Earth Café (アースカフェ)
Location: Kanazawa City, Ishikawa pref.
Type: Café, Lunch
Veg Status: Completely vegan
Languages: Japanese, English (bilingual menus and staff)
To put it simply, Earth Café gets vegan food right. Despite enjoying cooking vegan food at home, I am often wary of it in restaurants. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it’s healthy– particularly in light of some of the sugar/margarine bombs out there in the world of vegan desserts. (Readers may remember this sentiment from various iterations of “13 Things Your Barista Won’t Tell You,” which floated around the internet in the late ’00s.)
Earth Café, on the other hand, emphasizes healthy macrobiotic food and being good to the Earth and to your body. No animal products, eggs, dairy, or white sugar is used. While that might sound dreadfully limiting to some, it’s quite the opposite: what I really love about this café is the variety of food. If you love Japanese food but miss out because of the animal products, white rice, or portions, you’ll love Earth’s vegan bento, which includes vegan miso, brown rice, pickles, and a variety of vegan okazu; noodle dishes and donburi (rice dishes) are also served. If you prefer something more “Western,” there are veggie burgers, vegetable curry, and salads. A veggie burger or curry set is a great deal at about 1400 yen: in addition to the curry or burger and sides, you get a salad, soup of the day, drink, and dessert.
If you come in the morning or late afternoon, an organic coffee or one of the many creative drinks, such as kinako (roasted soy-bean powder) latte or a pomegranate juice, with a slice of cake or pudding will give you a healthy pick-me-up. Earth is one of the only places in Kanazawa that serves decaf coffee, if you’re a fan. On the go? The take-out menu is fairly extensive, too.
The staff speaks excellent English and are happy to explain the concept of vegan food to first-time customers in either language. Menus are also bilingual, as are the sign-boards. As for the café space, the white-and-green decor is sleek but understated, and the huge windows that look out onto the street are great for enjoying the sunlight and people-watching. I like to sit down with one of their macrobiotic cookbooks and hunt for new ideas for recipes while I wait on my meal or drink my coffee.
The website (Japanese only), which is comprehensive and very well designed, has a menu for eat-in and take-out, as well as detailed access information, recipes, and a mission statement.
Monday – Saturday 9:00-18:30; limited menu after 14:00
Hokuriku Chunichi Shimbun Bldg., 1st fl.
2-12-30 Ekinishi Honmachi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
Walking: 15 minutes from Kanazawa Station (金沢駅), West Exit (西口)
By bicycle: 10 minutes from Kanazawa Station (金沢駅), West Exit (西口)
Exit JR Kanazawa Station’s West Exit. Continue straight for about 50 m, go through Ekinishi honmachi icchome intersection (駅西本町1丁目), then turn immediately left.
By car: 5 minutes from Kanazawa Station. Please park at Pirene Parking（ピレネパーキング）behind the Chunichi Shimbun building. Map here.
Prices: meals/sets 1000~1500 yen; drinks: 350-600 yen
More Veg* Out in Kanazawa.