Olu'Olu - Hawaiian Vegan Paradise in Tokyo
Only a few train stops away from the buzzing Shibuya city center lies 100% Vegan and organic Hawaiian restaurant Olu'Olu. With a huge Vegan menu, unique, Hawaii-influenced decor and, most of all, an extremely relaxed atmosphere, they offer an oasis of peace, love and AMAZING soul food.
Is this really Tokyo?
Olu'Olu is a Hawaiian word and seems to be part of the famous word "Aloha". Expressing a feeling of comfort, passion, connection and appreciation, it is a name well fitted for the lovely at-home atmosphere at the Olu'Olu cafe.
Located right in between Ikejiri-ōhashi Station and Sangen-jaya Station on the 'Den-en-toshi Line', with a 15-minute walk from both of them, it is definitely not the most easy accessible cafe options in Tokyo. I've had several friends complain along the way when I was dragging them along because they "had to try this food!" - but any complaining fainted quickly as soon as they were presented with the menu.
When visiting for the first time, you will easily spot Olu'Olu with it's colorful, garden-y entrance amidst the neutrally colored neighbors. Walking in, it almost feels like entering a different world; Especially if you transferred at Shibuya station, with the crowds, bright buildings and the upbeat and rushed atmosphere. Things turn a 180° in this relaxed, compact and almost tropical at-home cafe. With ukulele music, pictures and souvenirs from Hawaii, and a cozy, hippie-ish design, this place is great for any type of outing: I have been here alone, on a date, a first meeting, with one friend, and with a group of friends, and it has been a great environment every single time: Relaxing, fantastic staff (owners) and plenty of icebreaker topics in the design of the cafe!
A lot of Vegan cafe's in Tokyo are all about clean, fresh, stylish "oshare" and healthy, resulting in many of them going for a similar, minimalist interior with uncomfortable (let's be honest) seats, big lights for "the gram" photos and a fashionable > welcoming setting. Olu'Olu is quite the opposite. With the furniture and layout better described as "an acquired taste" and the dark, warm lights far from ideal for photographing, I several times even forgot to take any pictures until halfway through- or after the meal. A good thing! Because photo's are great (especially when you're trying to write a food blog *cough cough* (#notcorona)), but FORGETTING to take pictures because the place is so fun and the food is so good, is even better.
I'm sure most vegans and otherwise "restricted-menu" folk will agree with me: when you finally have a FULL menu with options, it's the hardest thing ever! Especially if you live 'far far away' and won't be able to visit again soon... #inakalife
Olu'Olu definitely does not make it easy for us, with a
large, varied and exotic menu full of vegan goodness AND daily specials! From healthy açaí bowls, smoothies and salads, to ramen, gyoza and burgers. From Indian curries to Italian pastas. And from Okinawan 'Goya' and Taco Rice, to Hawaiian specials like Vegan 'Mochiko Chiken'. In many cases, these types of large, trying-to-do-it-all menu's negatively impact the quality of the food due to lack of understanding of the different dishes (all ends up with the same taste) and quantity > quality. NOT HERE. So far every single thing I've tried has been delicious, with some absolutely spectacular!
Just look at this:
"Are all their burgers the same?" No! They actually have a wide range of different burgers, including the Mochiko Chicken burger, The "Crazy Spicy" burger and my all-time favorite: The Garlic and Herb Chicken burger. Simple, but extremely flavorful, it is one of my favorite burgers to date and I've probably ordered it as a main or extra dish (not side-dish, just extra dish!) on 80% of my visits. Note that I live hours(!) away from this place and that I have gladly given up on trying new vegan places, as I just HAD TO go back here every chance I got. Other favorites are the Spirulina Smoothie, the AMAZING chips / fries / fried potato (I'm fuzzy about my chips by the way..) - available on their own with a delicious homemade mayo, or as a set with the burgers.; And their deserts, which are dreamy! and often sold out as local fans come in to get them for lunch!
Olu'Olu is run by an amazing husband-wife team that always welcomes you with a smile and readiness to advise and help you select the right dish. Dogs and children are more than welcome too, which really makes this a place for everyone to enjoy!
>> Olu'Olu is currently closed due to COVID-19 and a small refurbishment. Keep an eye on their website or SNS for updates on when they will open again. <<
Address: 1-11-1 Ikejiri Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
Access: 15-minute walk from Ikejiri-ōhashi Station and Sangen-jaya Station
Food: Hawaiian, Japanese, Fusion - All vegan, all organic, all DELICIOUS!
Price: Prices may have changed after the refurbishment. Good price-quality
Service: Best you could wish for.
Location: Bit of a walk from the nearest stations.
Overall: One of my absolute favorite cafes in the world! Great service, a relaxing atmosphere and mind-blowing food. This is the place I feel comfortable bringing any type of company, and especially bring non-veggies to show them what Vegan food is all about!