It’s terrace season, and the thought of a drawn-out weekend brunch — sunglasses on, cocktail in hand — is likely to make any American go weak in the knees with homesickness. Fortunately for those in Tokyo there are several places that do a classic brunch, including both old staples and a few newcomers.
Expat-run Two Rooms (AO Bldg. 5F, 3-11-7 Kita-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3498-0002; www.tworooms.jp; brunch Sat., Sun. and holidays 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) checks all the boxes: decadent eggs Benedict, an extensive wine and cocktail list, and a sunny terrace that takes advantage of Harajuku’s low skyline. Brunch is served only as a two-course set (¥2,950), which is a little pricey, though filling. Oysters are available à la carte, and go wonderfully with the smooth, piquant bloody Mary. Book ahead to reserve one of the plush outside sofa seats.
Roti (Piramide Bldg. 1F, 6-6-9 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5785-3671; www.roti.jp; brunch Sat., Sun. and holidays 11.30 a.m.-5 p.m.), too, does a classic American-style brunch with several different egg dishes, including huevos rancheros, a frittata with spinach and feta, steak and eggs, and a few different takes on the classic eggs Benedict. Wash it down with Roti’s deliciously thick and spicy Cajun bloody Mary or one of the craft beers on tap. The shady terrace here isn’t as attractive as Two Rooms’, though there is plenty of space for little ones to run around (there’s also a kids’ brunch special).
If the above represent a Manhattan power brunch, then Beard (1-17-22 Meguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5496-0567; www.b-e-a-r-d.com; brunch Sun. 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) is channeling the borough of artisans and hipsters, Brooklyn. It’s a one-man operation, with exposed brick walls, fresh herbs in glasses on the counter and big picture windows that let in plenty of sunlight. The menu changes regularly but you can count on there always being pancakes, thickened with ricotta and mascarpone cheese, and a ham-and-egg sandwich topped with roasted vegetables.
Branches of West Park Café (www.maysfood.com/wpc/wpc1.html) in Yoyogi-Uehara and Marunouchi both serve brunch (and the Haneda branch does a nice breakfast, staring at 7 a.m.) — with eggs Benedict, omelets and French toast — but the original Yoyogi-Uehara outpost (23-11 Motoyoyogi-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5478-6065; brunch Sat., Sun. and holidays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.) wins for ambiance. It has a lovely front terrace, where little traffic passes, perfect for sipping mimosas and watching the world go by.
Another cozy local spot is the Canadian-run Good Honest Grub (2-20-8 Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3797-9877; www.goodhonestgrub.com; brunch Sat., Sun. and holidays 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Here you can customize your eggs Benedict from a choice of toppings that include avocado, crab and smoked salmon. You can also opt for a healthy breakfast wrap or a frittata topped with fresh veggies from the house farm, washed down with a fruit smoothie.
Himonya Terrace (3-1-1 Himonya, Meguro-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3714-5665; www.himonya-terrace.com; breakfast 8 a.m.-10 a.m.), a popular lunch spot for well-heeled locals, began a daily breakfast service last summer — given that last order is 10 a.m. it’s not quite brunch, but tasty just the same. Dishes include a croque monsieur sandwich smothered in béchamel sauce, and granola and yogurt topped with berries (plus eggs Benedict on weekends). The eponymous ground-floor terrace is both stroller- and pet-friendly.
Rebecca Milner is a freelance writer in Tokyo and coauthor of Lonely Planet’s travel guides to Tokyo and Japan.