One of the most popular cuisine in Japan other than Japanese food is Italian. They are easy to find wherever you go. And, it is usually reasonably priced. If you are wanting something different from the every day Japanese food, and feeling pasta or pizza, Italian restaurant will be nearby if you are in metropolitan area.
In Harajuku, where people think of crazy fashion and sweet crepes, there is a very cute Italian cafe called Cafe La Bohéme. It might be super noticeable, as they are located in the basement of a building, but it is worth the search. Look for a sign with a cute little white cat taking a nap on a fluffy chair right above the staircase going down.
We were looking for a “cafe” more so than a “restaurant” at that time, for a little afternoon coffee/tea. As soon as we walked in to the restaurant, it felt as if we were in a different country in different era. They designed the interior with a European theme from long ago, with Jazz music and brick wall decor. The second floor was designed as if it is a terrace of an old building, so we felt like we were sitting outside or courtyard, at late evening or night time, even though it was located all inside, and it was in the afternoon.
They are very creative with the architecture and decor, not all were just painting on a flat wall. They had some windows and rooftop, creating 3 dimension to give it more realistic feel. The ambiance was just wonderful, amazingly beautiful, I couldn’t believe we were still right by Harajuku!
After we soaked up this super relaxing atmosphere, we decided on our afternoon drink. They seems to have great selections of delicious pasta at very reasonably price (especially during lunch hour, it is a steal!). But we were still full from our lunch, so we didn’t order any food. We ordered Strawberry Rooibos Tea (400 yen, roughly $4), Raspberry Vinegar & Cranberry Juice (450 yen), and Homemade Ginger Ale (500 yen). I poured the tea a bit too fast, without waiting a minute or two to brew, so that is the reason why the photo of the tea looks so light. After the tea was ready, it was more darker color as it should, and it was really tasty! It had nice strawberry aroma and flavor, very calming and relaxing. The juice was really interesting, never really had anything with vinegar in the juice, but it was surprisingly refreshing and good! The acidic, sour flavor of the vinegar gave nice contrast from the sweet flavors from raspberry and cranberry. The vinegar was not too strong or overwhelming, it was just a hint of the sourness, which made it a really interesting drink. And I loved the presentation, drinking the juice in a wine glass adds to the ambiance. The Ginger Ale was really good, strong, sweet, and satisfying! It came in a nice big glass too, which was great. All of our drinks were really nice, I wish if we had space in our stomach for a dessert, as I heard their desserts are really amazing.
I would definitely go back to this cafe for more than just a drink next time, as I totally love the decor, ambiance, and all the drinks. The service was really nice as well, polite, tentative, and helpful. When you are ready to take a break from Japanese food and wanting to try a little Japanese style Italian pasta, or just want to relax in a cafe, try this spot a try. If you are not nearby Omotesando, don’t worry, they seem to have many locations!
Cafe La Bohéme Omotesando -B1F Jubilee Plaza Bldg. 5-8-5 Jungumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan