Ume no Hana
Gaienmae: Tofu
Ume no Hana (Gaienmae: Tofu)
Ume no Hana
Open 11am-3, 5-9pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

This is definitely an old-school tofu shop - first you sip ume tea and listen to koto music in the waiting area, then you're led to a main dining room that might remind you of an upscale family restaurant. After the meal you can browse the "souvenir" section next to the cash register, which has packaged tofu items to take home. The customer demographic skews towards more mature Aoyama shoppers, and the menu notes the number of calories for each set meal. And the tofu is very good.

One of the specialties here is the "mineoka dofu" - sweet and very creamy, almost dessert-like in character. You can pick from a huge variety of set meals and side dishes, including seasonal specials, ranging upwards from Y3600 (Y1900 at lunchtime). Most sets have about a dozen dishes, and some highlights included tofu shumai dumplings, yuba (tofu-skin) soup, daikon-and-maguro sushi wrapped in yuba, and of course the soy-milk (tonyu) sherbet. There are a few premium sake choices - it's almost an afterthought - and they compete for your attention with offbeat plum-flavored drinks like the ume-champagne cocktail.

Ume no Hana is a nation-wide chain with 11 other Tokyo branches, including Harumi (03-5144-8235), Ginza (03-3538-2226), and Ueno (03-3834-7712).

by Robb Satterwhite
Minato-ku, Minami-Aoyama 2-27-18, Aoyama M's Tower Passage 2F.
東京都港区南青山2-27-18 AOYAMA M's TOWER パサージュ青山内2F
Tokyo Beyond Sushi - the guidebook
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Venue listing from Bento.com4 Star Rating: recommended