The Perfect Tokyo Date Night
If you are on the hunt for the perfect, romantic date night in Tokyo, you are not alone! I am always looking for a cozy place with vegan options to head out on the town for. Of course, basically anywhere can be made a date spot with the right partner, but this compiled list tends to be a little more high end with the kind of atmosphere I would want for a romantic night out. These are the places I would definitely recommend if you are looking to celebrate an anniversary or a birthday, or just want to have a little more fancy of a date night!
Gentle is an Italian-French-Japanese inspired restaurant tucked away on the up-scale backstreets of Omotesando. I went here recently for my anniversary, and it was simply stunning. From the decor to the service and the food, I was truly blown away. For two people, it is recommended by staff that you get three appetizers to share, two mains, and a dessert. They bring out the appetizer cart so you can choose, and I would say about 75% of the items are vegan. We chose the arancini, garlic bread, and meatballs. I was so excited to be reunited with my beloved, arancini! For the mains, we split the vegan fried chicken–this is a MUST–and the cheesy pasta. Also, my boyfriend and I each had two cocktails (martini for me, mojito for him). The owner came out and we talked for a while and it was wonderful to see where he draws his passion for making delicious, plant-based cuisine. All in all, a terrific meal and very well priced at around $100 for both of us!
The Pig & Lady
The Pig & Lady is a new, Vietnamese restaurant that opened in the popular neighborhood of Ebisu. The atmosphere is vibrant and fun here, and the food is extremely tasty. I ordered the veggie pho and spring rolls. The spring rolls were crunchy and had lots of different flavors, and the pho was fragrant and flavorful. I really liked this place, but it is quite expensive especially because there is a table charge for dinner. When you go from $1 Banh mi’s in Vietnam, it is a huge jump to $15 pho. But, obviously, this is Japan and Japan prices, so I was expecting it to be higher. Overall, good quality of food and a nice atmosphere make it a top-notch date spot.
French Bar Saint Pierre
French Bar Saint Pierre is one of the many French restaurants located in the area around Ningyocho. It is not touristy at all, but it has lots of tiny streets and cutie little bars and restaurants. I only know of this particular place because the head chef is my boyfriend’s good friend. The first time we decided to come here not for a friend’s party was for Valentine’s Day three years ago. My boyfriend called ahead and asked if he would be willing to make a vegan menu for me, and did he deliver! Not only did he design a fully vegan menu, but he was so excited to try out new recipes and dishes and experiment with veganism. He actually ended up adding some of the dishes to his normal menu! So ever since this dinner, we try to come here a few times a year for a vegan five-course meal.
Each time we have gone, the head chef has prepared a new and outrageously delicious line-up. The catch: you definitely have to call a week ahead of time to ensure he is prepared to make the French-inspired vegan meal. Just for an example, here is what we were served just a few weeks ago: flatbread with caramelized onion and olive, soy milk cream pasta with ume and broccoli, crispy fried tofu with spicy cumin tomato sauce, lotus patties in balsamic vinegar and mushroom sauce, a huge gorgeous salad with homemade dressing, and ratatouille bruschetta. It was a knock out dinner, and I cannot wait to see what else he comes up with! Also, the space is very cozy and darkly lit, so ideal for some romance (o lala).
Daigo is a shojin ryori (Buddhist temple food) restaurant located in Roppongi. This lovely, authentic Japanese experience uses only plant-based foods, but it does use katsuodashi (fish stock) as a seasoning, so be sure to tell them when you make your reservation that you are a vegan and do not consume fish products. It is in a traditional Japanese setting, and it serves 15 small courses of Buddhist cuisine. It is pretty expensive, but worth it as a celebratory dinner for something!
Newport is a refreshing, quaint restaurant located in the stylish neighborhood of Yoyogi-koen. It is quite small, but they make great use of the space (check out where they store the coats!) and it is brilliantly decorated. It is a completely vegetarian restaurant, so beware some dishes have cheese and butter but most of the menu is vegan. I can wholeheartedly recommend the vegan lasagna and their mushroom pizza.
Most restaurants in Japan require reservations, and especially these listed above. You probably would not be able to get a table without a reservation before, especially French Bar Saint Pierre and Daigo which require reservations. So please be sure to call ahead and say that you are vegan!
Have you been to any of these before? What is your favorite date-night spot in Tokyo? Please share your thoughts and comments! Happy eating! 🙂