The Best Brunch and Breakfast Spots in Tokyo
Baking savoury pancakes at a grill, Tokyo | © Picture Partners / Alamy Stock Photo
Tokyo is a late bloomer when it comes to embracing the brunch scene, but the city is now making up for lost time.
A smooth blend of international influences and local artisanal culture, new coffee shops are popping up almost daily in Tokyo. Start your day off right at one of the city’s stylish cafés or avant-garde restaurant spaces, which host some of the best breakfasts and brunches in Japan.
Travel the gastronomic globe at World Breakfast All Day, Shibuya
Cafe, European, American, Asian, $$$
World Breakfast All Day is a culinary celebration of diversity, where you can experience a new breakfast dish from a different country each month, and try morning meals from across the globe. The café has two outposts: one in the backstreets of Harajuku and a smaller sister store in Gaienmae. But the concepts are the same; breakfasts from around the world, around the clock. The team regularly meet with embassies, government tourist bureaus, and locals to craft authentic international breakfast dishes.
Chow down on the best Australian breakfast in Tokyo at Bills, Omotesando
Cafe, Restaurant, Australian, $$$
A restaurant born from a nation that takes brunch very seriously, Bills is an Australian import created by celebrity Aussie chef Bill Granger. The spacious, sunlight-flooded Omotesando branch of the café chain is tucked between the street-fashion hub of Harajuku and the high-end department stores of Omotesando. The concise, but well-balanced menu reads like a luxury Bondi Beach café spread; fluffy scrambled eggs, golden-brown sourdough toast, thick chunky tomato, and perfectly fried mushrooms. For those looking for something a little sweeter or lighter, there are also ricotta-banana hotcakes, salads and cereal bowls on offer.
Enjoy a taste of Europe at Path, Shibuya
Bistro, Cafe, European
Head down the surprisingly quiet backstreets of Shibuya
, which run parallel to Yoyogi Park near Harajuku, and you’ll find a breakfast goldmine. The area is home to plenty of intimate neighbourhood cafés scattered between the towering apartment complexes. One of the best in the area is Path, a European-inspired bistro-café famous for its mouthwatering pastries. Path’s most popular treat is their ultra-crispy Dutch pancake topped with ham and drenched in maple syrup. To secure a table at the weekend, it’s best to arrive before 8am.
Dig into an American-style breakfast at Arms Burger, Shibuya
Diner, American, Japanese, $$$
The Harajuku pocket of Shibuya is arguably the breakfast capital of Tokyo, and Arms Burger is one of the best places in the neighbourhood to add to your food itinerary. Don’t be deceived by its burger-heavy menu, as this much-loved local mainstay is also an excellent source of hearty breakfast food. Before lunch, burgers are switched out for omelettes, English muffins and more morning-friendly sandwiches with fillings such as avocado and tomato with hash browns on the side and American diner-esque filter coffee. For something a little greasier, they also serve traditional diner breakfasts which include eggs sunny side up, sausage, bacon and golden-brown toast.
Try a modern take on an old Japanese tradition at Trunk (Kitchen), Shibuya
Restaurant, French, American, Japanese, $$$
Hotel, bar, co-working space, and now a Tokyo breakfast hotspot: Trunk Hotel does it all. If the weather is good, get out on Trunk (Kitchen)’s sprawling terrace and start your day with a multi-course brunch, a modern spin on the traditional Japanese dining concept of ‘one soup and three side dishes’. There’s an appetiser, main course, soup, dessert and tea or coffee. If you’re not quite so hungry they also offer lighter, classic breakfast staples such as avocado toast, granola and french toast.
For the fluffiest pancakes you've ever tasted, try Flipper's, Shimokitazawa
Cafe, American, Japanese, $$$
Tokyo has a reputation for being home to some of the greatest pancakes in the world. For the best of the best, be sure to nab a table at Flipper’s in Shimokitazawa. This modern, but understated café is always abuzz with customers eager to dig into a plate of their jiggly, melt-in-your-mouth pancakes. Or, for something savoury, they also serve ‘meal pancakes’ with toppings such as egg, avocado, salmon and bacon. Like most places in Shimokitzawa, Flipper’s takes coffee very seriously, but the tapioca bubble tea is a hit, too.
For eggs every way imaginable, visit Eggcellent, Roppongi
Cafe, European, Japanese, $$$
It may not be the trendiest café in the city, but for a failsafe, accessible breakfast joint that never disappoints, don’t dismiss Eggcellent. Tokyo’s local egg-restaurant chain may have a jovial name but its dishes are seriously delicious. The restaurant serves eggs almost every way imaginable; omelettes, scrambled, fried and more. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider choosing their staple dish, eggs benedict. For those travelling with young ones, Eggcellent is a great breakfast choice as the entire restaurant is child-friendly, and offers complimentary colouring sheets and crayons for kids.
Tractor in Nakameguro is Tokyo's coolest breakfast hub
Restaurant, European, Japanese
After dark it’s a bar and nightclub
; throughout the week it’s a gallery space; but in the morning Tractor is one of Nakameguro’s premier breakfast hotspots. This laid-back but forward-thinking space serves rustic, Australian-style full-plate breakfasts including eggs, spinach and tomato on a thick, bouncy bed of sourdough bread. If you want to guarantee a table at the weekend, call ahead and make a reservation – it’s small, so can only serve a few people at a time.
For a Japanese-Australian fusion breakfast, head to Cibi, Nippori
Cafe, Japanese, Australian, $$$
A cross-cultural community space located in the traditional town of Nippori, Cibi began as a Japanese family-run café in Melbourne, Australia. After incredible success overseas, the Tokyo location follows the same tried-and-tested formula. Cibi offers a blend of Japanese and Australian cuisine, with delicious coffee, well-balanced breakfast plates, and plenty of mid-morning snacks like muffins and cakes. The front of the café is also a ceramics and art store, so patrons can support local artisans, pick up some last-minute gifts and enjoy an excellent meal all in one.
Go traditional at Yakumo Saryo, Meguro
As great as the international options are, you’d be amiss to visit Tokyo without trying an authentic Japanese breakfast at least once. Located in the unassuming residential backstreets of Meguro, Yakumo Saryo is a stylishly minimal restaurant and dining here is a lesson in culinary perfection
. In the mornings Yakumo Saryo offers simple, clean, perfectly balanced Japanese dishes like miso soup, pickles, fish and tea finished with a wagashi (classic Japanese sweets) and served in a harmoniously designed setting.