Posted on 05 / 04 / 2013
I was visiting Nikko for the first time in March 2013, and this restaurant was recommended by the Hostel owners when I was emailing before my trip started. I emailed Yasai Cafe Meguri to make a reservation and didn't hear back, but when I arrived at my Hostel, the owners said they contacted the Cafe and a reservation would be ok. They drove me there and spoke to the owner. I am so glad I booked, as it was all sold out for the day and I would have missed out on this amazing meal.
The Cafe is on the main road in Nikko and although it doesn't look like a Cafe, it is pretty distinctive on the road! It's on the left hand side if you're walking away from the World Heritage Site towards the train stations.
There are only a few tables, I think they make around 10 meals a day, and it was fully booked this Friday lunchtime with everyone arriving shortly after I arrived, all sat and waiting by 12pm. There is one meal on the menu and you can choose to have it with or without tea and cake. I chose with! The service took a little while, especially those who arrived last (still only 5 minutes after I arrived) as it was only the owner and his wife doing all the preparation. It was so worth the wait, though, as the food was the best I ate on that whole trip in Japan.
My course consisted of tempura tofu in the most incredible creamy sauce, with a white cabbage soup (amazing!), some potato in a sticky sauce with black sesame seeds and sweet potato in a different sauce. it was accompanied by brown rice and bean shoot salad. Dessert was a tofu cheesecake and tea. The food was delicate, full of flavour and love and of a Michelin standard. The portions were not enormous, but it wasn't about quantity, simply quality.
The other 7 guests that day were all Japanese, and many others came to get a table only to be turned away. Please do book well in advance as it is popular, and my Hostel hosts said it is the best restaurant in Nikko, vegan or otherwise.
The owners were very polite and spoke a little English. They also sold a few natural products and foods at the entrance.
The building is so beautiful and a peaceful atmosphere. Needless to say I cannot wait to return to Nikko to visit the amazingly scenic sites and eat at Yasai Cafe Meguri again.
Amazing quality food, Beautiful setting, Inventive and special cooking
Must book!, Only serve lunch