METROPOLIS | CLASSIFIEDS | PERSONALS | JOBS
FEATURE

Get out!

Fresco feasting at Off Fifth Avenue.

Fresco feasting at Off Fifth Avenue.

The rainy season is over and here comes the sun. If you can stand the heat of Tokyo's sticky summer (or if you can't stand the arctic confines of most air-conditioned eateries), the urban jungle conceals numerous places around town to eat al fresco. From street-side cafes to rooftop gardens and hidden terraces, the opportunities to refuel whilst soaking up some rays or chilling in the evening cool are everywhere - but as ever in this city, you really have to know where to go. Of course, once you do, there are really too many to count. Whether you're looking for the sedate calm of Connection, hidden away in the depths of Minami Aoyama, or the bustling social madness of Aux Bacchanales, Sam Johnson offers a few hideaways and some regular favorites where you can feast al fresco or sip your sun-downers soto de this summer.

AOYAMA

Connection
A quiet greenery-covered terrace (if you can find it) in an art/antique/gallery complex in Minami Aoyama, serving drinks and a small food menu of the soup or cake variety during the day with a larger menu at night. The food range is disappointing but the ivy-clad buildings make this spot almost unique. Probably best for some lengthy sun-downers rather than a spot to stop for a full meal.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 11:30am-midnight. Tel: 03-3479-3765. Address: 4-8-21 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku. From Aoyama-dori at Gaienmae take the street to the right of the Sumitomo Bank. Keep walking until JASMAC and turn left.

McDonald's
The Omotesando branch, next to Anniversaire, has street-side McParisian seating and at the Oval Plaza B1 branch, on Aoyama Dori, you can munch your nuggets next to waterfalls. And you have to admit, those shakes are damned fine.
Price:Y. Hours: 7am-10pm. Tel/Address: Get Real.

Palaka
Don't plan to go to Palaka if you are in a hurry - you will be late. A bar so relaxed you can't fail to leave your office tension behind you on its large deck, under the impressive palm tree. Good value lunch sets under JY1000 of main course (e.g. chicken coconut curry, chili dog), drink and a very kawaii sized dessert. Larger evening menu includes a Hawaiian selection.
Price:Y. Hours: 11am-11:30 Mon-Fri, 10am-9:30pm Sat-Sun. Tel: 03-3423-2288. Address: 3-42-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku.
Off Gaien Nishi Dori, opposite the Watarium Museum.

Selan
Part of the Kihachi chain, this up-market Italian has a beautiful, large terrace on the edge of the Meiji Outer Gardens, an open kitchen and stylish decor. Extensive menu of high quality pasta and pizzas and other less standard Italian dishes around the JY2000 mark, as well as lunch sets from JY1800 - JY5000.
Price:YYY. Hours: 11:30am-9:30pm daily. Tel: 03-3478-2200. Address: 2-1-19 Kita Aoyama.
On the tree-lined avenue running from Aoyama Dori into the Meiji Jingu Outer Gardens.

Un Cafe
Cheerful restaurant featuring California-style cuisine in a prime location behind UN University (get it?) with a wine list that won't break the bank. The food is much better in the evenings, though it's hard to beat an afternoon on the patio soaking up the sun - especially when they're doing one of their wine promotions.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 11:30am-11pm daily. Tel: 03-5469-0275. Address: 5-53-67 Jingumae. Behind the UN University.

Vision Network
This friendly-trendy restaurant complex has more than its fair share of open-air eateries. 1F Las Chicas has a large terrace, all-day food, cakes and drinks. 2F sometimes members' restaurant Tokyo Salon is usually accessible to Joe Public and has a new Japanese lunch menu which can be taken on the beautiful balcony. 3F Nude is an ultra-stylish semi-al fresco place, with an excellent organic food menu. Or if you can't be without the aircon, there are five new iMacs to use inside.
Price:Y-YYY Hours: Las Chicas 11am-11pm, Tokyo Salon 12pm-12am, Nude 12pm-late. Tel: 03-3407-5028. Address: 5-47-6 Jingumae. From Omotesando stn, walk down Aoyama Dori towards Shibuya and turn right between Muji and Citibank.

