Chien-Fu (Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo) – ★★★

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★ – Good
  • Type: All Vegetarian (vegan friendly); Taiwanese, Chinese
  • Location: Near Roppongi Station, Minato-ku, Tokyo
  • Hours: Open Mon-Sun, 11am-2pm, 4:30-9:30pm.
  • Price: $$-$$$ – Average  to Slightly Expensive (about ¥1000 for a main dish at Lunch, more expensive at dinner)
  • Website: Restaurant Website, HappyCow Page
Tofu in Black Soybean Sauce - ¥930

Tofu in Black Soybean Sauce – ¥930

Location, Directions & Contact:

Address:

  • English: 3-1-22 Nishi Azabu 4F, Minato-ku (SAI building), Tokyo, Japan 106-0031
  • Japanese: 〒106-0031 東京都港区西麻布3-1-22, SAI BUILDING4F
  • Phone Number: 03-6438-9128

Directions:

From Roppongi Station’s Hibiya Line*, walk towards  Exit 1C, which will take you to an underground shopping area at he base of Roppongi Hills.

(*The Hibiya Line isn’t the only line that runs through Roppongi Station, but unfortunately I’m not sure which exit is best for other lines.  Please use the map in that case.)

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You’ll see this structure above you, but don’t go up the escalator!  Keep walking past it to the right.

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Keepin walking straight, and then go up the furthest staircase, shown here:

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When you exit, turn left and walk straight for about 3-5 minutes. It will be on your left (using the map below will help).  The restaurant is inside the SAI Building, on the 4th floor, so you’ll have to take the lift up to the restaurant.

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Google Map:

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Restaurant Review:

Chien-Fu is a Taiwanese restaurant with two locations in Tokyo: Kunitachi and Roppongi.  I went the second location, in Roppongi. Chien-fu serves all vegetarian Taiwanese / Chinese food, so even though many of the dishes on the menu say “pork” or “chicken,” don’t fear – it’s all mock meat.  However, not everything on the menu is vegan – look for little stickers next to the menu items. Blue means it contains milk, and yellow means it contains egg!  If you’re worried about honey, it would probably be good to ask – it seems that some places don’t take it into account even if they mark dairy and egg.  When I ordered I didn’t ask, but I regret that now that I’ve realized how many vegetarian restaurants don’t take it into account.

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Yellow dots mean “contains egg,” and Blue dots mean “contains milk”

The lunch menu was massive, and most of it was vegan, so it took me forever to choose what I wanted.  They had several inexpensive lunch sets in addition to a lot of a la carte items. I finally ordered the Tofu in Black Bean Soy Sauce (¥930) and the  and a side-order of 5 Grilled Dumplings (¥580), and a side of white rice (it was extra, but I can’t remember how much it was).

Meal at Chien-Fu

Meal at Chien-Fu

The  Tofu in Black Bean Soy Sauce with rice was absolutely delicious – I’ve had a lot of Chinese food in my time (and a lot of Taiwanese food specifically), but this was one of the most perfectly delicious stir-fires I’ve had.  It wasn’t too oily, and the sauce was neither to salty nor two sweet – it really was just right.  And the combination of vegetables was a refreshing change, too: it included green pepper, baby corn, tofu, hearts of palm, mushrooms, and celery, most of which I don’t eat much of in Japan.

Tofu in Black Soybean Sauce - ¥930

Tofu in Black Soybean Sauce – ¥930

Tofu in Black Bean Soy Sauce Close-Up

Tofu in Black Bean Soy Sauce Close-Up

The Grilled Dumplings (¥580) were a bit less impressive – not that they were bad by any means, but compared to the stir-fried vegetables, they just weren’t that flavorful.  they were also filled with veggies, but the sauce was nothing to rave about and since I ordered them grilled and not fried, they just paled in comparison to the main dish.  I did see other reviews on Happy Cow complaining that some dishes were bland, so this may be a consistent quality issue.  However, there’s also fried dumplings on the menu, so if you’re really in the mood for pot stickers, those might be a better option.

Grilled Dumplings - ¥580

Grilled Dumplings – ¥580

Grilled Dumplings Close-Up

Grilled Dumplings Close-Up

The atmosphere is quite formal – the tables are covered in white tablecloths, chandeliers decorate the ceiling, and the chairs are all upholstered in heavy fabric. Even the waiter is decked out in a suit.  At night the restaurant serves large set courses that can be quite expensive – I haven’t visited during dinner, but from reviews I’ve read online, the courses seem to run around ¥3500 yen, which might explain the formal atmosphere.

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Oddly enough, though, when I visited at lunch the music choice was entirely 90’s American pop music – which I’m sure might be very pleasing to some people, but it’s definitely not my music genre of choice, and it clashed strangely with the elegant atmosphere.  Maybe they throw on the radio during lunch time to bring down the formality, but it still seemed an odd choice.

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The service was good and the server was really kind – he asked me a few questions in both Japanese and English about where I was from and what I was doing in Japan, and seemed genuinely warm and friendly.  My dumplings were a little slow to prepare, but that’s reasonable since they had to be both prepped and grilled.

Overall, I’d rate it good, but with some reservations:  the stir fry was incredible, the dumplings so-so, the service friendly and the atmosphere a bit confusing but not necessarily bad.  I definitely want to go again at some point!

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