Reviews make the world go round

Food in Kobe

Modernark

All vegetarian, mostly vegan, but many non-vegan desserts and drinks. Well labelled on the menu.

I went here twice, once with a fairly big group of carnivores who were reasonably impressed or at least polite about it. It's open late which is a plus, has a nice atmosphere, and free wifi (you have to ask for the password, when I was there it was 88888888). They also sell some organic groceries, vegan cookies, etc.

Food was delicious and portion sizes were reasonable. I tried the vegetarian plate (a selection of things), teriyaka wrap (contains wheat gluten and salad), and a curry and rice bowl. All dishes come with salads and soups. I also had a vegan lassi which was an unusual (but delicious) raspberry flavour, and coconut 'tiramisu' cake, which wasn't really like tiramisu, but was delicious anyway.

Pricey in general, but average for the area.

Vegetarian plate and teriyaki wrap Curry Coconut tiramisu

Natural House Food Court

Tried to go here twice. The first time, though HappyCow says it's open until 2000, they told me they close at 1600. The grocery store part is open later, just not the restaurant. The second time I got there at about 1430 and they told me they'd sold out of curry. Oh well. Picked up some snacks from the store instead, which is extensive and healthy organic produce, though not cheap.

Pink Weed

All vegan, and proud.

Loved this place, but maybe by this point the lack of options in Kobe was wearing on me. It's frustrating that it's only open for lunchtime. There's no wifi, but comfy seating and graphic novels and books to read. I went twice anyway and got a different lunch set each time. The curry was excellent, and more filling than it looked. The sandwich was interesting, I'm not sure what was in it, but it did the job. Accompanying salads and soups were great. I tried cheesecake and poundcake, and chai and iced black tea. Again, pricey in general but normal for this kind of place.

It's also about a 15 minute walk from Sannomiya station, which is handy. Follow the trainline west (mountains on your right) until you reach the next station, then it's off a side road.

Starter Curry Cheesecake

Vegan deco Vegan deco Vegan deco

Delicious mystery sandwich Pound cake

Vegan dessert stall

Close to Chinatown we stumbled across a vegan dessert stall. They had waffles, doughnutty cake things, and chocolate cake. We bought one of everything.

Kusum Indian

All vegetarian, thali and chapati seem to be vegan, though the dessert that comes as part of the dinner set (ice cream) is not. Declined that, but paid the full price anyway. The thali was three curries, rice and chapati, and they were delicious and homecooked. There was no menu, we just sat down and the owner brought out dish after dish. The samosas were great, I could have eaten them all night. Good job I didn't though, or I wouldn't have had room for the curries. As it was, I took some leftovers home. Food all cooked by the owner and his wife, though they seemed kind of despondent. There wasn't anyone else there when we were, early evening.

Difficult to find, the map marker in HappyCow was about 15 minutes too far west. But some googling for the name and different parts of the address eventually got us there. We almost walked right past, but I was lucky to see the sign fro the Indian supplies store that is right below the restaurant.

Samosas Thali

Food in Osaka

atl

All vegan, located upstairs, just off the side of the enormous indoor mall arcade thing that runs through the center of the city. Their specialty for some reason is bagels and hummus, which are made fresh onsite every day. They have three set lunches, which include starters and drinks, and three dessert options for a little extra. It was all really good, filling.. felt expensive, but actually normal for vegan restaurants here.

Soup and salad starter Hummus bagel Risotto

Latte Banana chocolate cake and coconut mousse cake Latte

Mel Coffee roasters

Friendly, young, husband-and-wife team running this teeny tiny coffee roasters which has been carved out of a corner of a building. They have a bench outside, but no real seating. Any space inside not taken up by the counter is occupied by coffee roasting equipment, and you can watch the beans go round.

Seriously good espresso, and a wide selection of hand-drip, too. Plus, the cheapest coffee we found between Kobe and Osaka at 190 JPY for an espresso! And by far the best. Did I mention it was great?

Their English is fluent, and as an added bonus had a good working knowledge of vegan restaurants in the area.

Mel Espresso

Wad

This is a tea (and cereamics) shop, recommended to us by the folks at Mel's. We tried two different types of sencha, which was produced with great ceremony. It was very pretty, with teeny tiny cups, pots and timers. We initially tried to share a pot (it's expensive!!), but we were required to make an order each. We got three infusions, at different temperatures, and finally - the part we'd been excited about after reading it on the menu - they brought us the tea leaves to eat. Except they returned them seasoned with soy sauce and bonito flakes. D'oh.

Tea menu Tea and lil beans

Disappointingly fishy tea leaves Disappointingly fishy tea leaves

They have a bunch of tea-appropriate nibbles on the menu, many of which look vegan, but I didn't try any.

They sell a very small selection of tea to buy by the gram as well.

Paprika Shokudo

All vegan and proud. They used a button system to call servers, but it was chronically slow anyway, including the food coming. In the end it took so long we decided not to get dessert.

But the food we did get was great. 'Oysters' made from mushrooms, fried soy meat, and cheesey vegetables. They also brought us some small starters to choose from a plate.

Outside Inside Menu

Fried mushrooms pretending to be oysters Fried soy meat Cheesey vegetables

Prana

All vegan, macrobiotic, healthy food. There's a kitchen right across the street from the actual restaurant which was at first confusing.

No English menus, but the server/chef did her best to explain what the dishes were. We picked two out of the three lunch sets at random, and tried miso soup, salad, curry, and ramen. The ramen were bland but a large portion. The curry was on par with other curries we've had a vegan restaurants. We followed up with two (small) slices of apple cake. The food was all good, but definitely on the more expensive side.

Curry Ramen Apple cake

Aju

This place. Wow.

All vegan, and proud.

Reviews on HappyCow claim it only has four seats, and a grumpy owner/chef, but I found a much bigger space and a cheerful, curious, talkative waitress. Their space was occupied by a prebooked large party, but they managed to dig up some extra chairs and repurpose a storage table so that we could stay!

Not on the cheap side, but we ordered as much as possible. I finally got to try oknomiyaki which was maybe one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Plus a pizza with something spam-like, and potato. It was so cheesy and absolute comfort food. We also tried deep fried soya meat, which came topped with more grated radish than one should reasonably try to eat. We got a platter of sides, including bizarre 'squid' (which I was reliably informed had a texture very close to actual squid), and soy meat chunks, and various salad-y bits.

Okonomiyaki Pizza

Starter plate: squid, spam, salad Soy meat with radish

There was a poster on the wall with a picture of some ridiculous looking Hallowe'en dessert, and I had to have it. It was pumpkin soft-serve ice cream, matcha ice cream, red bean goo and mochi balls. Plus little biscuits shaped like a bat and a pumpkin. I regret nothing.

Good advertising Ridiculous dessert

This was my last night in Osaka, and I was tempted to stay longer just to come back here.

Accommodation in Osaka

I stayed in a small self-contained apartment near Tennoji. It had a balcony, and a small but functional kitchen. It also came with a portable Mifi hotspot which was fast and the most useful thing ever.

Also posted to AirBnB:

Great communication from Keisuke right up until I arrived. Really great place, clean and minimal and comfortable. Also a good location, for a train to the airport, and for central Osaka. In fact, I walked into Osaka; it takes more than an hour but is a great way to see different areas. The apartment is also close to a large park and many tourist attractions, including Tsūtenkaku tower. Thanks!

Food in Tokyo

I have a separate post about vegan food in Tokyo.

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