HARAJUKU

Aux Bacchanales
The ultimate see-and-be-seen spot in all Tokyo. With outdoor seating spilling out onto the street along one of the busiest parts of Meiji Dori, tasty food (omelets, steak frites, salads) and Kronenbourg all day long, what more can you ask for? Speedy service perhaps - but hey, you can't have everything.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 10am-10pm (last order) Mon-Sat, 10am-9pm Sun. Tel: 03-3582-2225 Address: Jingumae, where Takeshita Dori hits Meiji Dori. Impossible to miss.

Fujimamas
Tip-top "fusion" restaurant with generous servings, super staff, a rotating menu to die for. Thai Caesar salad, duck and sweet potato curry and miso-marinated salmon are some of the dishes that can be eaten on the open-fronted veranda or the second floor balcony. The lunch options are particularly good value.
Price:Y-YY Hours: 11am-11pm daily. Tel: 03-5485-2262. Address: 6-3-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Turn off Omotesando next to Swatch.

Ristorante Lucia
Very large Italian restaurant with an airy terrace under a huge canopy, giving it a semi-fresco feel - fresh but shady. Yet another Italian restaurant with yet another pretty good menu, but for all the decent food (lunch sets from JY1600-JY3000, dinner sets JY4000-JY6000), smiley waitresses and the mother of all canopies, this place needs a serious vibe injection. Nevertheless, a nice place to refuel over an espresso.
Price:YYY. Hours: 11:30am-9:30pm daily. Tel: 03-5413-2733. Address: 1-10-9 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku. Turn off Takeshita Dori opposite 7-Eleven and walk up the slope.

SHIBUYA

Gab
Behind Beam, Gab is a hip Shibuya cafe - young staff and modern decor, including a couple of comfy sofas, although there are only three tables on the terrace. The menu is extensive, the food well presented and tasty and the coffee excellent, although the beer is pricey.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 10am-2pm Mon-Thu, 10am-4am Fri-Sat, 10am-midnight Sun. Tel: 03-3770-1345. Address: 13-2 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku. Opposite Nature Trail.

Garden Cafe
On 9F of the Marui City depaato, the Garden Caf' roof. Wooden deck and potted plants make this a little oasis above the Shibuya mayhem, but the food can often be disappointing.
Price:Y. Hours: 11am-8pm daily. Tel: 03-3464-0101. Address: 1-21-3 Marui City 9F, Jinnan. Where Koen Dori meets Tower Records Dori.

Nature Trail
Opposite Gab, Nature Trail has a large railed-in patio with wooden garden furniture where you are sheltered from the Shibuya madness, yet can still feel the urban vibe. The extensive Italian menu and coffee are nothing to write home about, and the railings make it a little unfriendly, but it is a good, airy spot nonetheless, with space unparalleled in Shibuya.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 11am-11pm daily. Tel: 03-3462-7715. Address: 34-1 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku. From Seibu department store, walk up Inokashira Dori and fork left at the koban.

EBISU and DAIKANYAMA

Great Appetizers
The "big orange ball" restaurant next to Ebisu Garden Place has an excellent urban feeling to its bustling terrace, superb olives, friendly staff and a large, eclectic "fusion" menu. Top notch.
Price:YY. Hours: 5:30pm-2am Mon-Thu, 5:30pm-4am Fri-Sat and 5:30-11pm Sun and holidays.Tel: 03-5724-6105. Address: 1-25-1 Ebisu Minami, Shibuya-ku. Big orange ball at the end of the Ebisu Skywalk, next to Garden Place.

Good Honest Grub
Excellent, friendly little eatery with small street-side terrace, run and owned by Canadian chef Don Foley. Colorful decor and the closeness of the kitchen where Don cooks up some seriously delicious food, with a reputation for freshness, make this a really fun place. Excellent Caesar salads, pita sandwiches, daily specials, fresh juices and a takeout menu too.
Price:Y-YY Hours: 11am-11pm Sun-Wed, 10:30am-2am Thu-Sat. Tel: 03-3710-0400. Address: 1-11-11 Ebisu-Minami, Shibuya-ku.

