Finding Vegetarian Food at Macrobiotic Restaurants

The macriobiotic diet in Japan seems to be quite popular these days – Wiki refers to this diet as one “which involves eating grains as a staple food supplemented with other foodstuffs such as local vegetables avoiding the use of highly processed or refined foods and most animal products”. I would consider this to be fairly in line with what I aspire to (except for the animal products, of course). These macrobiotic restaurants were everywhere, although it was difficult to find the ones that didn’t use dashi or other seafood products in their menu. We did end up finding two restaurants that worked out perfectly for us and luckily they were easy enough to find as they were in buildings that were easy landmarks (anyone who has visited Tokyo can attest to how difficult it is to find a specific street address intentionally).

The first restaurant we ate at was on the top floor of the Isetan Department Store in Shinjuku called Chaya (conveniently the name of my favourite Japanese restaurant in San Francisco/Berkeley).  The food was so flavourful and delicately prepared and served.

Croquette with roasted vegetables
Curry with brown rice
Main dish

The meal included a cup of fresh mint tea at the end that was so refreshing – I always have so much mint growing in the garden and not quite sure why I’ve never thought of finishing up a meal with a cup of this tea myself.

The second restaurant we tried was by the Tokyo Imperial grounds near Tokyo Station.  It was recommended to us by a friend and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to try it out.  The restaurant was called Kushi Garden and was right by the Takebashi subway station – the Imperial garden stroll exit practically drops you off right outside the restaurant.

The portions seemed small at first, but the entire meal was so satisfying.  I think my favourite part was the cake that was provided as part of the set meal – it was so delicious (and Vegan!).  You can see it in the picture below in the bottom right corner.

Options selected from the prepared foods bar
Second Dessert 🙂 - Matcha mousse with red beans
Vegan Ice Cream Sandwich
Fully vegan dessert case - had to make some tough decisions!

It took a little bit of extra effort to do some research of restaurant options, but we’re glad we did – we had the opportunity to try such delicious food as a result.

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