Based on the previous reviews on Happy Cow I decided to eat at Roran restaurant. When I asked the help in my hotel for directions they were somewhat surprised: go outside, cross the road and you're there. Why bother us with such a trivial question? It turns out Roran restaurant is right across the taxi/bus entrance of the Ikebukuro Metropolitan hotel. Isn't that convenient?
A word of warning: the name "Roran" is only written in Chinese characters on the building itself. So study the picture on this website well before you search for this restaurant.
On the day of my visit the clientele consisted of two kinds of guests. The big round tables were filled with cheerful, elderly Japanese people. It looked like they couldn't care less about animal welfare. The smaller tables were occupied by tourists seeking vegetarian food and locals knowing this is the best place in this neighbourhood for vegetarian food.
The waitress was short and snappy. She didn't speak a word of English and simply slammed the menu in front of me, flipped it to the green pages and indicated I should choose from those. The menu is in both English and Japanese and clearly explained that whenever "shrimp", "chicken" or "pork" was mentioned it was actually tofu. I opted for the mapo tofu with a side dish of spring rolls. Both were pretty good, although I could tell the ingredients used were not of top quality. Don't expect macrobiotics or super fresh vegetables. While not the healthiest choice in town, the spices were spot on making it a delicious meal indeed.
And... since this isn't exactly a classy place prices are rather modest. Despite the snappy service I'd certainly eat here again.Pros: cheap, easy to find, tasteful
Cons: no top quality ingredients, snappish service, not a classy place