- 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
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
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.
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!)
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).
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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!