It’s not that I don’t like breakfast, it’s brunch I’m after—that lazy Sunday morning into day feeling, when you brew enough strong coffee to keep the refills coming while you turn out golden waffles or man the pancakes and eggs.
Cheapo point #1: 180 yen unlimited coffee refills
If you, my dear brunch-loving Tokyo-ite desire to brunch outside of your own kitchen, it will cost. Sure, the Grand Hyatt does a smashing brunch. Those who are members at the Tokyo American Club know the value in their hot brunch alone. There is also Suji’s, and a couple other notable options for brunch.
However, dear Tokyo Cheapo, you should either throw off your cheapo title, or follow me to Denny’s. I’m not saying it is carving stations, or the ricotta hotcakes of Bill’s; it is, however, robust, American-style unlimited refills on your coffee. It is the opportunity to go out with the family and say, “Go ahead; order away.”
Denny’s represents the family establishment here in Japan. Translated, that is great service, the ease of the “ping pong” buzzer to request something from your server, and platefuls of inexpensive brunch options, all under a recognisable font and banner. It is timeless. Mentioning Denny’s is also an easy, cheap way to surprise visiting friends who will be amazed you have Denny’s here too, much in the way they’re freaked out that Japan also has 7-11s, rather the Japanese company, 7 and i Holdings.
Cheapo point #2: Free wi-fi, as at all 7 & i eateries
There is the salmon burger, pancake Benedict with hollandaise and an onsen egg for 970 yen, with the coffee or preferred drink, of course.
French toast is 450 yen. Order a steak, BLT – go for it. Just give me the pancakes and coffee. Did I mention brunch should have buckets of coffee? Ideally bagels, bobka, and mimosas too, but hey. I’m just glad for the cheery clean environment, non-break-the-bank meal out with family and friends.
Of course, it’d be next to nothing to whip up your own French toast at home. After all, it’s only eggs and a few slices of bread. Thing is, even though I like nothing better than flipping homemade pancakes, I also love them out and about. Breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for dinner–it’s all lovely stuff.
Cheapo point #3: Open all night, every day
Even if you’re not a pancake junkie, or you want Japanese food, steak hamburgers, or whatnot, Denny’s has oodles of options.
You can always go for the clean-cut, cheapo basic of a bowl of rice and miso soup, side of pickles/tsukemono. This will run you 290 yen. Order a side of nasu or salad of tofu/wakame, or tuna for 250 yen.
Or fill up on that fully Western breakfast, even if it’s the pancakes, ice cream, and caramel sauce for 390 yen.
Cheapo (family) point #4: Chilled, family-friendly environment. Usually elevators, too, for those strollers.
Denny’s comes well stocked in the high-chair/booster seat category. Kids’ meals? Score with five complete meal options, from 480 yen to 680 yen. Babies can dine for 150 yen and scarf down a dish of warmed shirasu, carrot, and rice. Unbeatable. Of course, you can always bring in your own baby food. It just won’t be warmed.
It is also relaxing to remember that you are at a family restaurant, in every sense of the word. I figure, if my kids make some noise, it’s alright. Stodgy business men or women should probably not dine in a family restaurant if they need silence.
Cheapo concludes: For 180 yen, you can caffeine it up and use their wi-fi to your heart’s content.
Anything after that will simply be an added bonus!
Look for Denny’s attached to Hotel Mets and outside of many, many stations. There are over 200 locations. Check back for more locations checked-off on Tokyo Cheapo.
Our guide to prepay SIM cards, wifi routers, cafe wifi and other places to quickly find wifi whilst visiting Japan.
Recommended hotels located nearby
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