Despite being a city that prides itself in being a gourmand’s heaven, for some reason Tokyo is quite an underperformer when it comes to breakfast options. Now don’t get me wrong, if you are looking for a quick and healthy bite on your way to work for less than 500 yen then there are a plentitude of options. I have certainly been known to stop by Dotour or even the odd Kissaten (喫茶店, old school Japanese coffee house) but how many places can you tell me that offer a decent sit-down breakfast that you would feel comfortable taking your beloved girlfriend, better-half or even the kids?
My wife and I love any excuse to get out of the house early, and on a special occasion we will often eat out for breakfast. If you’ve ever tried to Google “Tokyo breakfast” or “Tokyo brunch” then you will sympathize with my plight. For starters “brunch” seems to rarely start before 11-11:30am. Wouldn’t one call that lunch? And a search for breakfast seems to lean towards options for people on business trips looking for a slightly more palatable option than the defrosted omlete they get in their business hotel. So here it is, the result of several years of my own personal research into the Tokyo breakfast scene. The list is short but that is not for lack of trying. The stark reality is that amongst the small handful of options out there, many are mediocre. Below I’ve chosen my favorite three establishments. Each one of them should appeal to a different type of eater so I hope that I can tempt you to try at least one (and write about it in the comments section below! Or, better yet, tell us about your favourite breakfast haunt!).
1) Le Pain QUOTIDIEN (ル・パン・コティディアン 芝公園店) (FAMILY OPTION)
Authentic french bread. Coffee’s not cheap at 550 yen, but the organic bread is to die for. The real attraction is the basket of assorted bread (“organic wheat baker’s basket” 780 yen). Only the regulars seem to order this – after all there aren’t that many places you can order organic bread in Tokyo, and it comes with a nasty little selection of spreads to try with it. Most of the other items on the menu are great too, but you’ll end up saying “what? only that?” when you compare the size of the serving with the price. A great place for taking your kids if you don’t like them eating all of the preservatives in convenience store bread. When the weather is nice you could buy some bread from their take-out section and nibble on it while walking around Zojoji temple (増上寺).
Breakfast starts: 7:30AM
Coffee: 550 yen
Address: 3-3-1 Shibakoen, Minato-ku (港区芝公園3-3-1) / 2 minutes from Onarimon Station.
2) Lauderdale (ローダーデール) (SINGLES OPTION)
With a pleasant terrace and some beautiful cherry blossoms nearby, it is quite pleasant just sitting, sipping your coffee here and watch the world go by. I personally find it just as interesting sitting inside and watching the mix of eclectics as they rush in and out of the store for their quick breakfast on their way to work. If you feel like more than just a coffee you absolutely must try the souffle here (650-800 yen). It is hot out of the oven and will not let you down. It is also a rare Tokyo option for pancakes (700 yen) at breakfast.
Breakfast starts: 7AM weekdays, 8AM weekends
Coffee: 150 yen with a food order. (bottomless cup!!)
Address: Keyakizaka Terrace 1F, 6-15-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku (港区六本木6-15-1) / right behind Roppongi Hills
3) Conrad Hotel (Cerise by Gordon Ramsay) (COUPLES OPTION)
This is definitely the most expensive of my list but I still think it is value for money when you consider the quality of the produce. You might not be able to relax with your kids here but it is a great place to come with your better-half for a refined breakfast. You can order from the menu but really the buffet (2800 yen) is more than enough. While that means you don’t get a hot egg dish, you honestly don’t really need it when you start to discover the hidden gems: the moorish salmon, the rare cheese platter, the fresh chunky preserves, etc. It is my run away favorite amongst the foreign hotel offerings in Tokyo.
Breakfast starts: 6:30 (weekdays) / 7:00 (Weekends)
Coffee: included in buffet (bottomless cup!)
Address: Conrad Hotel, 1-9-1 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku (港区東新橋1-9-1) / 2 minutes from Shiodome station