Monday, September 2, 2013

Family Restaurants in Japan

We don't exactly have a family, but we go to family restaurants a lot.  They're casual, sometimes the food is delicious and we like them.  Our favorite is probably Gusto, but we spend most of our time at Joyfull.

Joyfull has several advantages over Gusto.  The first is the food is a lot cheaper.  The second is we don't have to drive as far, or we can even walk if the weather is pleasant.  And while the menu choices can't compare in variety even to Denny's, Joyfull features a free-refill drink bar for which they give you free tickets each time you eat there.  We also like the Joyfull "Classic Chocolate Cake," which is almost a brownie wedge and topped with a thick, fudge-like coating and sprinkled with a little powdered sugar.

Besides Joyfull and Gusto, we like Royal Host and Denny's.  Denny's is a classic choice in Japan and hanging out there became such a past time for high school students at one point they even coined the verb deniru, literally meaning, "do Denny's," or to hang out there.  I learned that from a slang book; I've yet to hear anyone actually say it and it probably died out a long time ago.  Hanging at Denny's has not, however.  Royal Host has the best food out of all the family restaurants we've been to, but it's a bit pricey.

We tried Jonathan's in Tokyo, but we were less than impressed.  You may feel otherwise.  There's one in Harajuku that I think makes a fine place to regroup, breathe a little, drink some coffee or tea and then hit the crowds again.

Saizeriya is worth stopping at if you feel the need to try family restaurant dining as well.  It's supposed to be an Italian restaurant, I think, but it feels more like a step up from Joyfull.

What else is there?  I've eaten at TGI Fridays in both Shibuya and Ikebukuro and stuffed my face with American-sized portions of food.  And there are probably many more I've never even heard of.

Then there's this guy.

Check him out.  He's looking at you!

Big Boy has a drink bar... I think.  What I know for certain is Big Boy has some pretty good shoestring fries.  Order a basket and share with friends.  Shoot, order two!

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