Lunch Set ¥1,300, Evening Set ¥1,650
- 2 Chome-29-13 Ogikubo, Suginami, Tokyo
- Distance from Station:
- 13-minute walk or 5 minutes by bus from JR Ogikubo Station (Kawaminami bus stop), 8 minutes by bus from Inokashira Takaido Station (Kawaminami bus stop)
- 03-6822-6174 (Japanese, Italian, French and a little English)
- Tue, Wed, Fri 12:00pm - 7:00pm (Last Orders 6:00pm), Sat & Sun 1:00pm - 8:30pm (L.O. 7:30pm), Closed Mon & Thu
- https://www.instagram.com/ninifuni.ogikubo/ (external link)
- Japanese, Italian, French, minimal English
Hearty and Colorful Vegan Food by a Multi-Cultured Chef!
Ninifuni is a bright, airy vegan/vegetarian restaurant on Kanpachi Dori Ave. in South Ogikubo. The proprietor, Ms. Chizuko Kudo is very friendly and energetic and also speaks Italian, French and a little English. Once inside, it’s easy to forget that this is on a busy main road. It is set back a little from the road with many large windows allowing plenty of natural light to flood in. This brightness was one of the main reasons Kudo-san chose this place to relocate her restaurant from a quaint detached house in Akiruno, Tokyo. Ninifuni opened its doors here in Ogikubo in February 2023.
Kudo-san lived in Italy for 8 years. She studied at a language school and was sent to an osteria as an intern. She had no prior experience in the food industry, however, it was where she not only found a new passion in cooking and started her culinary career but also first learned about vegan cuisine through her colleague who was vegan. Later, she worked in several eateries in Italy including a sushi restaurant in Florence. After returning to Japan, she gained further experience in various types of restaurants.
The name Ninifuni comes from a Buddhist term. It sounds cute, too. “Nini” means one is two, “Funi” means two is one. Just like a piece of paper which has front and back but these two facets are together, therefore inseparable.
So, in a sense, there are no borders. This idea applies to the restaurant. With vegan cuisine, people can sit around the table and enjoy the meal together regardless of nationalities, religions and dietary requirements. This restaurant is also informal and welcoming; Lone diners feel at ease here. You can enjoy a full meal, light bite, coffee and cake or beer and deli to suit your mood or situation.
The lunchtime menu consists of two regular Ninifuni classics: Buddha bowl (1,550 yen) and Spice curry (1,300 yen). The Buddha bowl is a hearty and colorful meal with rice (a mix of wholegrain and black rice plus some barley), a main item such as yaki-fu (wheat gluten) cutlets, fried koya-dofu (freeze-dried spongy tofu) or soy meat kara-age, pakora etc. which comes with salads, a side dish and pickles. The curry has a soy meat in tomato base with Kudo-san’s own unique delicious and refreshing blend of spices with rice, veggies, salad leaves, a crispy poppadom and pickles. Carefully selected pesticide-free vegetables are used wherever possible.
There is a choice of sweets which include baked goods such as rice flour muffins, gateau chocolate etc. or vegan ice cream. Note that some cakes may contain dairy or eggs so please check first if you are vegan.
The evening menu from 3pm onwards has an Evening Meal Set (1,650 yen) of a main dish, various side dishes, rice and soup. There is also a seasonal menu which at time of writing is Kimbap Korean Nori Rolls (1,100 yen). These seaweed rolls are made with rice flavored with sesame oil wrapped around assorted vegetables and yakiniku flavored soy meat.
The Buddha bowl and Spice curry are also available and a la carte deli dishes can be ordered (from 600 yen).
Drinks include black tea and herbal teas (mostly pesticide-free), fairtrade coffee, wine and a selection of bottled craft beers.
Currently there is a daily “Happy Hour”, actually 3 hours 3:00pm to 6:00pm, when you can order a Deli set with beer or wine (1,200 yen) or with soft drink (1,000 yen) and additional drinks at a 100 yen discount.
Takeout or delivery service Wolt is available.
Ninifuni hosts a regular market with fresh farm produce and herbal tea as well as occasional cookery classes.
The restaurant’s Instagram is updated frequently with news of events, the day’s menu, opening times etc. so please check before you visit.
If you fancy a bit of exercise after dining then Otaguro Park which is especially beautiful during the autumn leaves and cherry blossom seasons is an 11-12 minutes’ walk away, Kadokawa Garden with the historical Suginami House of Poetry “Gengi Sanbo” building, or you could walk further along the Zenpukuji River to the large Zenpukuji-Gawa Green Park famous for rows of cherry blossom trees.
Enjoy an afternoon or evening in south Ogikubo with healthy food, refreshing drinks and the nearby scenic areas.