If you're traveling to Japan with your entire family - particularly with little ones in tow - you may be wondering about quick, relatively inexpensive places to eat that cater to the whole crew. Family restaurants can be a great option, and Japan has a range of them to choose from. Here is an introduction to some of the main ones, and a peek into the menu offerings you'll find at each.
Saizeriya is Japan's take on fast-food Italian cuisine. You'll find plenty of traditional options like meat sauce spaghetti and penne arrabbiata, through to some more Japanese-inspired offerings like tarako (pollock roe) pizza if you want to branch out a little. The prices here are incredible value for money - the pizzas sit between 399 to 499 yen plus tax, and the pasta dishes range from 299 to 599 yen. Of course, you'll also find a host of other main meals and plenty of side dishes here, including soups and salads, right through to wine and dessert.
Gusto is a chain of family restaurants that have something to cater to just about anyone's palates, and there are both Japanese and Western style dishes on offer. The menu includes options like hamburger steak, pizzas and pastas, ramen, butter chicken and keema curries...the list goes on. The kids meals here come with choices like udon, a mini hamburger, or a pancake, with several side dishes. Early riser? They have a breakfast menu, too - which also comes with both Japanese or Western options.
American readers might immediately hear the name Denny's and think the menu will be the same as the chain in the States, but while the name and the logo are familiar, the eating options are different. The Japanese menu can be explored in full here, but some of the main meals include the likes of ginger pork, karaage (fried chicken), marinated trout, or Sichuan-style dandan noodles. The kids menu is quite comprehensive, and even comes with low-allergen options. Handy!
When you look at the menu for Royal Host, it sounds decidedly more upmarket than your average fast food spot - Australian beef burgers, local pork from Hokkaido, Gunma, and Akita Prefectures, and Angus sirloin steak are just a few of their listed options. The kids menu is also extensive, and comes with low-allergen options like Denny's. You can also buy baby food at Royal Host - ultra family-friendly!
Jonathan's is another chain which has such a wide range of options that even the fussiest eaters will find something they enjoy. Beef stew, fried Hiroshima oysters, tandoori chicken with rice pilaf, and a variety of sandwiches and pizzas are just the tip of the iceberg here. The kids meals choices include an onigiri (rice ball) set, a mini hamburger steak set, and a pancake set to name just a few. They come served with several sides and jelly cups.
Bamiyan is a Chinese-style family restaurant chain with main dishes like mapo tofu, sweet and sour pork, xiao long bao, and gyoza. They also have quite a comprehensive dessert menu, including sesame dango and green tea chiffon cake to name just a couple. The kids meal options at Bamiyan include a fried rice set, ramen set, or curry and rice set, and they're priced between 399 and 499 yen.