ROPPONGI and HIROO

Cafe Daisy
The Terrace outside this excellenct Danish restaurant is a little hide-away of Scandinavian calm. The food is superb and the terrace is open all day for drinks and snacks. Menu includes sauteed wild mushroom salad, vegetable and bacon soup, roast chicken, meat and fish platter and garlic mushroom toast. Fine wines and mouth-watering Giraf beer.
Price:YY-YYY Hours: 11:30am-11:30pm daily. Tel: 03-5411-0253. Address: 7-3-22 Roppongi. Turn west off Gaien Higashi Dori opposite the Defense Agency, next to the Idemitsu Gas Station and right after the Indian Ganga restaurant.

Il Pinolo
Main attraction here is the exquisite Tuscan dishes (seafood ravioli in broccoli sauce JY1800, coconut flavored pancetta with caramel sauce JY900), and the night view of Tokyo Tower soaring overhead. Menu changes four times a year according to the season.
Price:YY-YYY. Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30-10:30pm Mon-Sat. Tel: 03-3505-6860. Address: 1-8-7 Higashi Azabu, Heiwado Bldg. B1, Minato-ku.

Lau Ling
The swanky bar above the Hong Kong Garden restaurant is a hangout for middle-aged Japanese stars and has a beautiful, stylish balcony where you can order excellent Chinese food from the neighboring Azabu-Geihinrou restaurant (scallop dumplings, sauteed crab, Hong Kong style udon, etc.) whilst sipping Tsingdao. Not over-priced, considering.
Price:YY-YYY. Hours: 5:30pm-11:30pm daily. Tel: 03-5467-8860. Address: 4-5-2 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku. Halfway between Hiroo stn and Nishi Azabu crossing.

Off 5th Avenue
Stylish American-style cafe has an airy terrace (somewhat reminiscent of a parking lot) and an adventurous menu, a mixture of Western and Japanese cuisine (beef tongue, walnuts and grated daikon; sauteed foie gras and Japanese yam with fig sauce). Set menus JY1500-JY2800. Lunch menus JY1000-JY2500.
Price:Y-YYY. Hours: 11:30am-10pm daily. Tel: 03-3280-5658. Address: 5-4-5 Minami Azabu, Minato-ku. At the top of the hill past the National Azabu Supermarket from Hiroo stn.

SHINJUKU

Bravo
This is a popular little place with a good food menu, friendly staff, and an outside deck open until 7pm (if you can handle the noise from the JR tracks. Good Italian fare at reasonable prices.
Price:YY. Hours: 10:30am-10:30pm Mon-Fri, 11am-10:30pm Sat-Sun. Tel: 03-3373-6311. Address: 2-2-2 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku. Shinjuku Southern Terrace, south of Starbucks.

Takashimaya
The thirteenth floor of the Takashimaya Department Store is home to several restaurants with outdoor seating areas. Considering the potential views from this location they are a disappointing bunch. The best appears to be Restaurant Fresco, which serves standard Italian fare at good prices. The other places seem to be "mustard, corn, and fish bits pizza" places or similarly bastardized steak restaurants. The best bet would be to bring your own bento and picnic to the twelfth floor terrace, which is generally nicer than the floor above.
Price:Y-YY. Hours: 11am-10pm daily. Tel: 03-5361-3386. Address: Takashimaya Department Store 13F, 5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku.

KICHIJOJI

Primi Baci
In a prime location overlooking Inokashira Park, Primi Baci ("first kiss") is a beautiful restaurant serving equally well presented and exquisite Italian fare. Friendly, attentive staff and a good wine selection make this one of Tokyo's not-to-be-missed gems.
Price:YY-YYY. Hours: 11:30am-10pm daily. Tel: 0422-72-8202. Address: 1-21-1 Kichijoji Minamicho, Inokashira Parkside Bldg 2F, Musashino-shi.

OCHANOMIZU

Winds
A lovely, spacious interior leads to a charming, tree-shaded patio. The food is good no matter the location. Well-executed and creative California cuisine with a decent selection of wines and - hallelujah! - oysters imported from New Zealand served all year Ôround.
Price:YY. Hours: 10:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm. Tel: 03-3219-0633. Address: 1-7-4 Kanda-Surugadai, Chiyoda-ku.

