Location: Kohrinbo, Kanazawa
Type: Café, lunch
Veg status: vegetarian friendly
Languages: Japanese and English (menus, staff)
One thing I really miss about the US is omelets. While I like Japanese omurice just fine, there are very few places that serve vegetarian options. Unless you are at a restaurant devoted to omurice, what usually happens is that you order the one option on the menu and you get whatever the house feels like putting in, which is always meat. I once had one in Shiga that was like a clown-car of meats: as I ate, I kept discovering new meats: pork, bacon, minced meat. Perhaps as an American I’ve spoiled by the culture of choice, but I want to know what’s in the house special or what’s on draft before I order.
Luckily for the brunch and omelet enthusiast, there is Cafe Dumbo, one of my favorite cafes here in the city. The darling of the Kanazawa JET community, Dumbo may be the only cafe in town that serves Western-style vegetarian omelets. That’s right– no rice, no secret meat. Of the 6 or so lunches that the cafe serves, 2-3 are vegetarian: the vegetable omelet open-face sandwich, the cheese omelet open-face sandwich, and the grilled cheese (this seems to be Saturdays only). Yes, that’s right: real grilled cheese made on the same delicious crusty bread they use for the other sandwiches. It’s a small sandwich with a big green salad with green-leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and herbs, another rarity in Japan. (Not to be down on Japanized Western food, but if I never see another raw cabbage and shaved carrot salad in my life it will be too soon.)
For the omnivore, the pastrami sandwich and curry or pasta of the day are popular, but the crown jewel is the taco rice, which several of my friends are convinced is the best taco rice in all of Japan (even Okinawa) thanks to the fresh, quality ingredients.
The coffees are served in oversize mugs and are excellent. Dumbo also makes seasonal lattes that are nicer than the ones at coffee chains–the winter cinnamon-roll latte is a particular favorite of mine. There’s also lattes with Baileys, imported beer, and hard ginger ale. I haven’t tried it yet, but Dumbo serves a brunch set in the morning from 9:30-11:30: pancakes and bacon or an omelet. And if I still haven’t sold you on this place yet, the cupcakes and baked goods are amazing, and they always have an interesting variety of flavors and types.
The cafe is run by Miki and Takashi, a married couple. In addition to being very friendly, they both speak English. The menu is also bilingual, though the explanations of the ingredients are generally in Japanese. They are willing to omit ingredients like mushrooms and peppers in the omelets if you ask. Also of note: the cafe is child-friendly and has a changing station in the bathroom. (I rarely see children there, but that might just be the time of day I go.)
The large windows and simple, clean interior are another big sell for me. I hate being cooped up and dislike cafes that are basement-like and dark, so the view of the Seseragi street is a big draw for me. The proximity of the cafe to the shopping district, the art museums, and Kenrokuen also make this a good destination for those heading out for a day on the town.
Finally, the cafe updates its Facebook page regularly in both languages about hours, closings, and new menu items. See below for a link.
2-11-6 Kohrinbo, Kanazawa, Ishikawa
By car: No parking available. There are paid lots down the street.
By bus: take any bus from JR Kanazawa Station (JR金沢駅) bound for Kohrinbo (香林坊) and get off at Minamicho (南町) or Kohrinbo. Walk around the mall Kohrinbo 109 to the Seseragi Shopping Street (せせらぎ通) and follow the road for about 5 minutes.
By bicycle: I’ve been able to park in front of the shop, but there is also plenty of bike parking up the street behind Kohrinbo 109.
Updated 4/1/2013 – check Facebook for details
Monday – Sunday: 9:30 – 18:00
(No lunch on Sunday)
Brunch: 9:30 -11:30
Drinks: ~500 yen
Meals: ~900 yen
Desserts: ~300 yen