Gaienmae, Sendagaya, Yotsuya
Cafes, bars and casual dining
Harakara - Burgers: Gaienmae
[Open 11:30am-4, 6-8:30pm (LO; Sat, Sun -8). Closed Mondays.]
Harakara's burgers are seasoned with only salt and pepper - no ketchup, mustard or sauces - so as not to mask the rich flavor of the aged beef. The most popular offering is the avocado cheeseburger (Y1280), with soft, ripe avocados and tangy...
Aquavit Bar - Bar: Gaienmae
[Open 6-10pm (LO) daily.]
This very stylish Scandinavian-design lounge features immense Austin Powers-style chairs in which you can plot world domination while you sip on unusual aquavit-based cocktails. They also serve home-made aquavit (Scandinavian schnapps) in...
Royal Garden Cafe Aoyama - Cafe: Gaienmae
[Open 11am-11pm daily.]
This spacious cafe offers typical cafe fare (pastas, sandwiches) during the day, along with fresh-baked breads and pastries from their in-store bakery. In the evening the menu widens to include grilled meats and fish and other...
Pondichery - Indian: Aoyama 1-chome
[Open 11am-10pm daily.]
Good South Indian cuisine from the management of the Mumbai restaurant chain. Lunches are priced from Y850, dinners from Y1500. Lunch is served until 5pm, and on weekends and holidays there's an all-you-can-eat lunch for Y1980.
RH Cafe - Cafe: Sendagaya
[Open 9am-9pm daily.]
Espresso beverages, teas, salads and other light cafe fare. Prices are a bit higher than average, but the dining area is stylish and spacious. Located inside the Ron Herman store.
Tas Yard - Cafe: Kita-Sando
[Open 11am-8pm daily.]
A very pleasant garden-style cafe with decent food and drink.
Be A Good Neighbor - Coffee shop: Kita-Sando
[Open 8:30am-6pm daily.]
Serious espresso is served at this tiny neighborhood kiosk, and the friendly staff are happy to talk coffee all day long. A single espresso is Y150 while a large cafe latte is Y420; they also do drip coffee and sell beans (Y1050 for 150g). Open...
Curry Up - Curry: Jingumae 2-chome
[Open 11:30am-2:30, 5-8:30pm (LO) daily.]
Having conquered the worlds of music and fashion, "A Bathing Ape" founder Nigo has turned his attention to curry rice. The small Curry Up shop on the northern edge of Harajuku was designed by Wonderwall and reportedly named by hiphop producer...
Le Sang des Poetes - Bar: Jingumae 2-chome
[Open 6pm-1am (Sun 3-10pm). Closed Mondays.]
More suited to chilling out than carousing, this quiet neighborhood bar plays prog-rock and is furnished with bookcases overflowing with poetry books, with an emphasis on the Beat era. Decorated in a vivid red-and-black color scheme, it's perched...
Mae Yao - Thai: Shinanomachi
[Open 11:30am-8pm (LO; Sat -7pm). Closed Sundays.]
An offshoot of the popular Waseda curry shop, Mae Yao's Shinanomachi branch bill themselves as a Thai diner. The rather basic menu offers a choice of just three curries, a stir-fry and a noodle soup, all better than average and prepared by...
Yotsuya Brewery - Belgian rest/beer bar: Yotsuya
[Open 5-11pm (LO) daily.]
No, despite the name this isn't a brewpub, simply a small neighborhood bar with a decent selection of Belgian beers on tap and by the bottle. Prices are around average, and opening hours are relatively late.
Vivo Daily Stand - Wine bar: Yotsuya
[Open 5pm-2am daily.]
The Vivo chain of casual wine bars offers good food and decent wines at budget-friendly prices, and the conveniently located Yotsuya branch is no exception. Ten daily wines by the glass start at around Y600, and most snacks are Y400 a pop, with no...
Suzuden - Liquor shop: Yotsuya
[Open 9am-9pm. Closed Sundays.]
A well-stocked sake specialty store; don't miss the refrigerated rooms down in the basement. There's also a stand-up bar in back with around a dozen sake by the glass along with simple, inexpensive bar food (weeknights only).
Paul - Cafe: Yotsuya
[Open 7:30am-9:30pm (LO) daily.]
Good pastries and plenty of outdoor seating.
Kissa Sakaiki - Jazz kissaten: Yotsuya 3-chome
[Open 3-11:30pm daily.]
By day it's a laid-back jazz coffeeshop, but in the evening it turns into a mini-jazz club, with a small performance and stage area that seats around fifteen people. The musical direction tends toward the avant-garde and experimental end of the...
Marumugi - Beer bar: Yotsuya 3-chome
[Open 5pm-1:30am (LO). Closed Tuesdays.]
A tiny (14-seat) second-floor bar specializing in craft beers from around Japan, with an ever-changing selection. The atmosphere is laid-back (there's a muted TV set along with loungey background music), and the crowd is very local. All beers are...
Incubator - Bar: Yotsuya 3-chome
[Open 6pm-2am. Closed Sundays.]
It's like a party in a chemistry lab every night at Science Bar Incubator. Drinks are served in beakers and erlenmeyer flasks, food is heated on wire-mesh stands over alcohol lamps, and customers can change into white lab coats for the duration of...
Un Cinq - Cafe: Akebonobashi
[Open 11:30am-7:30pm (LO). Closed Mondays, 3rd Sunday.]
Coffee from Y500. At lunchtime (until 2:30pm), the original chicken curry is Y850; Y100 extra for coffee. Closing time (last order) on weekends is 5:30pm.