Café 8

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1F T+ Building, Aobadai 3-17-7, Nakameguro, Tokyo

Editorial Review

Café 8

Published on September 25th, 2011

You'd think vegetarians living in the Land of the Longest Life Span would have an easy time of it. Talk to a few and they'll tell you isn't so, recounting an episode in which a waiter couldn't quite distinguish between plant and animal. But Café 8 is one restaurant where those who have sworn off animal flesh will find a home. Everything on the limited menu is vegetarian, and even meat-eaters will leave this place feeling genki - not just because of the food. Café 8 is as easy on the body as it is on the mind and spirit. Small and sunny, with white walls and rare wood floors, the restaurant occupies the third story of Time & Style Galleria, a trendy little home store chockablock with everything from wine glasses to gray flannel couches. Life-size photos of Picasso make you feel like the master has had you over for tea, and indeed specialty drinks are one of the few constants on Café 8's menu, along with homemade bread of such varying recipes as orange chocolate or kuko nuts. Caramel "mochaccino" with espresso, soymilk, maple syrup and chocolate (JY650) or chai tea with soymilk (JY700) make the perfect addition to a healthy meal. 

While vegetarian fare has a stellar reputation with the Green Peace set, foodies often find it to be less than flavorful. But what this menu lacks in variety, it makes up for in flavor. It changes daily - you can check the website before you go - but some winning dishes make regular appearances, all of which we highly recommend: the veggie burger on a choice of homemade pumpkin or wheat toast, served with coleslaw; red curry on brown rice, vegetable and hummus sandwich; and more. On a recent trip, we sampled the pasta of the day, a delectable amalgamation of penne, spring vegetables and pink peppercorn drizzled with a light, white wine cream sauce (JY1000). 

The lunch menu is limited to two different sets and a bread set, prices change according to the dish. Dessert sometimes lands on the odd side of organic, but on occasion it's surprisingly tasty. If you see chocolate porridge on the chalkboard, give it a try (JY250). The dinner menu offers a slightly wider selection of appetizers, main courses, breads and daily specials. A rolled oatmeal hamburger with mushroom and tomato sauce (JY1100), spring vegetable roll with avocado (JY350), the pasta of the day (JY1100) and brown rice of the day (JY1100) are regulars on the list. If you go for lunch, be sure to request a spot on the patio that basks in the afternoon sun and offers a charming vista of Tokyo Tower-if you ignore all the electrical wires. You'll definitely leave Café 8 guilt-free.