I am not vegetarian but I don’t go to Kobachi-ya because I am vegetarian. The reason I go to Kobachi-ya is because the food is great, period.
As a Tokyo resident, the options around me are endless, yet I keep coming back to this place. Sometimes I wonder why but I think it is because the food is so pure and the casual style makes me comfortable. Yuriko-san, the owner is a fun character. This is Japanese food at its best. Just having a simple salad there makes me happy. Everything is so pure and fresh.
I cannot comment on lunches at Kobachi-ya because I cannot leave my desk to go out for lunch. I know they have a “Lunch Plate” but just eating the lunch plate and thinking you have experienced Kobachi-ya would be a shame. I really think you have to go there for dinner.
When having dinner, my suggestion is to tell the owner “omakase”, which means, “I leave it up to you”. She will usually explain what she plans to serve so you can always opt out of what you don’t like.
If you want to be on the safe side, give her your budget. Even if you don’t, it will be reasonable. In my case, the bill ends up being about 4,000-5,000 yen (excluding drinks) which in Tokyo is very reasonable considering the good organic vegetables she uses.
For people who like a more structured meal, there is the “Ichi-ju San-sai” which means “one soup and three small dishes” but frankly I just go for the omakase.
One secret that very few people know is that Kobachi-ya has great sake (Japanese rice wine). The owner purchases it directly from the sake maker (Terada-ya) in Chiba. This is really, really good sake (believe me, I am a salesperson who has entertained a lot over the years). The owner also does annual trips with customers to visit the sake maker.
With the good food and good sake, even if I over eat a little, by the time I go home I am feeling good.
I think it is always better to make reservations. Not so much because it gets busy during the evening, but the owner holds cooking classes and you would not want to go there and not be able to get in.
The owner does not speak English much but she makes up for her language with great hospitality.
Cons: Limited lunch options