Tokyo is well-known as a destination to find amazingly fresh sushi and tasty bowls of ramen. But what if you’re just plain tired of sushi and ramen and craving a western breakfast? What if you just want some eggs and pancakes? Given the strong gastronomic culture in Tokyo with the numerous Michelin-rated restaurants, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of mouth-watering western breakfast establishments in Tokyo. In fact, a quickly growing brunch craze has taken over many of Tokyo’s neighborhoods. Lines snake through back alleys and wind around the block at all hours of the day as hungry patrons await their turn to sink their teeth into a light fluffy pancake.
Red velvet pancakes. Kalua pork eggs benedict. Hawaiian ham steak. If that sounds mouth-watering to you, then a visit to Cinnamon’s is a must. Cinnamon’s is a popular Hawaiian restaurant that was awarded the Hale Aina prize for best breakfast by Honolulu magazine two years in a row. Between mouthfuls of the red velvet pancakes why not also try some common Hawaiian dishes like Locomoco or Poke? Situated in an unassuming side street, you will need to look for the green holiday lights to find Cinnamon’s.
- Website: www.cinnamonstokyo.com
- Address: B1F, 5-13-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There: Meiji-jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines), exit 4
Currently the only restaurant in Japan serving organic and free-range eggs, Eggcellent serves up a truly excellent breakfast menu. You can get your standard scrambled eggs, eggs benedicts, and pancakes. But if you’re looking for something a little different, try the A.M. Eggcellent Benedict—organic eggs, avocado, maguro, and rencon chips served on top of sushi rice instead of an English muffin. There’s even a Half & Half Benedict option if you want to play it a little safe—you get half of an Original Benedict and half of an A.M. Eggcellent Benedict. Wash it all down with a cup of the Senbonmatsu Farm’s Milk Coffee. And if you still have room, the Granola Pancakes are an absolute must. Three fluffy pancakes topped off with home-made yogurt and granola. The bonus: Eggcellent is one of few breakfast restaurants that are open early.
- Website: eggcellent.co.jp
- Address: 6-4-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo Hollywood Beauty Plaza 1F
- Getting There: Roppongi Station (Hibiya, Toei Subway Oedo lines), exit 3
Voted for “Best Brunch/Breakfast” by Time Out NY and “Best Pancakes” by New York Magazine, this New York based baking company and restaurant is infamous for the fluffy, moist blueberry pancakes. If you fancy something other than pancakes, the menu also includes everything from shrimp & grits, smoked salmon eggs benedict, and chicken & waffles. Clinton Street Baking Company also boasts weekly specials on their chalkboard. I had the luck of trying the spicy shrimp eggs benedict off their specials menu—a poached egg, tomato and avocado served on top of a crispy buttermilk biscuit and topped with Cajun flavored shrimp. Go early or be ready to stand in the line that typically wraps around the block.
- Website: clintonstreetbaking.co.jp
- Address: 5-17-1, Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There: Omotesando station
Another Hawaiian import, Café Kaila is well-known for their beautifully plated, fruit-laden pancakes. And when I say “fruit-laden” I mean covered in fruit to the point where you can barely see the pancakes beneath. If it’s your first time, the Kaila pancakes are a must-try. Deliciously fluffy and served with whipped cream, maple syrup then topped off with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas. The portions are generous and extremely filling. Alternatively, there is also a Kaila waffle and Kaila French toast version of the Kaila pancakes. The Apple & Cream Cheese is also quite decadent. If you prefer something savoury, Café Kaila’s also offers everything from scrambled eggs and omlettes to breakfast wraps. Located on the lower floor of the building where Chanel, BVLGARI, and MOMA are, be prepared to wait for an hour or two in a line that winds out of the restaurant and up the stairs.
- Website: www.cafe-kaila.com
- Address: B1F Gyre, 5-10-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There: Meiji-Jingumae Station (Chiyoda, Fukutoshin lines), Omotesando Station (Ginza, Hanzomon, Chiyoda lines)
Served only during weekend brunch, the eggs benedict at Lauderdale is not your average eggs benedict.
The three flavor combinations available include the Corned Beef and Vegetable; Bacon & Salmon; and Shrimp, Avocado & Vege-cheese. But eggs benedict and pancakes are abundant all over the breakfast spots in Tokyo. What makes Lauderdale unique are the Hot-Out-of-Oven Souffles that are perfectly made. Super light in texture, and super packed with flavor. The souffles come in unique flavors ranging from banana pepper to orange bergamot tea. My personal favorite: the apple & cinnamon.
- Website: www.lauderdale.co.jp
- Address: 1F Keyakizaka Terrace, Roppongi Hills, 6-15-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There: Roppongi Station (Hibiya, Oedo lines)
The Breakfast Queen of New York, Sarabeth Levine, first opened a store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 1981. Since then, Sarabeth’s has won numerous accolades and now her American classics can be had in Tokyo. Among the favorites includes the classic ‘Fat and Fluffy’ French Toast, Sarabeth’s Velvety Cream of Tomato Soup, and the Lemon and Ricotta Pancakes—a pancake offering a delicate balance of both the sweet and citrus taste of a lemon.
- Website: www.sarabethsrestaurants.jp
- Address: 2F Shinjuku Lumine 2, 3-38-2 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
- Getting There: Shinjuku Station (Yamanote, Chuo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Marunouchi, Odakyu, Keio lines)