Although Japan has a lot of great restaurants and serves more varieties of ethnic cuisine than you might think considering 98% of the population is Japanese, one of the first things many foreigners start to lament here is the lack of breakfast options. Finding a restaurant that serves a proper Western breakfast all day, let alone during actual breakfast time, can be a real challenge!
Last weekend my friend K and I were hungry for a real breakfast before heading off to another edition of Hostess Club Weekender at Shin Kiba Studio Coast, and hit up the recently opened Sarabeth’s Shinagawa for brunch, located in the Atre building of Shinagawa Station. We left with our appetites satisfied, and encourage you to check it out!
One thing to note, however, is that the Sarabeth’s in Shinagawa only serves the weekend brunch menu of the NY restaurants all day until dinner. While there are still many breakfast options, the lunch entree and sandwich choices are pretty limited. They also sadly don’t offer any of Sarabeth’s muffins or preserves besides wild berry.
That said, it really hit the spot. K ordered the eggs benedict, I got the Basque chorizo and sweet pepper frittata, and we split an order of buttermilk pancakes. Eat your hearts out, ya’ll!
I had a bite of the eggs benedict and it was great! The hollandaise sauce wasn’t too overpowering, and the eggs were cooked just right. But keep in mind we’re both American, so some of ya’ll from the UK might have some objections to how the U.S. does eggs benedict. The eggs in the frittata were light and fluffy, and there was just enough chorizo to give it some flavor without being overwhelming. I think it would have been perfect if there had been a little more potato or peppers in it, but I would still order it again. Buttermilk is a rarity in Japan, unless you make it yourself, so we just had to go with this classic. They skimped a little on the syrup portion size, but none of the waiters had any problems when we asked for extra butter, preserves, syrup, etc. The Shinagawa location also offers cranberry juice, which is another pretty rare find in Japan. 🙂
The atmosphere was really pleasant, but busy, so expect to wait awhile before being seated. While we were dining we spotted many girls having get togethers with their friends and couples eating brunch there, so I definitely recommend it as a nice morning/afternoon date spot.
If you’re interested in other breakfast spots, I recommend:
- Clinton Street Baking Co. & Restaurant – Located in Aoyama, a short walk from Omotesando Station. Craving a good biscuit or scone? Look no further! Their restaurant also cooks up some casual and fancier favorites.
- Bubby’s – Good breakfast, endless coffee refills, and they serve a pretty mean apple pie a la mode. They have four different locations around the Tokyo metroplex.
- Roti – For being located in Roppongi, their brunch menu is a pretty good deal. Huevos rancheros, eggs florentine, and other casual and regional favorites served here.
- Origami – Located at the Capital Hotel Tokyu. Although they do a breakfast buffet, the real star of this restaurant’s breakfast is their German apple cake, and has been featured on Japanese TV numerous times.
- Good Honest Grub – I wish they had a bit more on their brunch menu, but what they do offer is pretty delish, and this is one of the only places I know of that serves a decent carrot cake. Located smack dab between Shibuya and Ebisu Stations.
- Las Chicas – Located near Aoyama Gakuen University, near Omotesando Station. Serves a huge breakfast plate during brunch hours, and you can order pretty much any breakfast staple a la carte.
- Acai Cafe – Located in Shibuya, inside the B3 ShinQ’s of Shibuya Hikarie near Shibuya Station. Looking for a leaner or healthier breakfast choice? This cafe specializes in acai berry and fruit drinks, smoothies, and granola/waffle bowls.
- Pure Cafe – If you’re looking for vegan breakfast options, look no further. Located near Omotesando Station.
Neither are sit down restaurants, but Maruichi Bagel serves some authentic looking NY style bagels, and Bagel & Bagel makes giant, moist muffins in a variety of traditional and uniquely Japanese flavors. (Their bagels are just okay.) Maruichi Bagel is located at Shirokane Takanawa station off the Mita and Namboku lines, and Bagel & Bagel has a variety of locations throughout Japan.
I can only vouch for the Tokyo area, but if you know any good breakfast joints in other parts of Japan, let me know and I’ll add them to the post!