Most vegetarians living in Tokyo will be familiar with the short-lived euphoria that’s experienced on discovering a new meat-free eatery—and the despair that kicks in as soon as you realize how much you’re going to have to pay for a meal that feels more like an appetizer. There are no such problems at Nagi Shokudo, a vegan diner in Shibuya whose grub ticks all the important boxes: filling, affordable and damn tasty. The ¥1,000 lunch set gets you three “deli” items, a bowl of brown rice, soup, salad, pickles and a drink. The fried tofu with sweet ginger sauce isn’t quite as exciting as it sounds, but you can’t go wrong with the pumpkin salad or fried soy meat with chili sauce. Fried potato with onion miso sauce is a veritable flavor explosion, and the ratatouille—a deal-breaker, as far as we’re concerned—is excellent too. Coffee and teas are offered, but if you’re feeling adventurous, order a glass of red shiso drink, available hot or cold and mighty odd in either form. There’s a separate menu during the evening, with rotating daily specials including daal curry and taco rice, and deli items can also be ordered for ¥350 a pop. While you’re eating, flip through one of the shop’s impressive collection of English and Japanese zines, many of which are available to buy. Oh, and the music is great, too: recent visits have been soundtracked by dub reggae and selections from the Ethiopiques series.
15-10 Uguisudani-cho, Shibuya-ku. Tel: 050-1043-7751. Open Mon-Sat 12-10:30pm, closed Sun & hols. Nearest stn: Shibuya. www.nagishokudo.com