restaurants at Tobu and even Seibu.
If your kids are more like teenagers, then there's actually a lot of hole-in-the-wall type ramen places around Ikebukuro that are small and cramped with salarymen, but really good ramen.
We planned to graze at the Seibu food hall and will most likely also try one of the upstairs restaurants. Based on your advice we'll check out the Tobu restaurants first. We'll probably check out Sunshine City when we go to Amlux.
I prefer smaller hole in the wall places but the kids are 7 and 10 so the smaller, smokey places won't work. I was hoping we might be able to see if they are less crowded and smokey when they first open in the evenings.
We'll be there with grandparents so the Mrs and I are hoping to leave the kids with them and have one night of checking out some Izakaya on our own.
Thanks for all your help!
The food hall at Seibu (if you're talking about the basement deli section) is definitely a good call. Amazing selections, all really good. I like anything from RF1. You can buy plastic plates real cheap at a 100yen shop (there's one across the street from the station's east entrance and there's also another one inside Sunshine City).
If you like hole-in-the-wall places, there are many good ones especially ramen. If you like Japanese curry, Moyan Curry (near Tokyu Hands, but it's on a small side street behind it) is just great. For ramen, I like Tonchin (near Junkudo bookstore) although there are many other great little ramen places in that area. These places open around 11a or 11.30a, btw. I'm not sure that I've seen any little kids eating at Tonchin or any of the other small ramen shops in the area. Keep in mind also that it's all counter seating. But Tonchin is non-smoking, which is a good thing. I don't know... if you go during off-hours like ~2pm, maybe it'll be fine.
Btw, if you're staying at a hotel, you may be best off doing the hotel breakfast buffet. There's just not a lot of eating options before 9am, outside of coffeeshops, convenience stores and Yoshinoya-type joints. There are some amazing bakeries in Ikebukuro, but even bakeries don't usually open till like 9a.
My father-in-law loves Japanese curry so we might check it out without the kids one night.
We'll go find those plastic plates for sure and I'll also check out Tonchin around 2 to see how it looks, thanks!
We're not big breakfast eaters so 9am bakery sounds pretty good. Any favorites?
There are many good bakeries, but my favorites are Pompadour and Vie de France. Both are actually chain bakeries, but very good. They're both a little bit hard to find. Vie de France is near the west entrance of the station, but along the underground corridor that heads from the Tobu-Tojo line area towards the Fukutoshin subway line area. Pompadour is over on the east entrance of the station, inside the underground shopping area called ISP.
They're both really great in different ways. Vie de France has a little more variety of different types of breads (baguette, pita, naan, bun, focaccia) with different fillings, sandwiches, dessert-type pastries, salads, etc. Love their melon cream bread (melon pan with whipped cream and melon custard inside) and corn potage bread... they don't always carry them, though. You can actually eat on the premises.
Pompadour is more of a European-style bakery that focuses more on simpler breads, but still with a lot of Japanese twist. So, of course, they still have curry pan and cream pan. You'll be really impressed by their croissants and baguettes. Come to think, Vie de France bakes some great croissants, too.
Just looked up their hours... Vie de France opens at 7.30a (I didn't know they open so early... this is rare for a Japanese bakery). Pompadour 10a.
There're other good ones (I'm also personally partial to Takase, which is on the street corner across the busy intersection from the station's east entrance).