SHINAGAWA

Docksiders dining at T.Y. Harbor Brewery.

Docksiders dining at T.Y. Harbor Brewery.

T.Y. Harbor Brewery
First, there is the location: on the waterfront down in Shinagawa, overlooking the cruise boats. Good on any day, but when the sun comes out the whole place comes alive. Second, there's the food: good pizza/pasta fare to fill you up. Third, there's the micro-brewery, with a great selection of home-brews as well as regularly changing experiments from the brewer. Try the small four ale taster sets to get your full T.Y. experience.
Price:YY. Hours: 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm. Weekend brunch, 11:30am-5:30pm. Tel: 03-5479-4555. Address: Bond St., 22-1-3 Higashi Shinagawa, Shinagawa-ku.

FEATURES:
299: Pokemania
Pikachu conquers the world by stealth and cuteness
298: Snow time like the present
When, where and how to get your share of the white stuff this winter
297: Helping Hands
The spirit of giving through volunteering
296: Stop the Music
Tokyo's nightclubs under attack
295: Just Do It!
Staying in shape in the city
294: 2 can play that game
The next generation of games consoles
293: Vegging out in Tokyo
Some of Tokyo's meatless oases
292: Multiplicity
The belated arrival of the multiplex
291: After a Fashion
Zita Ohe walks through Tokyo's fall/winter fashions
290: Used and Abused
Second-hand shops in the city
289: Microbrew - a mini guide
Tour the best of Tokyo's independent suds makers
288: The Delusions of a Kabuki Addict
Visit Ginza's Kabuki-za
287: Live and Learn
Studying traditional culture in Tokyo
286: Are you quaking?
Preparing for the big one
285: Sagawa Kyubin guys
Faces behind the takkyubin phenomenon
284: South Park
Christian Storms, creative producer and transwriter of the Japanese South Park
283: A saner Tokyo
Counselling and healing options for Japan's foreign community
282: Trainspotting
The Yamanote Line trivia quiz
281: The Lost World
Graham Hancock, inventor of a new genre of history mystery investigation
Graham Hancock: Transcript
280: Body of Art
Working out with traditional Japanese arts to work out
279: Open all hours
Japanese convenience stores
278: The Rice Stuff
A guide to sake
277: Get out!
Feasting al fresco in the summer
276: The Empire Strikes Big
The force behind Star Wars
275: Don't worry be happy!
A definitive guide to Tokyo's drinking deals
274: Off the hook
Tokyo's Central Wholesale Market
273: Books
Donald Richie, worldwide authority on Japan and Japanese culture
272: What's up pussy cat?
Hello Kitty turns twenty-five
271: Moving mountains for Freedom
The Tibetan Freedom Festival
270: So you think you're safe?
Women's safety in Tokyo
269: Are these the droids you're looking for?
Japan's new robot army
268: From beast to beauty
Catering to the beauty needs of foreigners
267: Perfect TV
Exploring Japanese TV
266: Let's do talk
The portable phenomenon of keitai
265: Get ready to rock!
The third annual Fuju Rock Festival
264: Kichijoji uncovered
A delightfully different day out
263: Tour Japan one bite at a time
The eleventh annual Furusato Fair
262: Golden getaways
Get you out of town this Golden Week
261: Millennium fudge
Can Tokyo survive the Millennium bug?
260: Ueno Park
A walk in the low city
259: Stressed to kill
Lifethreatening stress in Tokyo
258: Oodles of noodles
A day in a life of a local ramen shop
257: Off the shelf
Tokyo city libraries
256: Lord of light
Tokyo Classifieds founder Mark Devlin
255: Are you game
Indoor sports to get your blood on the boil
254: Eat your heart out
Valentine's Day in Japan
253: The way of wagashi
A friendly face in Japanese cooking
252: Face to face with Harajuku
Yoyogi Park street culture
251: What a grind!
In search of the perfect cup of coffee
250: The year of the rabbit
Chinese astrological signs

ISSUES 350+
ISSUES 349-
ISSUES 249-

Also check MINI FEATURES