A comfortable and atmospheric dining experience awaits at Vicky’s, a newly opened contemporary brasserie at the Hyatt Regency Tokyo.

Vicky’s goes well beyond being a French bistro, although it can be that too. Chef Minoru Otaki pours his culinary heart into procuring fresh ingredients from local farms and fish stores across the country for lunch menus (¥3,500 or ¥4,500, served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) that include creations such as Hokkaido scallops and vegetables from the Noto Peninsula served pot-au-feu style. Afternoon tea (¥4,500; served 2:30 to 5 p.m.) is a sensory feast with free-flow tea and coffee along with bite-sized morsels pleasing to both the eyes and palate.

Vicky’s bar tables and regular seating make a perfect backdrop for sharing snacks, finger food and craft beer, while other evening offerings see hot and cold appetizers bolstered by protein-heavy mains. Dinner is available as a set menu (¥5,000) or a la carte and served from 5:30 to 11 p.m. Vicky’s wine list emphasizes French, European and New World varietals, with many of the prestige labels available by the glass.

Hyatt Regency Tokyo is 1 minute from Tochomae Station and 9 minutes from Shinjuku Station. Visit www.hyattregencytokyo.com/portals/0/vickys/en/ for information and reservations; or call 03-3348-1234. Taxes and surcharges are not included in the above prices.

Delectable vegan fare takes cues from tradition

Vegans have long been an afterthought in Tokyo’s fine dining scene. Still, the city’s culinary landscape is changing, with chefs devoting more attention to vegetables for reasons both ethical and creative.

Such is the case at Faro in Ginza, an Italian-inspired restaurant where award-winning executive chef Kotaro Noda prepares cutting edge vegan menus at ¥8,000 for a five-course lunch and ¥12,000 for a 13-course gastronomic dinner, both centered on “beauty from within.” A 10 percent service charge applies. Drink pairings, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, are available.

Integral to the offerings, which Noda says takes cues from traditional Buddhist shōjin ryōri vegetarian dishes, are organic, seasonal ingredients sourced from specially selected farmers and suppliers around Japan. Depending on the season, it’s an approach that might see homemade tagliolini pasta served with assorted Japanese mushrooms and angelica herb from Nara Prefecture, or Ariake seaweed and other kelp used as key ingredients or to infuse marinades.

Lunch is served from 12 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 8:30 p.m., on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Faro is closed on public holidays and in mid-August.

Faro is located 5 minutes from Shimbashi Station and 7 minutes from Ginza Station. Visit https://faro.shiseido.co.jp/en/ for more information, or call 0120-862-150 (toll-free in Japan).

Hotel offers new suites, landmark view

A culture hall, library and eight unique stores all inside a hotel, part of which is in an old school building. Such dynamic design points to the experience guests can expect at The Gate Hotel Kyoto Takasegawa, now accepting reservations ahead of its July 21 opening.

In partnership with the city of Kyoto, the hotel has renovated the former Rissei Elementary School into the Schoolhouse building that features 20 guest rooms. Reservations for the Schoolhouse open at the end of April. However, guests can now book any of the 164 newly constructed rooms, including Classy (¥79,860), from which the liveliness of the Kawaramachi neighborhood can be felt, or Essential (¥55,660), where guests can choose their bed type. Tax and service charge are included.

A top floor restaurant with terrace seating offers panoramic views of Kyoto landmark Mount Higashiyama, and at a third-floor lounge and outdoor patio guests can enjoy some free drinks and snacks, while being soothed by the flickering of a fire and the crackling of firewood.

The Gate Hotel Kyoto Takasegawa is 3 minutes from Kyoto Kawaharamachi Station, and is walking distance from the districts of Gion and Nishiki Market. For reservations and more information, visit https://www.gate-hotel.jp/kyoto/ or call 075-256-8955 from 10:00 to 5:00 on weekdays.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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