Lima Cafe – ★★★ (Shinjuku, Tokyo)

Quick Check:

  • Quality: ★★★ – Very Good
  • Type: All Vegan; Macrobiotic, Healthy, Take-out
  • Location: Shibuya-ku (between Shinjuku, Minami Shinjuku and Yoyogi Stations)
  • Price: $ – Inexpensive (Lunch Set around ¥750-¥900)
  • Hours: Mon-Sun 11 am – 7 pm (Last Order 6:30), No Holidays
  • Website: Restaurant Website, HappyCow Page
  • Menu: Click here
Chashu Don - ¥900

Chashu Don – ¥900

About, Location & Contact:

Lima Cafe is an all-vegan macrobiotic restaurant with Lima Health Store, located just 10 minutes from the South Exit of Shinjuku Station.  They have a small teishoku (set) menu, with 2-3 meal options, as well as some smaller a la carte items and macrobiotic desserts.  Lima Health Store also sells a lot of vegan items (although it isn’t a strictly vegan or vegetarian store), including energy bars, bento boxes and vegan ice cream.

Address & Contact:

  • English Address: Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 2-23-1, Japan, 151-0053 (NOTE: Even though it’s technically in Shibuya, it’s between Shinjuku Station and Yoyogi Station!)
  • Japanese Address: 〒151-0053 東京都渋谷区代々木2-23-1
  • Train Access: near Shinjuku Station, Minami Shinjuku Station, & JR Yoyogi Station
  • Phone Number: 03-6304-2005

Map:

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Restaurant Review:

Sadly, I went to Lima Cafe for the first time just a few weeks before I left Japan for good, so I only got to go twice.  I wish I’d known how good it was before!  For some reason I thought it was on the outskirts of Shinjuku so I just never bothered to go until some friends invited me.  I’m SO happy they introduced me to it!  The first time I went I got the Teriyaki Tsukune Burger set + drink set, for a total of ¥1050.  Although it was a burger, it didn’t taste like junk food – the burger was definitely more grains and veggies than processed soy, and while it was fried it wasn’t overly oily.  It was really soft and flavorful, although I don’t recall there being a strong teriyaki flavor.   Unfortunately since I was really hungry and with friends I didn’t take good notes on it, but just trust me, it was good.  Order it.

Teriyaki Tsukune Burger Set + Drink Set - ¥1050

Teriyaki Tsukune Burger Set + Drink Set – ¥1050

Teriyaki Tsukune Burger

Teriyaki Tsukune Burger

The second time I visited I got the Gluten Chashu Don (rice bowl)  (車麩チャーシュー丼) for ¥900 (I didn’t add the ¥150 drink this time).  It’s a lot like a Japanese donburi bowl, but with a Chinese-style arrangement.  It was incredible, even better than the burger!  It included a bed of rice topped with chunks of  moist gluten mock-meat (intended to take the place of boiled pork), green beans, carrots, something delicious and pickled (but I couldn’t place it), and garnished with stripes of daikon and  sprinkled sesame seeds.    The gluten was tender, juicy and rich (but without a pork-like flavor), and not crispy (not that crispy is bad, but a lot of mock-meats are breaded and fried, so a little variety is really refreshing!)

Chashu Don - ¥900

Chashu Don – ¥900

Close-up on that juicy gluten Chashu!

Close-up on that juicy gluten Chashu!

Lima Cafe also offers some onigiri, buns and other food that you can take to-go for very reasonable prices.  All of the main dishes on the menu can also be purchased for take-out for a reduced price as well (for example, the Chashu Don above is only ¥750 if you order it to-go).

To-Go Foods from Lima Cafe

To-Go Foods from Lima Cafe

Lima Cafe is attached to Lima Health Shop, a small health food store. Although the health food store isn’t entirely vegetarian/vegan, it offers a lot of vegan/vegetarian items, including energy bars, bento boxes (lunch boxes), and sweets.

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Takeout Lunches from Lima Health Shop (many are vegan)

The highlight (for me) was their enormous selection of vegan ice cream:  Chocolate, vanilla, rice, matcha (Japanese green tea), chai tea, milk tea, earl grey, cafe mocha, banana, blueberry, mango, and way way more. Not one to shy away from a challenge, I tried to eat as many flavors as I could.

First I got the banana, because banana ice cream is my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream.  A lot of banana ice creams and popsicles taste sort of strange.  But this one definitely passed the yummy-test – it tasted just like banana, and was really soft and creamy (although I had to let it thaw for a while after purchasing to get to the right softness).

Banana Soy Ice Cream - ¥410

Banana Soy Ice Cream – ¥410

The Cafe Mocha was great, with a perfect creamy texture and a strong but still very sweet coffee flavor.  I’m not generally a fan of coffee (I don’t like the bitterness), but they used just the right amount of sugar to balance out the coffee flavor.

Cafe Mocha Soy Ice Cream - ¥410

Cafe Mocha Soy Ice Cream – ¥410

The Chai was also really good, although it was perhaps more realistically chai flavored than I was expecting.  I thought it might be an over sweetened Thai-iced-tea style of ice cream, but instead it really tasted like sweetened by still very spiced black tea (it actually has cardamom and cinnamon mixed in).  It was really good, but don’t pick it if you’re going for something that’s really subtle.  Great for those who love Chai though!

Chai Soy Ice Cream - ¥410

Chai Soy Ice Cream – ¥410

The atmosphere is very bright, clean and “natural,” like most vegan restaurants in Japan.  It’s not particularly stylish and there isn’t a lot seating, which at lunch time means it can become crowded.  However, both times I visited I didn’t have any problems finding a seat.  You order at the front and pick up your food when they call your number, which may cause a little trouble for non-Japanese speakers, but the staff are really helpful so I’m sure if you missed them calling your order they’d get your attention.

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Overall, I really liked Lima Cafe and wish I’d come by sooner!  I’d still recommend Chaya Macrobiotic first if you’re in the Shinjuku area, but if you’re on more of a budget, looking for more Japanese-style offerings, or want a take-out lunch, this is the place for you!

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7 thoughts on “Lima Cafe – ★★★ (Shinjuku, Tokyo)

    • If you go to a regular restaurant, it definitely is difficult – dashi is in so many dishes, and often if you ask if a dish has fish in it, restaurants often don’t even think about dashi when answering. You often have to specifically ask about not just if something contains meat, but also specifically about fish, seafood, dashi and bonito flakes. To be quite honest, I typically chose to either only eat at vegetarian restaurants, or to only eat things where I could read the listed ingredients. On a few occasions I did eat out at regular restaurants and asked the waiters questions, but there’s always a risk that something is lost in translation or that they simply won’t think of certain ingredients (like shrimp paste or fish flakes or the like).

  1. Wow, I was just here for the first time recently (before seeing this post)!! I went after dark and I was starving so it took a while to find it..but it was really yummy! I almost got the burger, so I’ll have to try it next time! I had the daily plate, yum. I like the bentos available too–might grab one and hang out in Shinjuku Gyoen some time!

    Can’t believe I missed the ice cream too?! Nice review!

  2. Your blog is awesome! It’s really helping me sort out our(boyfriend and I) trip to Tokyo next year. I’m so glad I’m not going to starve ;).
    I’m really enjoying reading your blog, I’m writing down all the restaurants that you have suggested and trying to fit them into our very loose schedule.

  3. Pingback: Macrovenus & Pan-Yakibito – ★★★ | Bon Voyage Vegan

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