Don’t skip that first meal when in Tokyo


Don’t skip that first meal when in Tokyo

by: Nano Betts | . | .
published: September 12, 2018

My love affair with Tokyo’s brunch and coffee scene is as strong as ever, so I thought it was high time to share the updated post of my new favorite finds in the city.


Not sure how I lived in Tokyo for almost three years and didn’t check this spot out. Mercer Brunch offers one of the most refined brunches in town. I have revisited multiple times and so far couldn’t fault a single dish, whether it is a lobster omelet oozing with flavor of the crustacean, the grilled homemade sausage or the brioche French toasts they are so famous for. They have multiple branches in Tokyo and one in Kamakura, with the newest addition in Aoyama offering a rooftop terrace seats. How better can a slow Sunday morning get?!

Camelback Espresso

While I have written about them before, I wanted to mention this favorite coffee shop of mine because they recently opened a new location (oddly, very close to the old one) right by the Yoyogi-Koen station. The coffee is as good as ever, and the new place offers sourdough sandwiches instead of baguettes. Most definitely worth a visit.

The Works Nakameguro

Full disclosure, I was late for brunch both times I visited and had to “settle” for lunch menu, but based on their fantastic coffee, delicious lunch options, and very pleasant open space, I would not hesitate to recommend this spot to anyone. Located in the prime cherry blossom viewing spot, The Works comes with great views as well during sakura season. Hint, hint.

Elle Café Aoyama

Perhaps the most European café in Tokyo, Elle Café is perfect for those guilt-free mornings as it offers plenty of healthy options like quinoa salads and veggie burgers. It is located right where the UNU Farmers Market is hosted every weekend so it might be a nice place to settle down after perusing the stalls.


If you crave something truly different, you cannot go wrong with Cicada which is one of the long-time hotspots in town serving delectable Mediterranean fare. My favorite is their chicken or lamb tagine, although, to be honest, their entire 3-course lunch tasting menu was excellent. Book in advance if you want to score seats on their terrace.

Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse

For those who prefer to start their weekend with something heartier than an avocado toast, I recommend Ruby Jack’s Steakhouse. We started with oysters (cause, why not?) and opted for steak and scrambled eggs for mains. The steak was excellent, with juicy texture and smoky flavor from the char-grill. I was disappointed with coffee though, so there is that.

DUMBO Donut & Coffee

This little hip spot tucked away in Azabu-Juban is the place to go if you prefer to start your day on a sweet note. Despite the ginormous size, the donuts are not overwhelmingly sweet and have a light texture. They have classic flavors alongside local specialties like matcha donut. Happy to report that coffee is also on point. Double win!

Mighty Steps Coffee

We all love a good cup of coffee, but this little shop in Nihonbashi steps it up a notch by offering the ultimate combo: coffee and ice-cream! A treat that is most definitely hard to say no to, who agrees?

Glitch Coffee & Roasters

It seems like I now have a favorite coffee shop in every neighborhood I go to, but I simply cannot help it. I discovered Glitch Coffee through my friend Katherine of City and Sea as we were heading to tour Jimbocho, Tokyo’s haven for used books. Owner and barista Kiyokazu Suzuki uses a creative roasting process to serve impeccable slow drip in a casual and laid-back space. It is a perfect place to decompress and enjoy a quality java on a slow Sunday morning.

Kayaba Coffee & Yanaka Coffee Shops

Both of these coffee shops are worth a visit if you find yourself in the old neighborhood of Yanesen. Kayaba Coffee is a family-run coffee shop which truly represents a legacy kissaten (dated Showa era coffee shop). The traditional wooden house in which it resides was built in 1916 and the coffee shop itself opened in 1938 by Kayaba Inosuke together with his wife Kimi and daughter Sachiko. Yanaka Coffee is Tokyo’s veteran coffee shop which offers over a dozen roasts sourced from around the world and now has branches all around the city.

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