Cafe Ageha (Omiya, Saitama-shi, Japan) – ★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality :   ★★★ – Good
  • Type: Omnivore (but very Vegan-Friendly)
  • Location: Omiya, Saitama (大宮市、埼玉県)
  • Hours: Lunch 11:00-16:00, Cafe 11:00-21:00, Dinner 17:30-21:30
  • Price: $$ – Average (about ¥1050 for lunch set, ¥1350 for dinner set)
  • Website: http://cafe-ageha.jp/
  • Language Barrier: There are English menus

About and Directions:

Café Ageha is located on the third floor of the Marui Building in Omiya, Saitama-ken (about a 40 minute journey from Shinjuku, Tokyo).  If you get the floor and find yourself surrounded by high heels and frilly clothing, don’t worry – the restaurants is actually located in the corner of a women’s apparel floor.  You should see signs pointing you towards “あげは.” These will lead you to the café.

Address, Train Access & Contact:

  • English Address: 330-9501, Marui Omiya Store 3F, 2 Chome-3 Sakuragi-cho, Omiya-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama-ken
  • Japanese Address: 〒330-9501埼玉県さいたま市大宮区桜木町2-3(JR大宮駅西口駅前 丸井大宮店3F)
  • Train Access: Omiya Station, West Exit (大宮駅、西口)
  • Phone Number: 048-642-0813

Google Map:

Cafe Ageha also has a map on their website.

Food Review:

First off, I want to note that Café Ageha is neither a vegan nor vegetarian restaurant.  They are more of a natural foods establishment, so it’s important to be clear that you are vegetarian when you order.  Most of the dishes are, in fact, entirely vegan, usually 3-4 out of the 5 sets they generally offer.  Make sure to state (preferably, in Japanese) what you can’t eat. The waitresses seem to understand what vegan and vegetarian are, but if they aren’t sure about a daily sets ingredients, they’re happy to run back and check for you.  I once asked if a curry had milk in it, and the waitress came back and said apologetically, “It doesn’t have milk, but it has coconut milk – Is that okay?”  So, yeah. They’re very thorough!  The desserts and drinks are less vegan friendly and typically contain milk or eggs, but they do offer a soy latte.  If you aren’t sure, all the desserts on the menu have small bubbles with kanji below them, which indicate which allergens they contain.  If you see 卵、it contains eggs.  If you see 牛乳, it has milk.

Anyways, the food at Cafe Ageha has emphasis on being fresh, clean, and healthy.  This definitely is not the place to go if you’re craving junk food.  The lunch sets are a great value, and ¥1050 generally gets you some combination of an entree, side of rice, soup, an array of delicious pickles, and side-salad.  My personal favorite is the vegetable curry, which has a coconut milk base and is rich enough to sate my desire for fatty foods.  However, I don’t think you can really go wrong with any of the sets – I’ve tried all of the vegan ones and all have been fantastic, filling, and well worth the price.

Steamed Veggie Set:

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Steamed Veggie Set

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Tsukemono (pickle side-dishes)

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Steamed Veggies

Curry Set:

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Curry Set

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Tsukemono (Pickle side-dishes)

Ratatouille Rice Set (crappy phone photo, sorry!):

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Ratatouille Rice Set

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Ratatouille Rice Dish

Atmosphere:

Café Ageha probably has the most comfortable and relaxed atmosphere of any of the restaurants I’ve visited so far in Japan.  While it has the same natural, minimal, somewhat French-countryside-inspired décor that many Vegetarian restaurants here have, it is significantly more spacious than an average restaurant.  If you have difficulty relaxing in more cozy spaces, this is probably your best bet for an enjoyable dining experience.  During peak lunch & dinner times it can get quite full, and you may need to wait in line for 15-20 minutes.  However, it tends to attract pairs of female shoppers or quiet couples, and overall the noise level is very low. And because the tables are spaced relatively far apart, even if it is full, you don’t have to worry about literally bumping elbows with the diners nearest you (which sometimes happens in more tightly-packed restaurants).

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